Research and Reading page

I am passionate about increasing my knowledge and understanding of how the body works, and how to optimise its functioning naturally through the use of complementary healthcare and lifestyle changes.

Part of how I improve my knowledge and understanding is through being aware of complementary healthcare research trials.  Another great way is by reading – there are so many incredible research based / factual healthcare books out there and below I will list my favourite so far at the bottom of this page (ones which I have read myself).


Please click on the research paper title to take you to an online summary of the research 

You will note that the research papers below refer to reflexology only – I have done this as I think the benefits of massage are widely known, and accepted, but reflexology has many people scratching their heads!  I see the benefits in my clients all the time, and as a regular recipient of reflexology myself, but it is important to recognise there is research out there which has explored the effects of reflexology.  New research is being carried out all the time.  As a holistic healthcare treatment it is far harder to evidence the benefits of reflexology. compared to allopathic medicine, due to its holistic nature which means that every treatment is as individual (and different) as each person.

Important to note, too, that he billions of pounds available to research pharmaceuticals is simply not available to research a complementary healthcare like reflexology …

The effect of reflexology on the quality of life with breast cancer patients (2017).

Özdelikara A, Tan M.

Conclusion (from Abstract) 

Reflexology was found to reduce the symptoms experienced by breast cancer patients, while at the same time increasing the functional and general health status.



The effects of reflexology on pain and sleep deprivation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis: A randomized controlled trial (2018)


Bakir E, Baglama SS, Gursoy S.

Conclusion (from Abstract)

‘… Foot reflexology is a non-pharmacological nursing intervention that may reduce the pain and sleep deprivation symptoms of RA patients …’


Changes of renal blood flow during organ-associated foot reflexology measured by color Doppler sonography  (Reflexology speeds up blood flow)

Sudmeier, Bodner et al. 1999

Conclusion (from Abstract)

‘… findings support the hypothesis that organ-associated foot reflexology is effective in changing renal blood flow during therapy. ‘



Randomized Controlled Study of Premenstrual Symptoms Treated With Ear, Hand, and Foot Reflexology

Oleson and Flocco, 1993


These clinical findings support the use of ear, hand, and foot reflexology for the treatment of PMS.



A pilot study of the effectiveness of reflexology in treating idiopathic constipation in women.  (Reflexology speeds up elimination processes)

Woodward, Norton and Barriball, 2010.


This study shows that in this sample reflexology has potential benefit for treating idiopathic constipation in women. Further randomised trials are required.



The effects of foot reflexology on anxiety and physiological parameters among candidates for bronchoscopy: A randomized controlled trial

HoomanShahsavariaMarzieh Ebrahimi EshratAbadbMir SaeedYekaninejrad

Foot reflexology relieved anxiety and reduced physiological symptoms in the candidates for bronchoscopy. Consequently it could be used as a non-invasive non-pharmacological remedy for individuals awaiting invasive diagnostic procedures such as bronchoscopy.



The Effect of Reflexology on Pain Intensity and Duration of Labor on Primiparas

M Dolatian1,1,* A Hasanpour,1 Sh Montazeri,2 R Heshmat,3 and H Alavi Majd4


Pain intensity at all the three stages of cervical dilatation was significantly lower in the reflexology group. During the 4-5 cm dilatation stage, women in the supported group reported less severe pain compared to those receiving routine care, but no significant differences at the later stages of labor. This indicates that reflexology could decrease the duration of first, second and third stages of labor.


Our findings showed that reflexology can be useful to decrease the pain intensity as well as duration of labor.



Results from a pilot randomised controlled trial exploring the effects of antenatal reflexology on labour outcomes

Julie Em Mccullough; Ciara Close; S Dianne Liddle and Marlene Sinclair


  • Reflexology is being recommended by midwives and used by women during pregnancy and labour with a limited evidence base.
  • Antenatal reflexology may reduce the duration of the second stage of labour for primiparous women with low back and/ or pelvic girdle pain.
  • Reflexology is safe to use during pregnancy.
  • Pregnant women enjoy reflexology and find it beneficial.



Reflexology for the treatment of pain in people with multiple sclerosis: a double-blind randomised sham-controlled clinical trial

CM Hughes, S. Smyth


Precision reflexology was not superior to sham, however, both treatments offer clinically significant improvements for MS symptoms via a possible placebo effect or stimulation of reflex points in the feet using non-specific massage.

(Note – sham treatment was a foot massage aimed at avoiding stimulation of reflex points)



Reflexology in the management of low back pain: a pilot randomised controlled trial



Reflexology appears to offer promise as a treatment in the management of LBP; however, an adequately powered trial is required before any more definitive pronouncements are possible.

