The effect of foot reflexology on procedural pain before heel lancing in neonates

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The effect of foot reflexology on procedural pain before heel lancing in neonates


Objective: This study was designed to investigate the effect of foot reflexology on alleviating term neonates’ invasive pain caused by heel lance.

Methods: In this quasi-experimental study, 60 healthy neonates were recruited and divided into a reflexology group (n=30) and a control (n=30) group. The study design was quasi-experimental since the randomisation method was not used in the assignment of newborns to the groups. While the reflexology group received foot reflexology for an average of 20min before heel lance, the control group received no intervention. The elicited data were analysed using descriptive statistics and independent t-test.

Results: The reflexology and the control groups were similar in terms of age, gestational week, Apgar score, weight, height, and sex (P>0.05). The Neonatal infant pain scale (NIPS) scores of the newborns in the reflexology group after the heel lance procedure were found to be significantly lower than those in the control group (P<0.05). It was also found that reflexology had a significant effect on the neonates’ heart rate before heel lance (P<0.05) and a borderline effect during heel lance. Moreover, it was observed that the application of foot reflexology shortened the experimental-group neonates’ crying periods after the procedural pain (P<0.05). However, reflexology had no statistically significant effect on the duration of heel lance in both groups (P>0.05).

Conclusion: The application of foot reflexology before invasive procedures, such as heel lance in newborns, is an effective non-pharmacological method for reducing invasive pain. Thus, reflexology could be used to reduce neonates’ pain and soothe them during painful procedures such as heel lance.

Keywords: Foot reflexology; Heel lance; Neonates; Nurse; Pain.


Yilmaz D, Yilmaz Kurt F. The effect of foot reflexology on procedural pain before heel lancing in neonates. Arch Pediatr. 2021 May;28(4):278-284. doi: 10.1016/j.arcped.2021.02.015. Epub 2021 Mar 11. PMID: 33715931.

The conclusion of this research paper in Greek

The purpose of this section is to make this research paper useful to Greek speaking 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.

Μετάφραση των συμπερασμάτων της συγκεκριμένης έρευνας:

Η εφαρμογή της πελματιαίας ρεφλεξολογίας πριν από επεμβατικές επεμβάσεις, όπως η άκανθα φτέρνας στα νεογέννητα, είναι μια αποτελεσματική μη-φαρμακευτική μέθοδος για τη μείωση του έντονου άλγους. Επομένως η ρεφλεξολογία θα μπορούσε να χρησιμοποιηθεί για να μειώσει τον πόνο των νεογνών και να τα καταπραΰνει κατά τη διάρκεια οδυνηρών διαδικασιών όπως η άκανθα φτέρνας.

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