Quality clinical studies can cost a lot of money, there aren’t any large corporate interests to fund such clinical studies so research is limited and sample sizes tend to be small.

It is always interesting to read of clinical studies into reflexology and it can give those new to reflexology some assurance.  I know before I started having regular reflexology if someone had suggested that someone working on my feet would have any impact on for example back pain that I would think them a little bit odd!

  • This study examines the effectiveness of using foot reflexology to improve sleep quality in postpartum women. It found that intervention involving foot reflexology significantly improved the quality of sleep.

  • This study reviewed 168 research studies and found that reflexology can have an impact on specific organs (for example kidneys), can be associated with improvement of symptoms, can create a relaxation effect  and can aid pain reduction.

    They are cautious in saying (because the clinical research was weak) that reflexology may have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes and may exert a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure and incontinence and may be effective for tingling in MS.

  • Research into the effect of reflexology on chronic lower backpain found that there was a significantly higher reduction in pain intensity scores in the reflexology group after the intervention as compared with the non-specific massage group.

Painful periods and reflexology

– Tony Porter and Lindsay McMillan FRCOG

The study included a number of young women who all suffered refractory Dysmenorrhoea and complained of pain at the time of their periods.

  • Many of these women would be hospitalised due to their extreme discomfort.

  • All these patients had received conventional treatment, such as combined oral contraceptives, non–steroidal anti–inflammatories and analgesia at the time of their periods with little or no effect on their pain.

  • Patients were randomly selected and given either surgery, laparoscopic surgery or a course of Tony Porter's ART reflexology.

By the end of nine to ten months, the figures were correlated and it became plainly obvious that the success of ART reflexology in alleviating severe dysmenorrhea in these young women was in the region of 85% - 90%, whereas in surgical treatment it was probably less than half that figure.