A study led by a Michigan State University researcher offers the strongest evidence yet that reflexology — a type of specialized foot massage practiced since the age of pharaohs — can help cancer patients manage their symptoms and perform daily tasks.
Funded by the National Cancer Institute and published in the latest issue of Oncology Nursing Forum, it is the first large-scale, randomized study of reflexology as a complement to standard cancer treatment, according to lead author Gwen Wyatt, a professor in the College of Nursing.
“It’s always been assumed that it’s a nice comfort measure, but to this point we really have not, in a rigorous way, documented the benefits,” Wyatt said. “This is the first step toward moving a complementary therapy from fringe care to mainstream care.”
The article notes:
Reflexology is based on the idea that stimulating specific points on the feet can improve the functioning of corresponding organs, glands and other parts of the body.
And is completely without scientific merit.
Note that this piece says that the regular foot massage worked best for fatigue (and they were “surprised”). And reflexology didn’t work for important things like nausea or pain, only “shortness of breath”. So what? Then they bolster the findings with arguments from antiquity:
“Reflexology comes out of the Chinese tradition and out of Egypt,” Wyatt said. “In fact, it’s shown in hieroglyphics. It’s been around for a very long time.”
SO WHAT?! That’s not science! It was PRE-SCIENCE. This press release was desperately spun to make this treatment sound far more important than it is. If this is the best “evidence” they can put in the promotional material, I’m wondering how worthless the study results really were. Reflexology is still silly.