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Reflexology and Menopause and PMS

Clinical experience suggests that reflexology may have beneficial effects on the symptoms occurring in menopausal women, particularly psychological symptoms. Women were randomised to receive nine sessions of either reflexology or nonspecific foot massage (control) by four qualified reflexologists given over a period of 19 weeks. The Women's Health Questionnaire (WHQ), the primary measures being the subscores for anxiety and depression. Severity (visual analogue scale, VAS) and frequency of flushes and night sweats. Mean scores for anxiety fell from in the reflexology group and in the control group over the course of treatment. Mean scores for depression fell in the reflexology group and from in the control (foot massage) group over the same period. Similar changes were found for severity of hot flushes and night sweats. In the control group, 14/37 believed they had not received true reflexology. Foot reflexology was not shown to be more effective than non-specific foot massage in the treatment of psychological symptoms occurring during the menopause.
-- BJOG. 2002 Sep;109(9):1050-5. -- Randomised controlled trial of reflexology for menopausal symptoms. Williamson J, White A, Hart A, Ernst E.

To determine whether reflexology therapy, the application of manual pressure to reflex points on the ears, hands, and feet that somatotopically correspond to specific areas of the body can significantly reduce premenstrual symptoms compared to placebo treatment. METHODS: Thirty-five women who complained of previous distress with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) were randomly assigned to be treated by ear, hand, and foot reflexology or to receive placebo reflexology. All subjects completed a daily diary, which monitored 38 premenstrual symptoms on a four-point scale. Somatic and psychological indicators of premenstrual distress were recorded each day for 2 months before treatment, for 2 months during reflexology, and for 2 months afterward. The reflexology sessions for both groups were provided by a trained reflexology therapist once a week for 8 weeks, and lasted 30 minutes each. Analysis of variance for repeated measures demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in premenstrual symptoms for the women given true reflexology treatment than for the women in the placebo group. These clinical findings support the use of ear, hand, and foot reflexology for the treatment of PMS.
-- Obstet Gynecol. 1993 Dec;82(6):906-11. -- Randomized controlled study of premenstrual symptoms treated with ear, hand, and foot reflexology. Oleson T, Flocco W.

Reflexology Information

last update: April 2009

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