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

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Hughes, Ciara, Smyth, S and Lowe-Strong, Andrea (2009) Reflexology for the treatment of pain in people with multiple sclerosis: a double-blind randomised sham-controlled clinical trial. Multiple Sclerosis, 15 (11). pp. 1329-1338. [Journal article]

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DOI: 10.1177/1352458509345916

Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) results in pain and other symptoms which may be modified by conventional treatment, however, MS is still not curable. Several studies have reported positive effects of reflexology in the treatment of pain, however, no randomised controlled clinical trials for the treatment of pain have been conducted within this population. The objective of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of reflexology on pain in and MS population. We randomly allocated 73 participants to receive either precision or sham reflexology weekly for 10 weeks. Outcome measures were taken preand post-treatment with follow-up at 6 and 12 weeks by a researcher blinded to group allocation. The primary outcome measure recorded pain using a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS). A significant (p<0.0001) and clinically important decrease in pain intensity was observed in both groups compared with baseline. Median VAS scores were reduced by 50% following treatment, and maintained for up to 12 weeks. Significant decreases were also observed for fatigue, depression, disability, spasm and quality of life. In conclusion, 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.

Item Type:Journal article
Faculties and Schools:Faculty of Life and Health Sciences
Faculty of Life and Health Sciences > School of Health Sciences
Research Institutes and Groups:Institute of Nursing and Health Research > Centre for Health and Rehabilitation Technologies
ID Code:8963
Deposited By:Dr Andrea Lowe-Strong
Deposited On:27 Jan 2010 15:08
Last Modified:28 Feb 2012 14:34

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