Reflexology on Pain Intensity and Duration of Labor on 120 Primiparas

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The Effect of Reflexology on Pain Intensity and Duration of Labor on Primiparas


Background: Reflexology is an ancient, mild and non-invasive technique, used widely as one of the non-pharmacological methods for pain relief. The aim of this research was to determine the effect of reflexology on pain intensity as well as to determine the duration of labor in primiparas.

Methods: In 2008, a randomized clinical trial study was conducted randomly enrolling 120 parturient women with low risk pregnancy into three groups in Shahid Akbarabadi Hospital, Tehran, Iran. The first group received 40 minutes of reflexology at the beginning of active phase (4-5 cm cervical dilatation). Emotional support was offered for the second group in the same stage of pregnancy and with the same duration. The third group received only routine care during labor. Pain severity was evaluated with visual analogue scale (0 to 10 cm). In all groups, pregnant women were asked to evaluate the severity of pain experienced before and after intervention and also at cervical dilatations of 6-7 cm and 8-10 cm respectively. Data were collected through the numerical pain scale.

Results: Pain intensity at all the three stages of cervical dilatation was significantly lower in the reflexology group. During the 4-5 cm dilatation stage, women in the supported group reported less severe pain compared to those receiving routine care, but no significant differences at the later stages of labor. This indicates that reflexology could decrease the duration of first, second and third stages of labor.

Conclusion: Our findings showed that reflexology can be useful to decrease the pain intensity as well as duration of labor.


Dolatian1 M, Hasanpour A, Montazeri Sh, Heshmat R, Alavi Majd H. The effect of reflexology on pain intensity and duration of labor on primiparas. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2011;13(7):475‐479.

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.

Τhumb and index fingers were used to work on the feet. First mild massage was given on all feet and then pressure was applied on concerned and specified regions. Τhese areas were: 1) Pituitary gland, in the centre of the thumb; 2) Solar plexus, almost four fingers width below the base of the fingers of the feet, located in the center (middle of diaphragm); 3) Lumbar and sacral spine (spinal cord region) and 4) Genital area, below the ankle.

Τα δάχτυλα του αντίχειρα και του δείκτη χρησιμοποιήθηκαν για να δουλευτούν τα πέλματα. Αρχικά ήπιο μασάζ χορηγήθηκε σε όλα τα σημεία και μετά ασκήθηκε πίεση σε σχετικές και συγκεκριμένες περιοχές. Αυτές οι περιοχές ήταν: 1) Υπόφυση, στο κέντρο του μεγάλου δαχτύλου. 2) Ηλιακό πλέγμα, εντοπίζεται σχεδόν τεσσάρα δάκτυλα κάτω από τη βάση των δακτύλων των ποδιών, στο κέντρο του διαφράγματος. 3) Οσφυϊκή και ιερή περιοχή στη σπονδυλική στήλη και 4) Γεννητική περιοχή, κάτω από τον αστράγαλο.

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