(Note LBP is Low Back Pain; an adequately powered trial means that a larger study with more participants is needed before a definite link between the reflexology and improvements in low back pain are made)



Effects of reflexology on fibromyalgia symptoms: a multiple case study.

Gunnarsdottir TJ1, Peden-McAlpine C.



To explore the effects of reflexology on pain and other symptoms in women with fibromyalgia syndrome [FM].

METHODS:Multiple case study method as developed by Stake was used to investigate the effects of reflexology on six cases of women with FM which were given ten sessions of weekly reflexology. Data were collected with observation, interviews and diary and then analyzed within cases and across cases.

RESULTS:Reflexology affected the symptom of pain in multiple areas such as head, neck and arms. Pain started to isolate and decrease.

CONCLUSION:Reflexology may be helpful to decrease fibromyalgia symptoms. Qualitative research methods and individually tailored interventions are important when researching complementary and alternative therapies.



Can reflexology maintain or improve the well-being of people with Parkinson’s Disease?


This study explored whether reflexology could improve or sustain the wellbeing of people with Parkinson’s Disease [PD] using the PDQ39 wellbeing tool designed specifically for use with people with PD. The treatment protocal involved giving 8 therapy sessions to 16 people with varying derees of PD in a cross-over design to enable a longitudinal survey of impact. Whilst the results reflected the progressive nature of PD deterioration over time there was an improvement in wellbeing over the active therapy phase. These results suggest that continuous two- three weekly reflexology may limit further deterioration or maintain improvement of wellbeing. A further study is indicated to study this hypothesis.



Evaluation of anxiety, salivary cortisol and melatonin secretion following reflexology treatment: A pilot study in healthy individuals


Reflexology reduced ‘state’ anxiety and cardiovascular activity within healthy individuals, consistent with stress-reduction. Considering the connection between stress/anxiety and well being, the effects of reflexology may have beneficial outcomes for patients. These findings will be transferred to a study involving breast cancer patients where effects may be more pronounced particularly since cancer patients display disregulation of cortisol and melatonin secretion.



Clients’ perceptions of the benefits of reflexology on their quality of life.


Awareness has increased among health-care professionals, patients and the general public of the importance of an holistic approach to cancer care. Psychosocial interventions, including complementary therapies, may help to improve the quality of life (QoL) of people with cancer by helping to reduce the distress associated with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and by facilitating improved psychological adjustment to the experience of cancer. The following article presents anecdotal findings at ARC Cancer Support Centre Dublin, Ireland, of clients’ perceptions of the benefits of reflexology interventions on their QoL. Reflexology interventions were perceived to impact positively upon clients’ levels of impairment and functional status, including physical and psychological function, with implications for general health perceptions. The paper discusses how these findings might form the basis of further, more rigourous evaluation of the benefits of reflexology for people with cancer at ARC Cancer Support Centre.


1) Reflexology for Fertility  – A Practitioners’ Guide To Natural and Assisted Conception

ISBN 978-1-78028-901-4

Author – Barbara Scott MBRA MARR


2) The 4 Pillar Plan: How to Relax, Eat, Move and Sleep Your Way to a Longer, Healthier Life

ISBN 978-0241303559

Author – Dr Rangan Chatterjee


3) The Stress Solution: 4 steps to a calmer, happier, healthier you

ISBN 978-0241317945

Author – Dr Rangan Chatterjee


4) The Foot Collective 

As you might (or maybe might not!) imagine, I am incredibly interested in feet – not just from a reflexology point of view, but from a foot anatomy perspective  – and its relationship to our posture – too.  It follows that if we have poor posture we will develop musculoskeletal problems which can affect every part of us.  I am fascinated by the idea that many musculoskeletal problems are caused by the wearing of overly tight shoes, or heels, and that enabling our feet to stretch and to have sensory input from the ground we walk on can enable our bodies to find a naturally better posture.  Click on The Foot Collective for the website which gives lots of information on how to look after your tootsies, and so your body.


5) The Obesity Code

An absolutely fascinating book about the myths surrounding weight gain – backed up with lots of research and evidence to support the claims made, it is a book anyone with an interest in why we gain weight and why it is so hard to lose it should read.

ISBN: 9781925228793


6) The End of Alzheimer’s 

Another incredible book also supported with lots of research and evidence – exploring the reason why no cure has yet been found for this tragic condition: the reason being, there is no one cause for why someone develops Alzheimer’s, it is multifactorial.  It is a fascinating book which is very easy to read, too.

ISBN: 9781785041228