Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Why Hospitals Should Include Reflexology As Part of Their Services

© Penalope Roses. Image from BigStockPhoto.com.

We just did a newsletter in which there were two articles. The first article talked about Integrative Medicine and the fact that these services showed over a 50% decrease in pain among over 1800 patients. The study did include reflexology among the integrative medicine being used.The second article talked about about the hospitals that included reflexology for such things as palliative and cardiac care.

This is the most response we have seen from a newsletter in quite awhile. People wrote in with much enthusiasm. It hit a note with people.

So let's look at the upside of including reflexology in hospital programs. Reflexology is less risky as far as potential side effects. When a drug is administered there is the risk of a catastrophic reaction. Even if the side effect isn't catastrophic it can be harmful and slow or reverse a patient's recovery.

Reflexology has no know adverse side effects. Using reflexology to address issues such as pain, anxiety or depression can improve patient safety without some of the toxic side effects pharmacological agents can produce. And reflexology does not need to be administered in such a manner that precludes other treatments.

Probably the biggest issue is efficacy. Many studies are showing that in fact the efficacy is quite good for issues like nausea and vomiting which are major issues involving patient comfort.

And while we are talking about patient comfort reflexology can be very effective in reducing stress. The stresses in a hospital are many. From having a roommate to the noises that permeate this environment and even the stress of being bedridden. Even the skeptics do not dispute the relaxing qualities of reflexology.

And then there the issue of coping with the changes in their health and wellness that a patient faces. It can be a very tough situation for a lot of patients and particularly bewildering when they have be health up to this point.

There is the cost associated with all this. It is staggering. Hopefully with the new methodology the hospitals are using to track patients cost effectiveness can be demonstrated. From my own experience I have had clients who have recovered in much faster time than the predicted average shaving days off their allotted time. What type of savings can be reflected in this outcome?

Also there is patient contact as a potential upside. Reflexologists often spot changes because the amount of time they have contact with their clients. Changes that could be significant can be reported thus saving the patient from further hardships. And to be quite mercenary the hospitals could be saving money by early intervention.

There is another issue here beyond the patient's experience. It is the staff's experience. If an individual is in intractable pain and all the conventional solutions have played out then the nurses and other staff face stresses as well. With reflexology there is a way to break up the patterns of stress that contribute to the pain experience. Rather than the staff trying to react to the situation reflexology could offer a way to proactively address the problem.

What is the downside of reflexology being used in hospitals? I am not quite sure that I have the answer on this. It might not work on certain individuals but this would be quickly shown. No harm, no foul. the hospitals could always decide it wasn't all that effective. This is not much of a risk.

And the benefits could be enormous in patient safety, comfort, and quality of care. There are side benefits as well. The patient contact could be a very important part of effective medical care. And the staff being able to be effective in addressing the patient's needs is very important not only for the patients but the staff as well. .

So I would like to hear your pros and cons of reflexology being included in hospital services? What do you think? Please read our newsletter to get some further insight.

Kevin Kunz