Reflexology – the healing application of pressure to specific points on the ears, hands and feet corresponding to various bodily systems and organs – is being studied for its benefits in cancer patients.

Reflexology for Cancer

Reflexology for Cancer

Nearly 400 women fighting advanced breast cancer with hormonal therapy or chemotherapy were divided into three groups for a recent Michigan State University study. Funded by the National Cancer Institute, the study researched the effects of reflexology as a safe, healing complement to typical cancer treatments over 11 weeks.

Cancer patients were divided into three groups:

Although reflexology didn’t decrease the amount of nausea or pain that cancer patients felt, this ancient modality did have a significant effect: it reduced shortness of breath, a typical symptom faced by breast cancer patients, enabling them to be more active and do daily tasks such as getting dressed or shopping for groceries.

Interestingly, there were some of findings that left researchers scratching their heads. For one, scientists were surprised to discover that the benefits of reflexology on cancer patients were limited to physical improvements, not psychological ones. Also, patients who were given only placebo-style foot massages reported reduced fatigue, an unusual finding considering that reflexology patients showed no similar improvements.

This latter finding has spurred new research to learn whether massage techniques similar to reflexology given by family and friends of cancer patients, versus certified reflexologists, may be just as effective in comforting cancer patients.

Suggestions for your massage practice

1. Learn more about the healing art of reflexology and how it can expand your career as a natural healer.

2. Offer reflexology treatments and educate your clients on its many benefits.


Oncology Nursing Forum

Medical Xpress

Melissa Wood, ND