Evaluation of the effects of reflexology on quality of life and symptomatic relief in multiple sclerosis patients with moderate to severe disability: a pilot study.

L Miller, E McIntee, P Mattison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:
To examine the feasibility of delivering reflexology to people moderately to severely affected by multiple sclerosis and to investigate the effect on a range of symptoms.
METHODS:
A pilot single-blind randomized placebo controlled trial.
SETTING:
An outpatient multiple sclerosis rehabilitation centre.
SUBJECTS:
Twenty people moderately to severely affected by multiple sclerosis were randomized into one of two groups receiving either reflexology or sham reflexology.
INTERVENTION:
Each participant received 8 weeks, 1 hour per week of either reflexology or sham reflexology.
MAIN MEASURES:
Primary outcome measure was the Multiple Sclerosis Impact Scale (MSIS29). Secondary measures assessed a range of symptoms at baseline, 8 weeks and 16 weeks.
RESULTS:
There were no statistically significant differences between the two groups at either 8 (P = 0.538) or 16 (P = 0.112) weeks for the primary outcome measure; however, both groups demonstrated small improvements from 92.3 (SD 20.9) to 75.6 (SD 3.3) with reflexology, and 91.3 (SD 29.9) to 81.5 (±18.5) with sham reflexology group after 8 weeks of treatment. Small improvements were noted in most of the secondary outcome measures at 8 weeks. There was no difference between the groups at 8 weeks except for bladder function (P = 0.003) and most scores returned to baseline at follow-up.
CONCLUSIONS:
The results do not support the use of reflexology for symptom relief in a more disabled multiple sclerosis population and are strongly suggestive of a placebo response. This study demonstrates, however, that reflexology can be delivered and is well tolerated by people who are moderately to severely affected by multiple sclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-98
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Rehabilitation
Volume27
Issue number7
Early online date12 Feb 2013
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2013

Keywords

  • multiple sclerosis
  • symptoms
  • alternative medicines

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