Reflexology on Advanced Stage Breast Cancer | 385 Cases

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Reflexology on Advanced Stage Breast Cancer


Purpose/objectives: To evaluate the safety and efficacy of reflexology, a complementary therapy that applies pressure to specific areas of the feet.

Design: Longitudinal, randomized clinical trial.

Setting: Thirteen community-based medical oncology clinics across the mid-western United States.

Sample: A convenience sample of 385 predominantly Caucasian women with advanced-stage breast cancer receiving chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.

Methods: Following the baseline interview, women were randomized into three primary groups: reflexology (n = 95), lay foot manipulation (LFM) (n = 95), or conventional care (n = 96). Two preliminary reflexology (n = 51) and LFM (n = 48) test groups were used to establish the protocols. Participants were interviewed again post intervention at study weeks 5 and 11.

Main research variables: Breast cancer-specific health-related quality of life (HRQOL), physical functioning, and symptoms.

Findings: No adverse events were reported. A longitudinal comparison revealed significant improvements in physical functioning for the reflexology group compared to the control group (p = 0.04). Severity of dyspnea was reduced in the reflexology group compared to the control group (p < 0.01) and the LFM group (p = 0.02).

No differences were found on breast cancer-specific HRQOL, depressive symptomatology, state anxiety, pain, and nausea.


Reflexology may be added to existing evidence-based supportive care to improve HRQOL for patients with advanced-stage breast cancer during chemotherapy and/or hormonal therapy.

Implications for nursing: Reflexology can be recommended for safety and usefulness in relieving dyspnea and enhancing functional status among women with advanced-stage breast cancer.


Wyatt G, Sikorskii A, Rahbar MH, Victorson D, You M. Health-related quality-of-life outcomes: a reflexology trial with patients with advanced-stage breast cancer. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2012;39(6):568–577. doi:10.1188/12.ONF.568-577

Actionable Information for Reflexologists

In this section you will find how this research paper enacted reflexology to produce these results. We at Reflexology.Report distilled the Methodology portion of this research paper and we are presenting you with:

  • General methods used
  • Organization and duration of sessions
  • Reflexology points

The purpose of this section is to make this research paper useful to all reflexologists. This is a tool developed by the Center of Reflexology and Research (Κέντρο Ρεφλεξολογίας και Έρευνας) in Greece and supervised volunteers from across the world.

The protocol stimulates reflexes that are associated with concerns and symptoms of breast cancer and its treatment: nervous system, lung and diaphragm, breast or chest, kidney and adrenal, spleen, and intestinal.

The reflexology protocol was established to include 30 minutes of stimulation to the nine essential breast cancer specific reflexes, while using reflexology – specific deep thumb–walking pressure.

The intervention comprised four weekly 30-minute sessions of reflexology.

Στο πρωτόκολλο ρεφλεξολογίας, διεγείρονται αντανακλαστικά σημεία που σχετίζονται με τα συμπτώματα του καρκίνου του μαστού και τη θεραπεία του: το νευρικό σύστημα, τον πνεύμονα και το διάφραγμα, το στήθος ή το θώρακα, τα νεφρά και τα επινεφρίδια, τον σπλήνα και το εντερικό σύστημα.

Το πρωτόκολλο ρεφλεξολογίας ορίστηκε να συμπεριλάβει 30 λεπτά διέγερσης στα εννέα ειδικά αντανακλαστικά σημεία  για τον καρκίνο του μαστού, χρησιμοποιώντας βαθιές και εξειδικευμένες ρεφλεξολογικές πιέσεις και κινήσεις με τον αντίχειρα.

Η παρέμβαση περιελάμβανε τέσσερις εβδομαδιαίες συνεδρίες ρεφλεξολογίας, χρονικής διάρκειας 30 λεπτών.

Full PDF of the Reflexology Research Paper


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