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Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:76-84. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.018. Epub 2018 Feb 3.

Reflexology: A randomised controlled trial investigating the effects on beta-endorphin, cortisol and pregnancy related stress.

Author information

1
Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland BT37 0QB, United Kingdom. Electronic address: j.mccullough@ulster.ac.uk.
2
Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland BT37 0QB, United Kingdom. Electronic address: sd.liddle@ulster.ac.uk.
3
Centre for Public Health, Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland BT9 7BL, United Kingdom. Electronic address: c.close@qub.ac.uk.
4
Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland BT37 0QB, United Kingdom. Electronic address: m.sinclair1@ulster.ac.uk.
5
Institute of Nursing and Health Research, Ulster University, Shore Road, Newtownabbey, Co Antrim, Northern Ireland BT37 0QB, United Kingdom. Electronic address: cm.hughes@ulster.ac.uk.

Abstract

Reflexology is used for various pregnancy related complaints. A three-armed, pilot randomised controlled trial was conducted to test changes in physiological and biochemical stress parameters. Ninety primiparous volunteers experiencing low back and/or pelvic girdle pain (LBPGP) were recruited to receive either six reflexology or footbath treatments or usual care. Primary outcome data included pain intensity and frequency measured on a visual analog scale (VAS), and salivary beta-endorphin and cortisol levels. 61 (68%) women completed the intervention. A clinically important reduction of 1.63 cm occurred for VAS pain frequency following reflexology. Beta-endorphin levels increased by 8.8% and 10.10% in the footbath and usual care groups respectively and decreased by 15.18% for the reflexology group. Cortisol increased by 31.78% for footbath participants, 31.42% in usual care and 18.82% in the reflexology group. Reflexology during pregnancy may help reduce LBPGP, and associated stress. However, antenatal reflexology is under researched and requires further investigation.

KEYWORDS:

Beta-endorphin; Cortisol; Low back pain; Pelvic girdle pain; Pregnancy; Reflexology

PMID:
29705485
DOI:
10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.018
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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