Reflexology and cancer
There is no reason why you cannot have reflexology if you have cancer.
You may have sessions alongside any medical or surgical treatments you are undergoing. In fact, The Royal Marsden Hospital - set up in 1851 as the world's first dedicated cancer hospital and now Europe's largest cancer centre - offers free massage or reflexology sessions to their cancer patients. Reflexology may help you relax, cope with treatment, and generally feel a little bit more like yourself.
Many studies have been carried out using reflexology in cancer patients. In particular, reflexology may help support clients with cancer who have:
Stress and anxiety
A disrupted immune system
Nausea, diarrhoea or constipation
Reflexology and breast cancer
Someone with breast cancer may decide to have reflexology to help with any of the symptoms above, but breast cancer treatment may also cause long-term swelling of the chest or arm (lymphoedema) on the affected side. Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) is an award-winning reflexology sequence that has been developed specifically to help with this problem. Unlike manual lymphatic drainage massage, only the feet are touched, but this encourages the lymph fluid to move naturally, reducing swelling (often dramatically!)
To read an article about RLD published by the Cardiff Met News, please click here.
I am also a Sweet Louise provider, offering treatments for those affected by secondary
breast cancer. Please click here for more details about Sweet Louise and the services
they provide for their members.
Reflexology and cancer research
In one study*, all the reflexology clients found their quality of life to be improved (this included appetite, breathing, concentration, constipation/diarrhoea, mobility, mood, nausea, pain, and sleep/tiredness).
In another study**, researchers noted a 'significant decrease in pain' for patients with breast cancer.
There is also some evidence that reflexology reduces the side effect of chemotherapy. Click here to read about this.
*Hodgson, H. (2000). Does reflexology impact on cancer patients' quality of life? Nursing Standard, 14(31), 33-38.
**Stephenson, N.L. et al. (2000). The effects of foot reflexology on anxiety and pain in patients with breast and lung cancer. Oncology Nursing Forum, 27(1), 67-72.