Is reflexology or massage better at reducing stress or pain?
Is reflexology or massage better at reducing stress or pain? 15 Feb 2020
While amongst my clients there is a clear preference for massage, I decided to investigate if there was any scientific evidence if massage was better than reflexology (or vice versa) at reducing pain and stress.
In 2012 there was a small study comparing massage to reflexology on cancer survivors over the age of 75 living in a care home. The study compared the effectiveness of 20 minutes of reflexology treatments against 20 minute Swedish massage by examining the impact on the patients stress levels, pain levels and mood. Pre and post treatment levels of salivary cortisol, observed affect and pain were compared.
Both reflexology and Swedish massage resulted in significant declines in salivary cortisol indicating a reduction in stress levels, reduced pain levels and improvements in mood.
So to go back to my original question, there is scientific evidence for both and I suggest you book the treatment you prefer.
Hodgson N, Lafferty D (2012) Reflexology versus Swedish Massage to Reduce Physiologic Stress and Pain and Improve Mood in Nursing Home Residents with Cancer: A Pilot Trial. Evidence Based Complement Alternat Med. 2:456897