Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How Usable is Reflexology? Part 1

So how usable is reflexology? Very usable—especially by nurses—would seem to be the answer when considering studies reported in peer-reviewed journals.

A sampling of studies reported on Sage Journals Online notes the use of reflexology in integrative and compelementary programs as well as by individuals:
• for cardiac patients post surgically
• during pediatric cancer care
• during palliative care for individuals experiencing heart failure,
• with inpatient and outpatient hospice patients
• for people with learning disabilities
• as support for individuals with dementia as well as their carers
• for those coping with Ménière’s disease
• to counter pain by those with multiple sclerosis

Many of the abstracts noted below demonstrate use by or attitudes toward reflexology by nurses. Of interest is the extension of reflexology services into palliative care for not only cancer patients but also heart failure patients. Use in hospice and palliative care units for children is also seen. Attitudes toward reflexology use by rheumatology nurses and as a subject for palliative care studies by patients and nurses were positive shown to be positive in two separate abstracts. A study showed that nursing students’ confidence about complementary therapies increased when they received hands-on education.

A survey of those with Ménière’s disease provides a glimpse, useful for reflexologists, into the thoughts of those using complementary and alternative treatments: “The findings suggest the importance of ‘finding your own way,’ having a positive outlook and being proactive in regaining control over one’s health, and the value of early recommendations to ‘perhaps try alternative/ CAM treatments’.”
• Journal of Holistic Nursing
“Reflection of a 7-Year Patient Care Program, Implementing and Sustaining an Integrative Hospital Program (for cardiac surgery patients and patients diagnosed with cancer at Saint Barnabas Health Care System, Livingston, New Jersey)”
“The Integrative Cardiac Wellness Program is led by two Certified Advanced Practice Holistic Nurses who are specially trained to care for cardiac patients using complementary medicine and therapies. Their goal is to empower patients to heal themselves by treating their integrated “whole” selves—mind, body and spirit.” Included in the program are: reflexology, Breathing Meditation, Reiki, Guided Imagery and Pet Therapy. In addition to patients who have undergone cardiac surgery, the program also serves patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.

Part 2 - Integrative Cancer Therapies

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