Monday, August 15, 2016

Can Reflexology Help Those with Asthma?

Few things are scarier than having difficulty breathing, an experience familiar to those with asthma. Recent research using reflexology or foot massage from Iran shows help is at hand for those with asthma.
Previous research produced mixed results about the ability of reflexology to help those with asthma breath easier.
In a Danish study 30 individuals provided with reflexology once a week for ten weeks, results were reported: “The authors do not find that this investigation demonstrates that foot zone therapy is of effect on the disease bronchial asthma.” 
In a Chinese study positive results were reported. Following the daily application of foot reflexology for 40 to 50 minutes over a period of two to twelve weeks, all 45 patients with infantile bronchial asthma (ages 1 to 7) experienced a disappearance of symptoms. 
Iranian Reflexology Research
In a recent Iranian study, 45 individuals with asthma were assigned to one of three groups: control, reflexology or foot massage. “The interventions were performed for ten sessions; 3 times a week for 15 min on each foot by a massage therapist.” All study participants continued their usual asthma medications. Following the interventions significant differences were found in asthma symptoms between those in the control group and those in the reflexology and foot massage groups. 
“The scores of asthma control dimensions among the study groups”:
  • Waking up during night due to Asthma over the past week
    Control group:          Before 3.1±1.5     After 3.2±1.7 
    Reflexology group:   Before 3.1±1.6    After 1.5±0.9
    Foot massage group: Before 3±1.4       After 1.6±0.8
  • The severity of symptoms in the morning over the past week
    Control group:          Before 3.7±1.7     After 3.6±1.4 
    Reflexology group:   Before 3.8±1.5     After 2.3±1.4 
    Foot massage group: Before 3.7±1.5     After 2.2±1.5  
  • The level of activity limitation due to Asthma over the past week
    Control group:          Before 3.1±1.6      After 3±1.7  
    Reflexology group:   Before 3.2±1.4     After 1.4±0.8  
    Foot massage group: Before 3.1±1.9     After 1.2±0.9 
  • Breath shortness due to Asthma over the past week
    Control group:          Before 2.8±1.4      After 2.8±1.7  
    Reflexology group:   Before 2.9±1.3     After 1.2±07   
    Foot massage group: Before 2.9±1.4     After 1.3±0.8 
  • Wheezing due to asthma over the past week
    Control group:          Before 2.9±1.25    After 2.9±1.4  
    Reflexology group:   Before 3±1.4        After 1.6±1    
    Foot massage group: Before 3±.1.6       After 1.5±0.9 
  • The number inhales from short-acting bronchodilator over the past week 
    Control group:          Before 2.7±1.5      After 2.7±1.6   
    Reflexology group:   Before 2.8±1.6      After 1.7±0.5    
    Foot massage group: Before 2.9±1.7      After 1.6±0.7 
  • Asthma Control Totals
    Control group:          Before 2.9±0.8      After 3±1.2    
    Reflexology group:   Before 3±1.1         After 1.9±0.8     
    Foot massage group: Before 2.9±1.2      After 1.8±0.9 
Full article information also found at:

Dashti S1Shahmari MMirzaaghazadeh AMirzaaghazadeh M., “Effect of Foot Reflexology and Olive Oil Foot Massage on Asthma Control.” Glob J Health Sci. 2016 Apr 29;8(12):56086. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v8n12p53. PMID: 27357875

Asthma and Reflexology 
Self-help reflexology technique
Research Methods=Research Influenced?
Methods are always an issue in research. With the above asthma studies, two issues come to mind: frequency of application and practitioner. The Chinese research saw positive results with daily application while the Danish study saw no results with weekly application. The Iranian study saw positive results with application three times a week.
An question is raised with the Iranian study due to the providing of both reflexology and foot massage interventions by a massage therapist. Both results were positive. Both were nearly identical. Would results be different if the reflexology interventions were provided by a reflexologist?

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