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Feasibility of a reflexology and guided imagery intervention during chemotherapy: results of a quasi

01 Jul

A recent study by Gwen Wyatt and her team at Michigan State University concludes that reflexology as a single complementary therapy is a feasible option for women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer.

Investigators at The College of Nursing, Michigan State University, compared patients who chose (1) reflexology, (2) guided imagery, (3) guided imagery plus reflexology or (4) interview-only, in this non-randomised, unblinded trial with 96 women undergoing chemotherapy for various cancers.

Data on demographics, depression, anxiety, and functional status were collected using established instruments. Quality of life (QOL) and patient characteristics were assessed in relation to which complementary therapy was chosen.

The study found that patients who chose a complementary therapy rather than the interview-only tended to be older and in worse health, and had higher percentages of lung cancer, late-stage cancers, higher anxiety, more depressive symptoms and more physical limitations at baseline.

Patients who dropped out of the guided imagery and the guided imagery plus reflexology conditions had greater symptom severity, depressive symptoms and anxiety, and worse physical and emotional well-being than those who dropped out from the reflexology group.

This research concluded that reflexology as a single therapy for females with breast cancer was most feasible compared to other complementary therapies; and that patient characteristics influenced their choice of complementary therapies, highlighting the need for further research on complementary therapies in order to help healthcare providers identify patients who are likely to benefit most by addressing nursing-sensitive outcomes.

Citation: Wyatt G, Sikorskii A, Siddiqi A, Given CW. Feasibility of a reflexology and guided imagery intervention during chemotherapy: results of a quasi-experimental study. Oncology Nursing Forum. 2007 May;34 (3): pages 635-42. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Belleruth Naparstek

Psychotherapist, author and guided imagery pioneer Belleruth Naparstek is the creator of the popular Health Journeys guided imagery audio series. Her latest book on imagery and posttraumatic stress, Invisible Heroes: Survivors of Trauma and How They Heal (Bantam Dell), won the Spirituality & Health Top 50 Books Award