Can Reflexology Reduce Pain?

Can Reflexology Reduce Pain?

Can Reflexology reduce pain? A discussion about 4 research studies

Some people will be really surprised that there is a lot of research which evidences the benefit that Reflexology can have in reducing pain. Pain is such a debilitating thing to endure; it impacts on the whole of a person’s life and is a major cause of disability.

Today I will discuss 4 different research studies which have all shown positive results from Reflexology.

Pain with Fibromyalgia

In 2010, Gunnarsdottir and Peden-McAlpine completed a research study to explore the effects of reflexology on six women who experienced pain and other symptoms of fibromyalgia. Each woman had 10 weekly reflexology sessions. The study showed that pain in multiple areas had started to isolate and decrease.

In 2016, another study was completed by Akin Korhan et al. with thirty people between 18 to 70 years old who had been hospitalised due to fibromyalgia symptoms. The patients received 12 foot and hand reflexology sessions over a period of 6 weeks. The study found that the patients paint intensity reduced with reflexology, and their pain reduction improved in the first and and sixth week which indicated a cumulative dose effect.

Pain in Children

In 2019, Bertrand et al., completed a study of 192 children who experienced persistent or chronic pain. They found that there was a significant reduction of pain and anxiety after a reflexology treatment, pain was significantly less for children experiencing headache or musculoskeletal pain.

Chronic Pain

In 2018, a much larger scale study was completed with 311 participants all of whom were patients of a Military pain clinic. Each participant received a single hand and foot reflexology treatment. The results showed a median 43% reduction of pain in male participants, and 41% reduction in pain for females.


As you can see, these four studies show that reflexology may reduce pain. Frustratingly, currently in the UK the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) means that we are restricted in what benefits we can advertise. However, with more research being completed on a regular basis and a lot of lobbying with my registered body Association of Reflexologists I am hopeful this will soon change.

However, the ASA has confirmed we can advertise that Reflexology can improve sleep, reduce tension, promote wellbeing, relax and improve mood.

So what’s holding you back? Why not book your Reflexology treatment today here.


Akin Korhan, Esra PhD; Eyigor, Can MD; Yong, Gulendam Hakverdioglu PhD, RN; Khorshid, Leyla PhD, RN. November 2016 , Effects of Reflexology on pain in Patients With Fibromyalgia. Holistic Nursing Practice. Volume 30, Issue 6 pp 351-359

Bertrand et al.,Dec 2019, Evaluation of efficacy and feasibility of foot reflexology in children experiencing chronic or persistent pain. Bulletin du Cancer. Volume 106, Issue 12, pp 1073-1079

Gunnarsdottir, Thora Jenny and Peden-McAlpine, Celia., August 2010, Effects of Reflexology on fibromyalgia symptoms: a multiple case study, Complementary Therapies in Clinic Practice. Volume 16, Issue 3.

Kern, C; McCoart, A; Beltranm, T; Martoszek, M; Jan 2018, The Benefits of Reflexology for the Chronic Pain Patient in a Military Pain Clinic Journal of Special Operations Medicine: a Peer Reviewed Journal for SOF Medical Professionals. Volume 18, Issue 4, pp103-105

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