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J Altern Complement Med. 2008 Apr;14(3):269-75. doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.0577.

The clinical efficacy of reflexology in nursing home residents with dementia.

Author information

1
Center for Applied Research on Aging and Health, Thomas Jefferson University Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA. nancy.hodgson@jefferson.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

This experimental, repeated-measures, crossover design study with nursing home residents examined the efficacy of reflexology in individuals with mild-to-moderate stage dementia. Specifically, the study tested whether a weekly reflexology intervention contributed to the resident outcomes of reduced physiologic distress, reduced pain, and improved affect.

SETTING:

The study was conducted at a large nursing home in suburban Philadelphia.

SAMPLE:

The sample included 21 nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate stage dementia randomly assigned to two groups.

INTERVENTIONS:

The first group received 4 weeks of weekly reflexology treatments followed by 4 weeks of a control condition of friendly visits. The second group received 4 weeks of friendly visits followed by 4 weeks of weekly reflexology.

OUTCOME MEASURES:

The primary efficacy endpoint was reduction of physiologic distress as measured by salivary alpha-amylase. The secondary outcomes were observed pain (Checklist of Nonverbal Pain Indicators) and observed affect (Apparent Affect Rating Scale).

RESULTS:

The findings demonstrate that when receiving the reflexology treatment condition, as compared to the control condition, the residents demonstrated significant reduction in observed pain and salivary alpha-amylase. No adverse events were recorded during the study period.

CONCLUSIONS:

This study provides preliminary support for the efficacy of reflexology as a treatment of stress in nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate stage dementia.

PMID:
18370580
DOI:
10.1089/act.2008.14611
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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