Wednesday, August 12, 2020

A New Era for Reflexology: Is this stuff legit?

Is this stuff legit? The question was asked of us about reflexology by a Chicago policeman (it’s a long story) more than 40 years ago. You could say we’ve been answering the question ever since.

Legitimacy draws closer as research emerges to define reflexology in new terms, physiological parameters used by medical science to assess the usefulness of a treatment. It is research that demonstrates the value of reflexology work in a hospital setting.

The discovery of such research started with our preparation to conduct research. At issue: definitively establishing a mechanism of action for the workings of reflexology. Further research would, hopefully, be spurred with the ultimate goal of defining reflexology as a health science practice and more than, as currently seen, a feel good interlude. 

The study will be directed by Dr. Stefan Posse of the Department of Neurology at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and utilize fMRI and more to explore the issue. It’s been thirty-five years for us of researching others’ research and now we get to participate in doing research.

A first step in conducting research? Finding existing research on similar topics. Surprises always emerge when researching research and the current hunt definitely ventured into surprising territory. It’s always a pleasure for Barbara to search for research and then analyze it. Hours, days, weeks can go by. It doesn’t matter—it’s the hunt and never knowing where you’ll be taken.

Surprises aplenty popped up during a research dive a few years ago. It involved twenty years of gathering research and a year in the analysis and writing. The goal was to make evidence-based predictions about how much reflexology was needed to achieve a specific result. The search entailed sifting through hundreds of reflexology studies and finding the ones that cited how much reflexology work was applied and the results. Approximately 168 met the criteria to make. The result was Evidenced Based Reflexology Research. Among surprises: how much was shown to be achieved during a single reflexology session.

The surprise in the current search of research was seven studies documenting the effect of reflexology work on ventilator-dependent patients. Ventilator use among seriously ill Covid19 patients has been a hot topic recently. While reflexology work was applied for different purposes — following open heart surgery in five studies and with general patients in two — the results speak to possible positive outcomes for the seriously ill.

Another surprise: there is now research extending an understanding of the physiology behind reflexology: heart rate, oxygen saturation, respiratory rate, blood pressure and more. This is new territory, bringing the field of reflexology closer to identifying why and for which results could be achieved. Such studies didn’t exist years before. The paucity of such research left a big whole in credibility  for reflexology. 

There was more: Application of reflexology work to improve hospitalized patient care using the specifics of improvements in physiological parameters. Previous research with hospitalized patients was significant and centered on helping with pain, anxiety and recovery from circumstances of care needed: maternity care, cancer care and post operative.  

Here reflexology was shown to be effective in helping manage the care of ventilator-dependent patients and other hospitalized patients. Opened up was the possibility of helping patients hospitalized for Covid19.

Is this stuff legit? Research will tell the story.

Books by Kunz and Kunz

Research Books

Medical Applications of Reflexology: Findings in Research About Post-operative care, Maternity Care and Cancer Care
Evidenced Based Reflexology Research: For Health Professionals and Researchers
Medical applications of Reflexology:: Findings in Research about Cancer Care

Bestselling Books

 Reflexology: Hands-on Treatment for Vitality and Well-being
Complete Reflexology for Life: Your Definitive Photographic Reference to the Best Techniques and Treatments  

Intermittent Moving Books

Intermittent Moving: How I Lost My Pants and Mastered My Weight
Un-Sit Your Life: The Reflex "Diet" Solution


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