Study shows that an ancient foot massage technique helps breast cancer patients alleviate their symptoms and perform their daily activities.
Current research led by Gwen Wyatt at Michigan State University shows that using reflexology, a massage technique on the foot, helped improve physical symptoms for patients with advanced stage breast cancer. Those who received reflexology had reduced shortness of breath, a common symptom for these patients. Because of these improvements, these women were able to carry out their daily routines more easily such as grocery shopping, personal care, or walking up a flight of stairs.
However, Wyatt did not find any psychological impact of the reflexology.
“The most significant changes were documented with the physical symptoms,” she said.
Despite the lack of psychological effects on emotional symptoms such as depression and anxiety, the positive benefits provided these women with an overall improvement in their health. Combined with their standard medical care, women with breast cancer can benefit from alternative forms of treatment to enhance their medical regimen.
The study also showed that the second group of women who only received a regular foot massage had exhibited reduced fatigue. As a result, Wyatt is currently examining if this could be an option as an inexpensive form of treatment that could be performed by family and friends instead of certified reflexologists.
The study of reflexology in a scientific manner is fairly new, but other cultures have used it throughout history. Although massage has been seen as a comforting tool, its benefits show promise to be explored with mainstream medicine.