Reflexology Research

There are more and more studies being carried out on the benefits of reflexology, more reflexology research being documented and published. The Full Spectrum Centre Limited welcomes this reflexology research.

Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the NHS

In 2005 a Report entitled “Role of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the NHS” was published which found that:

  • 75% of the public want alternative therapies made available on the NHS
  • 45% of registered medical practitioners refer patients for complementary medical treatments
  • 85% of medical students, 76% of GPs and 69% of hospital doctors now feel that complementary therapies should be made available on the NHS
  • 58% of nurses incorporate or use alternative therapies in their work
  • 89% recommend alternative therapies to patients

Kevin and Barbara Kunz are internationally recognised authorities in the field of reflexology. They have researched, taught, practiced and documented reflexology for more than 30 years. Their Reflexology Research Project was launched in 1979 to study and develop reflexology as a recognised, systematic body of knowledge and profession.

This research has shown that reflexology is extremely effective and beneficial.

A survey of 170 reflexology studies from 21 countries shows reflexology impacts a variety of physical and psychological concerns:

  • Creates relaxation: From the moment the reflexologist’s hands start their work, the relaxation begins as shown in research using EEG brain activity. All together, 29 studies demonstrate reflexology’s relaxation effects.
  • Lessening of stress and anxiety: This is demonstrated in twenty-nine reflexology studies with study participants including healthy individuals, senior citizens, women and cancer patients. The stimulation of reflexology’s pressure techniques creates change in the body’s basic level of tension as demonstrated by research showing that reflexology relaxes the body using a variety of measurements: brain waves (EEG), blood pressure, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse rate, and anxiety.
  • Ameliorates health concerns: Research shows that reflexology work helps individuals of all ages with some 78 health concerns ranging from aggressive behavior in children to urinary concerns in the elderly.
  • Complements cancer care: Pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or anxiety eased for chemotherapy patients following reflexology work as shown by 24 studies conducted in 10 countries.
  • Reduces pain: Pain reduction following reflexology work is documented in 36 studies including research showing impact on individuals of all ages and health states.
  • Improves blood flow: Separate studies show that reflexology work increases blood flow to the feet, brain, kidneys and intestines.
  • Aids post-operative recovery: Reflexology work aids recovery after surgery as demonstrated in multiple studies, reducing pain and lessening the use of post operative analgesics.
  • Enhances medical care: Reflexology helps where nothing else can for many: phantom limb pain sufferers, neuropathy patients, and hemodialysis patients to name a few.
  • Benefits mental health: Research demonstrates that reflexology can reduce depression (11 studies) and anxiety (9 studies).
  • Eases pregnancy, delivery and post-partum effects: Women who received reflexology experienced shorter labor times and used less analgesia. In addition, reflexology showed a positive impact on postpartum depression, anxiety, urination and bowel movements.

Of the 170 studies 83% show a positive result of areas researched. A Chinese survey of 8,096 case studies noted a 94% effective or significantly effective rate. Areas of study include: stress and anxiety; lessening of pain and cancer care as well as health concerns for individuals of all ages.

Source: Reflexology Research, Albuquerque, NM

The most recent research was carried out by the University of Stirling. A three-year study by PhD researcher Jenny Jones, from the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health, University of Stirling, and Professor Steve Leslie, a cardiologist from the Cardiac Unit at Raigmore Hospital, looked at the effects of reflexology in both healthy volunteers and patients with cardiac disease and found that reflexology had an effect on the hearts of volunteers.

The results of this double-blind randomised controlled trial (RCT) showed that working the heart reflex on the feet had a small effect on heart function in healthy volunteers. No heart function change was detected when ‘non-heart’ reflexes or other areas of the feet were treated.

While there was no change in the hearts of the cardiology patients, all subjects in this group found the treatment to be very relaxing, indicating that reflexology is a safe and useful relaxation tool for cardiac patients.


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