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Clin Rehabil. 2013 Jul;27(7):591-8. doi: 10.1177/0269215512469383. Epub 2013 Feb 12.

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.

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1
Ayrshire Multiple Sclerosis Service, Ayrshire Central Hospital, Irvine, UK.

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.

KEYWORDS:

Multiple sclerosis; quality of life; reflexology; severe disability

PMID:
23405024
DOI:
10.1177/0269215512469383
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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