Reflexology is a complementary therapy that involves stimulating points on the soles of the feet to induce therapeutic effects in different parts of the body.

Reflexology has been investigated in MS. In one study, 71 patients were randomised to either reflexology treatment with manual pressure on specific points in the feet and massage of the calf area, or to non-specific massage of the calf area only. 53 patients completed the study and there were significant improvements in the mean scores of paraesthesia (abnormal sensations such as pins and needles), bladder symptomsmuscle strength and spasticity.

In a second study, 73 people received either reflexology or basic foot masssage weekly for 10 weeks, primarily as a treatment for pain. Both groups showed benefit in pain, fatiguedepression and spasms with no clear difference between reflexology and massage. The effect on pain last for up to twelve weeks.

Another study used a survey method to investigate complementary and alternative therapies use by people with MS. The results of the survey highlighted reflexology as one of the most popular therapies used by people with the condition.

References

  • Siev-Ner I, et al. Reflexology treatment relieves symptoms of multiple sclerosis: a randomised controlled study. Multiple Sclerosis 2003;9(4) 356-361. Summary
  • Hughes CM, et al. Reflexology for the treatment of pain in people with multiple sclerosis: a double-blind randomised sham-controlled clinical trial. Multiple Sclerosis 2009;15(11):1329-1338. Summary
  • Esmonde L, Long AF. Complementary therapy use by persons with multiple sclerosis: Benefits and research priorities. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice 2008; 14 (3): 176-184. Summary

Last updated: 11 September 2013
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