There have been substantial numbers of studies researching reflexology, but by their very nature they are usually small sample studies due to practicalities and lack of funding. I have however included some links below to studies with interesting findings, or meta analysis research, for those who are interested.
Effects of foot reflexology on fatigue, sleep and pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis (1)
Conclusion: This meta-analysis indicates that foot reflexology is a useful nursing intervention to relieve fatigue and to promote sleep. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effects of foot reflexology on outcome variables other than fatigue, sleep and pain.
A pilot randomised controlled trial exploring the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes (2)
Key conclusions: in this trial antenatal reflexology reduced labour duration for primiparous women who had experienced low back and/ or pelvic girdle pain during their pregnancy, compared with usual care and footbaths.
Implications for practice: reflexology is suitable for use during pregnancy, is safe and enjoyable and may reduce labour duration. Midwives may wish to recommend reflexology to promote normal childbirth and facilitate women centred care.
The Effect of Foot Reflexology on Amnesia in Patients Undergoing Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Randomized Clinical Trial (3)
Conclusion: Foot reflexology, as a relatively simple, inexpensive, and non-invasive technique with few side effects, can be used to manage amnesia in patients after ECT.
Effects of reflexology on premenstrual syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis(4)
Conclusion: In general, results of the present study indicated that the reflexology could relieve PMS symptoms, so that overall scores, somatic and psychological symptoms of PMS decreased by applying the reflexology intervention. Furthermore, an increase in the length of reflexology time in each session increased its efficiency. Reflexology can be used as an effective intervention in a patient care program by nurses and its efficiency can be enhanced by increasing intervention time in each reflexology treatment session.
The effects of reflexology on anxiety, depression and quality of life in patients with gynecological cancers with reference to Watson's theory of human caring (5)
Conclusion: These results showed that reflexology based on Watson's theory of human caring is effective in reduction of anxiety and depression and improves the quality of life in gynecological cancer patients during chemotherapy. It can be suggested that offering reflexology at certain intervals during chemotherapy will increase the duration of its effect.
1) J Korean Acad Nurs. 2011 Dec;41(6):821-33. doi: 10.4040/jkan.2011.41.6.821.
Jeongsoon Lee1, Misook Han, Younghae Chung, Jinsun Kim, Jungsook Choi Affiliations 1 Department of Nursing, Christian College of Nursing, Gwangju, Korea. PMID: 22310867 DOI: 10.4040/jkan.2011.41.6.821
2) Midwifery. 2017 Dec;55:137-144. doi: 10.1016/j.midw.2017.09.006. Epub 2017 Sep 14. A pilot randomised controlled trial exploring the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes. Julie E M McCullough, Ciara Close, S Dianne Liddle, Marlene Sinclair, Ciara M Hughes. PMID: 29024881 DOI: 10.1016/j.midw.2017.09.006
The Effect of Foot Reflexology on Amnesia in Patients Undergoing Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Randomized Clinical Trial
4) Biopsychosoc Med. 2019 Oct 24;13:25. doi: 10.1186/s13030-019-0165-0. eCollection 2019.
Effects of reflexology on premenstrual syndrome: a systematic review and meta-analysis
5) Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2021 Jun 17;44:101428. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2021.101428. Online ahead of print. The effects of reflexology on anxiety, depression and quality of life in patients with gynecological cancers with reference to Watson's theory of human caring