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A three-year study by PhD researcher Jenny Jones, from the School of Nursing, Midwifery & Health, University of Stirling, and Professor Steve Leslie, a cardiologist from the Cardiac Unit at Raigmore Hospital, looked at the effects of reflexology in both healthy volunteers and patients with cardiac disease.

The results of this double-blind randomised controlled trial (RCT) showed that working the heart reflex on the feet had a small effect on heart function in healthy volunteers. No heart function change was detected when ‘non-heart’ reflexes or other areas of the feet were treated. While there was no change in the hearts of the cardiology patients, all subjects in this group found the treatment to be very relaxing, indicating that reflexology is a safe and useful relaxation tool for cardiac patients.

Jenny told the FHT, ‘Professor Leslie and I are very pleased to be able to provide some positive research in this area, as there is currently a lack of scientific evidence available on complementary therapies such as reflexology. We are very excited by these initial results which warrant further research.  Furthermore, as cardiac patients and doctors are unclear whether reflexology is safe, we can now confidently say that there is no major change in cardiac function in this patient group, although longer term effects need further study’.

The full research paper will be published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice and is available online at:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S174438811200031X 

Further information and related articles can also be found at:

http://www.stir.ac.uk/2012/reflexology-affects-the-hearts-of-non-cardiology-patients/name-29428-en.html

http://www.heraldscotland.com/mobile/news/health/reflexology-treatment-affects-heart-functions.18146487?_=6b2bd402d209c54d3bac7cde5c365a6810c3d099

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2012-07-reflexology-affects-hearts-non-cardiology-patients.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9398070/Reflexology-improves-heart-efficiency-claim-researchers.html

Image: iStockphoto

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