Benefits of Reflexology
Reflexology is a Holistic, gentle non invasive therapy which compliments conventional treatment and care, and it is a person-centred approach.

It is a treat, not a treatment, which promotes relaxation, and it in turn improves quality of life.
Reflexology may bring great relief to cancer patients, used alongside orthodox medicine it may improve a patients spiritual, emotional,psychological, and physical wellbeing, and has become one of the most popular therapies used by patients that have either been newly diagnosed with Cancer, or who are undergoing treatment for cancer.


  • Promotes Relaxation in turn relieving stress, fear and anxiety
  • May help manage depression
  • Help a person cope with what is happening to them
  • Is something to look forward to while continuing treatment
  • Help a person to communicate and express how they feel
  • Help to promote a positive outlook and a sense of wellbeing
  • Helps relatives and friends to see loved ones benefit physically


  • May help reduce side effects of chemotherapy, radiotherapy, analgesics and other medication
  • Relieve digestive problems e.g constipation and diarrhoea
  • Boost immune system
  • Assist the body to repair after surgery or radiotherapy
  • Help to reduce ankle oedema
  • Reduce muscle tension therefore pain
  • Boost energy levels
  • Assist sleep

In a study of 183 post-operative breast cancer patients, those receiving reflexology showed clinically significant improvements in quality of life compared with those undergoing self-initiated support alone.
PMID: 19906525 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of below abstract:
Sharp DM, Walker MB, Chaturvedi A, Upadhyay S, Hamid A, Walker AA, Bateman JS, Braid F, Ellwood K, Hebblewhite C, Hope T, Lines M, Walker LG. ”A randomised, controlled trial of the psychological effects of reflexology in early breast cancer.” Eur J Cancer. 2010 Jan; 46(2): 312-22. Epub 2009 Nov 10.


The Institute of Rehabilitation, University of Hull, Kingston upon Hull, UK.


To conduct a pragmatic randomised controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effects of reflexology on quality of life (QofL) in women with early breast cancer.
One hundred and eighty-three women were randomised 6 weeks post-breast surgery to self-initiated support (SIS) (comparator intervention), SIS plus reflexology, or SIS plus scalp massage (control for physical and social contact). Reflexology and massage comprised eight sessions at weekly intervals. The primary end-point was 18 weeks post surgery; the primary outcome measure was the Trial Outcome Index (TOI) of the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy (FACT-B) – breast cancer version. The secondary end-point was 24 weeks post surgery. Secondary outcome measures were the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and the Mood Rating Scale (MRS).
At primary end-point, massage, but not reflexology, was significantly better than SIS on the TOI. Reflexology and massage were both better than SIS for MRS relaxation. Massage was better than reflexology and SIS for MRS easygoingness. At secondary end-point, reflexology, but not massage, was better than SIS on the TOI and MRS relaxation. There were no significant differences between reflexology or massage. There were no significant between group differences in HADS anxiety and depression. Self-reported use of out of study complementary therapies indicated that this was unlikely to have a significant effect on findings.
When compared to SIS, reflexology and massage have statistically significant, and, for reflexology, clinically worthwhile, effects on QofL following surgery for early breast carcinoma.

In a study of 34 breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, from the Department of Nursing at Inje University in Pusan, Korea, there was a significant decrease in nausea and vomiting in the experimental group receiving four 40-minute phases, or sessions, of foot reflexology. It is suggested that reflexology be used as a nursing intervention in the case of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

PMID: 15778569 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Source of abstract below:

Yang JH., ”The effects of foot reflexology on nausea, vomiting and fatigue of breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy,” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005 Feb; 35(1): 177-85.
[Article in Korean]


Department of Nursing, Inje University, Pusan, Korea.


The purpose of this study was to identify the effects of foot reflexology on nausea, vomiting and fatigue in breast cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
The research was a quasi-experimental study using a non-equivalent pre-post design and was conducted from Jan. 26, to Mar. 20, 2004. The subjects consisted of 34 patients with 18 in the experimental group and 16 in control group. A pretest and 2 posttests were conducted to measure nausea, vomiting and fatigue. For the experimental group, foot reflexology, which was consisted of 4 phases for 40 minutes, was given by a researcher and 4 research assistants. The collected data were analyzed by repeated measures ANOVA using the SPSS WIN 10.0 program.
There was a statistically significant decrease in nausea, and vomiting in the experimental group compared to the control group over two different times. In addition, there was a statistically significant decrease in fatigue in the experimental group compared to the control group over two different times.
Foot reflexology was effective on nausea, vomiting and fatigue in breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy in this study. Therefore, foot reflexology can be usefully utilized as a nursing intervention in the field of cancer nursing for breast cancer patients receiving chemotherapy.

PMID: 15778569 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]