Effects of Foot Reflexology on Fatigue, Sleep and Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis

Department of Nursing, Christian College of Nursing, Gwangju, Korea.
Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing (Impact Factor: 0.38). 12/2011; 41(6):821-33. DOI: 10.4040/jkan.2011.41.6.821
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of foot reflexology on fatigue, sleep and pain.
A systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted. Electronic database and manual searches were conducted on all published studies reporting the effects of foot reflexology on fatigue, sleep, and pain. Forty four studies were eligible including 15 studies associated with fatigue, 18 with sleep, and 11 with pain. The effects of foot reflexology were analyzed using Comprehensive Meta-Analysis Version 2.0. The homogeneity and the fail-safe N were calculated. Moreover, a funnel plot was used to assess publication bias.
The effects on fatigue, sleep, and pain were not homogeneous and ranged from 0.63 to 5.29, 0.01 to 3.22, and 0.43 to 2.67, respectively. The weighted averages for fatigue, sleep, and pain were 1.43, 1.19, and 1.35, respectively. No publication bias was detected as evaluated by fail-safe N. Foot reflexology had a larger effect on fatigue and sleep and a smaller effect on pain.
This meta-analysis indicates that foot reflexology is a useful nursing intervention to relieve fatigue and to promote sleep. Further studies are needed to evaluate the effects of foot reflexology on outcome variables other than fatigue, sleep and pain.

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    • "However, few studies have attempted to correlate these results with any quantitative physiological or biochemical outcomes. To date six literature reviews of reflexology have been carried out [13] [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] and three further reviews on reflexology for cancer care [19], pain and fatigue [2], and pain management [11] are also available. None of these have focused specifically on the quantitative aspect of the results available, although the overwhelming opinion from the authors is that there is not enough high quality RCTs to produce significant scientific data for recommending reflexology as an evidencebased treatment option. "
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