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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:

  • Pain 

  • Stress and anxiety

  • Mood imbalances

  • A disrupted immune system

  • Hormone imbalances

  • Nausea, diarrhoea or constipation


I first had the pleasure of meeting Nik a few months ago thru a breast cancer support group Sweet Louise. She picked me for the model for her talk/demo and I instantly felt the value of what she was doing ... a reflexology session as well as the luxury of a good pampering (yes! please!) ... I often feel more calm and together after Nicki has finished. I highly recommend her skill and empathy ... and I am very appreciative of her valuable skills and healing attitude.

Jen C

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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.



After recent breast surgery I developed swelling, and also mild lymphoedema in the armpit. It was very uncomfortable. I had one session with Nicki and, whilst I believe in the benefits of reflexology, I was amazed how much the swelling reduced in just 24 hours and continued to reduce over the next few days. A second session a week later and I'm still experiencing a fantastic beneficial response. Nicki has such a light touch and a gentle way of treatment, I'll be back for a regular session to maintain wellbeing. Thanks Nicki!

Jo L

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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.

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