Partner-delivered reflexology: effects on cancer pain and anxiety.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

PURPOSE/OBJECTIVES: To compare the effects of partner-delivered foot reflexology and usual care plus attention on patients' perceived pain and anxiety. DESIGN: The experimental pretest/post-test design included patient-partner dyads randomly assigned to an experimental or control group. SETTING: Four hospitals in the southeastern United States. SAMPLE: 42 experimental and 44 control subjects comprised 86 dyads of patients with metastatic cancer and their partners, representing 16 different types of cancer; 23% of patients had lung cancer, followed by breast, colorectal, and head and neck cancer and lymphoma. The subjects had a mean age of 58.3 years, 51% were female, 66% had a high school education or less, and 58% were Caucasian, 40% were African American, and 1% were Filipino. METHODS: The intervention included a 15- to 30-minute teaching session on foot reflexology to the partner by a certified reflexologist, an optional 15- to 30-minute foot reflexology session for the partner, and a 30-minute, partner-delivered foot reflexology intervention for the patient. The control group received a 30-minute reading session from their partners. MAIN RESEARCH VARIABLES: Pain and anxiety. FINDINGS: Following the initial partner-delivered foot reflexology, patients experienced a significant decrease in pain intensity and anxiety. CONCLUSIONS: A nurse reflexologist taught partners how to perform reflexology on patients with metastatic cancer pain in the hospital, resulting in an immediate decrease in pain intensity and anxiety; minimal changes were seen in the control group, who received usual care plus attention. IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Hospitals could have qualified professionals offer reflexology as a complementary therapy and teach interested partners the modality.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Stephenson, NLN; Swanson, M; Dalton, J; Keefe, FJ; Engelke, M

Published Date

  • January 1, 2007

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 34 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 127 - 132

PubMed ID

  • 17562639

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1538-0688

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1188/07.ONF.127-132


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States