Fact or Myth: Reflexology Benefits Cancer Patients

This is a FACT.

Reflexology is an alternative healing modality that uses pressure on specific points on the feet, hands, and ears to help alleviate pain, stimulate circulation, increase the flow of vital energy through the body, and restore any bodily functions that are out of whack. According to reflexology experts, each of these reflex points is connected to a particular organ or body part. Applying pressure to these points sends energy from the foot (or hand or ear) to the spine, where it is then released into the body to heal an associated illness.

Reflexology proponents claim that it can help heal…

  • PMS
  • Digestive disorders
  • Skin flare ups
  • Respiratory infections
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Headaches
  • Back pain

Research suggests that reflexology benefits cancer patients as well. Treatment helps reduce the pain and anxiety of cancer patients, as well as symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and mobility.

reflexologyEasing Cancer Discomfort

A review of 168 research studies, many of which were published in respected peer-reviewed journals, demonstrated that reflexology reduces pain, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation, and improves quality of life impaired by a number of different ailments, including cancer. Researchers pinpointed four main mechanisms by which reflexology benefits cancer patients:

  1. Exerts a positive impact on specific organs. For instance, fMRI readings indicated increased blood flow to the kidneys and intestines.
  2. Improvement in symptoms, such as beneficial changes to kidney function.
  3. A palliative effect. EEGs exhibited beneficial changes in alpha and theta waves, as well as lowered blood pressure and anxiety.
  4. A decrease in pain.

Reflexology especially benefited breast cancer patients. A 2000 study made up of 87 cancer patients showed a 100% improvement in individuals treated with reflexology. This included improvements in appearance, communication, breathing, concentration, mood, mobility, and sleep, as well as a reduction in pain, feelings of isolation and fear, nausea, constipation/diarrhea, and fatigue. A smaller but very well controlled study made up of 24 breast and lung cancer patients found that reflexology treatments resulted in a “significant decrease in pain.”

Treat Yourself to Reflexology

Reflexology has also been shown to help ease asthma, cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and kidney function, and is a full-body stress reliever. We all deserve a bit of TLC, and chances are your body energy could use some rebalancing even if you aren’t showing any signs of illness. Depending on your location and chosen practitioner, reflexology treatments cost between $30 and $100 per hour.