Evidence-based Studies
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Evidence-based Studies

Evidence-based Studies

Evidence-based studies and research demonstrates the effect of reflexology treatment on a variety of physical and psychological conditions.

Reflexology is showing up in more and more hospitals in the United States. Hospital-Based Integrative Medicine Program: Reflexology at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis; the Cleveland Clinic; the St. Rita’s Medical Centre in Lima, Ohio.

Research Project

Kevin Kunz & Barbara Kunz, co-directors of Reflexology Research Project which was launched in 1979, include among their 168 reflexology studies numerous research projects such as:

•  The Sudden Cardiac Arrest Project
•  The Paralysis Project
•  The Stroke Project
•  The Reflexology Path Project
•  The Research Project
•  The Reflex “Diet” Project

Research on Reflexology

Research in hospitals on the international level indicates positive benefits of reflexology for various conditions.

There are several well-designed studiesfunded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute of Health that indicate reflexology’s promise as an intervention to reduce pain and enhance relaxation, sleep, and the reduction of psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression.

  • United Kingdom: 2011 Pilot study, Sally Kay: Cardiff Metropolitan University: This study has been awarded funding to carry out research into a new reflexology technique called Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD), which has been developed by Ms Sally Kay, CNHC registered reflexologist. Ms Kay conducted a pilot study as part of her dissertation research project for her BSc in Complementary Therapies at the University.
  • United States: In a pilot study started in 2005, researchers from Michigan State University (MSU) have been testing three different complementary therapies – reflexology, guided imagery and reminiscence therapy – on women who are receiving chemotherapy while in the late stages of breast cancer. They found that, of the three therapies, reflexology proved to be the most effective. Many women turned to reflexology to help them cope with challenges of myriad physical and emotional issues such as depression and anxiety.

In South Africa the Therapeutic Reflexologists offer their services voluntarily in various hospitals and special care centres by working on children and adults with special needs.

On an international level recognition is given in e.g. Denmark, Finland, Australia to the efficiency of reflexologists and their effective services by setting career opportunities in hospitals, clinics and community healthcare centres. In all three countries reflexology is part of the National Health Service.

  • In Denmark reflexology is the most frequently used alternative therapy. Since the early ’90s, there are various municipalities and companies in Denmark that have employed reflexologists. The Danish government-funded research found many health benefits, including a gain of energy, improved mood and improved sleep.
  • In Australia there are career opportunities for reflexologists in education, community healthcare services, social welfare and health retreats.
  • In New Zealand Reflexologists have the opportunity to work within a professional setting in a complementary or integrated medical health centres.
  • In the United Kingdom qualified Reflexologists may find formal employment in Hospitals, Hospices, Clinics, Private Health Establishments and other Health Clubs, Holiday resorts etc.


Benefit of Reflexology Treatment

  1. What do summaries of the research say? Kunz and Kunz [2008] https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/reflexology/what-does-research-say-about-refloxology
  2. Kunz & Kunz, Evidenced Based Reflexology Research: For Health Professionals and Researchers Paperback – June 28, 2016. https://www.amazon.com/Evidenced-Based-Reflexology-Research-Professionals/dp/1534981896
  3. Reflexology in hospitals and integrative medicine programs: Reflexology Research Project June 2010. archive.constantcontact.com/fs077/1101356702306/archive/1103484655960.html 
  4. How Can Reflexology Help My Health and Healing? https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/reflexology/how-can-reflexology-help-my-health-and-healing
  5. A comparison the effects of reflexology and relaxation on the psychological symptoms in women with multiple sclerosis. Journal of Education and Health Promotion. (MS) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5433640/

Research on Reflexology

  1. What Does the Research Say about Reflexology?  http://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/explore-healing-practices/reflexology/what-does-research-say-about-refloxology
  2. Oncology Nursing FORUM: Article Health-Related Quality-of-Life Outcomes:           A Reflexology Trial With Patients With Advanced-Stage Breast Cancer https://onf.ons.org
  3. Reflexology Research: http://reflexology-usa.org/reflexology-research.
  4. 380 Reflexology Research Studies Listed by Category http://www.reflexologyresearch.net/Research380ReflexologyResearchAbstracts.shtml
  5. Denmark: Research A description of reflexology practice and clientele in Denmark. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S096522999580073


  1. Reflexology | Complementary and Alternative Therapy …
    https://www.cancerresearchuk.org › treatment › individual-therapies › refle…
  2. Association of Reflexologists in Somerset, England Sally Kay-Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage RLD http://clinicalreflexology.org/2018/07/06/sally-kay-reflexology-lymphatic-drainage-rld/
  3. Denmark: Complementary Therapies in Medicine Volume 3, Issue 4, October 1995, Pages 206-211 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229995800735
  4. Michigan State University: Patient turn to reflexology, October 7, 2005 https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2005/breast-cancer-patients-turn-to-reflexology-for-comfort/
  5. University of Minnesota: https://www.takingcharge.csh.umn.edu/…/reflexology/how-can-reflexology-help-my-…
  6. Reflexology Shows Promise for Treating Breast Cancer Symptoms: https://research.msu.edu/reflexology-shows-promise-for-treating-cancer-symptoms
  7. Reflexology Benefits Breast Cancer Patients, 7 October 2005. http://www.aphroditewomenshealth.com/news/20050906211107_health_news.shtm