Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Thoughts on Reflexology Case Studies

Alzheimer's Toe?
Thoughts on case studies are presented here as a follow-up to the Skype Presentation by Kevin Kunz for the Maine Council of Reflexologists (MCR) 20th Anniversary. 

Reviewing interest by MCR members in case studies, Kevin and Barbara have come up with suggestions for pursuing case studies that will succeed in provide validity for reflexology.

As noted by Kevin, case studies are considered light weight science and are given little credibility. However, validity and interest are heightened when the case study involves an interesting case, one from which illuminating information can be gleaned.

First, observations about stress cues or key reflex areas in case studies can have an impact, serving to: (1) encourage future studies and (2) serve as useful information about which reflex areas to target in future reflexology work applied to such cases.

Example: An Alzheimer’s sign on the foot was discovered by a Canadian reflexologist who looked at the feet of 21 residents of his father’s Alzheimer’s ward. (http://reflexologylive.blogspot.com/2010/04/alzheimers-sign-more-pictures-more.html) This observation provides food for thought for any reflexologist when evaluating stress cues of the big toe. It also provides material for possible future research in the early detection of Alzheimers.

(To learn more about observing stress cues of the feet, see The Complete Guide to Foot Reflexology (Third Edition). Available in paperback.)

Next, create a plan for a case study that includes sufficient technique application will lead to achieving the best results possible. Parameters of technique application (how long, how often and with what pressure) have been shown to influence results. Review such parameters in research for reflexology applied to 78 disorders drawn from 169 studies in Reflexology Research for Health Professionals and Researchers.

Also, consider volunteering to work with a targeted client or clientele can provide an interesting case study. As previous studies of cancer patients and aging populations have found, these are areas where reflexology helps what medicine can’t. Consider volunteering to work with cancer care or chemotherapy patients; stroke patients; individuals who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Twenty-four studies with cancer patients find that reflexology helps with: nausea, vomiting and pain reduction. Studies with the elderly found that reflexology helps with: constipa- tion, sleep, pain relief and control over falls for the elderly.

Resulting observations about stress cues, key reflex areas or dosing (how much, how often, how long) in such case studies can have a large impact: (1) encouraging future studies and (2) serving as useful information for care giver both professional and family members.

Example: The research of Dr., Nancy Stephenson, reflexologist and assistant professor of nursing at Eastern North Carolina University, has broken ground for both dosing and the impact of reflexology application to cancer patients to alleviate pain. Her work provides verification for family reflexology work with cancer patients as well as incentive for family members to apply reflexology.

To learn more about dosing and the impact of reflexology work applied to cancer patients, see Reflexology Research in Cancer Care: What it means for cancer patients (a full discussion of 24 reflexology studies) or Reflexology Research and Cancer Care: Dosing (how much reflexology.helps cancer patients (a discussion of how much reflexology work was applied during 24 studies of cancer patients)

By the way, you never know where a case study might go. The word “pressure” is now included in reflexology definitions around the world—all because of Kunz and Kunz work with three case studies of paralysis (as well as literature research).

 Further ramifications of the work include the foot as a sensory organ and a mechanism of action for how reflexology works within the nervous system. The China Reflexology Association refers to the Kunzes as the leading Western reflexology experts—attributable to, in the Kunz’s opinion, years of work starting with the Paralysis Project. Read more.

Barbara and Kevin Kunz

1 comment:

Wayne said...

Kevin and Barbara,
Thank you again for your in-depth and clinical elaboration on Reflexology Case Studies.
As a reflexologist, I have followed your work with a keen eye and with much respect and reverence.
In my opinion, the Chinese are accurate in their assessment of you and your work.
When reflexology dosing requirements are considered, how is bio-individuality and cause-and-effect sensitivity accounted for in case studies?
I have observed discrepancies (not just tolerances) in my clients over the years, specifically in regards to detoxification response to reflexology.
In a non-scientific study of ten clients, I was able to produce starkly different results based upon the reactions/responses to reflexology sessions performed with a focus on the kidney, liver and pancreas reflexes.
The one rather interesting and unexpected result, was the effect that time of day had on the results: if reflexology was performed before noon, the client - regardless of other factors - had a more expedited detoxification response. Whereas if the session was provided after noon, there was a discernible lag, or delay in the detoxification effect.
I have used this information in my practice with excellent results, but only after assessing the bio-individuality of the client.

Thank you again,
Wayne Nelson
Redmond Reflexology