Listed in Issue 161


WILKINSON and COLLEAGUES, Department of Mental Health Sciences, Royal Free and University College Medical School, The Hampstead Campus, London, England  review [7 refs] the research evidence base for the effectiveness of reflexology in cancer care.


Complementary therapies are increasingly being used in hospices and hospitals alongside orthodox treatments in an attempt to improve patients' emotional, spiritual, psychological, and physical well-being. An average of 31% of UK patients with cancer use some form of complementary therapy. Many UK cancer centres, out-patient units, and hospices are providing complementary services. There is strong anecdotal evidence that complementary therapies assist in the palliation of physical and psychological symptoms.


This systematic review examines the research evidence base for the effectiveness of reflexology in cancer care.


The study reports the results of a systematic review following the Cochrane principles of systematic reviewing. No meta-analysis was possible. Studies were retrieved from a comprehensive search of electronic databases from their start dates. An initial search was carried out in 2003 and updated in 2005 to 2006. Eligible studies were randomized controlled trials, controlled before and after studies, and interrupted time-series studies. Participants were adults with a diagnosis of cancer, receiving care in any healthcare setting. Interventions were limited to reflexology carried out by a qualified therapist as distinguished from another healthcare professional carrying out a reflexology intervention. Outcome measures were patient-reported levels of physical and psychological indices of symptom distress and quality of life (measured using validated assessment tools). [References: 7]



Wilkinson S,  Lockhart K, Gambles M and  Storey L. Reflexology for symptom relief in patients with cancer. [Review] [7 refs]  Cancer Nursing. 31(5):354-60; quiz 361-2, Sep-Oct 2008.

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