Can Your Elderly Parent Benefit from Reflexology?

By Alistair Young, 9:00 am on January 5, 2017

Reflexology is the practice of applying pressure to isolated regions of the feet, hands and ears to cause a reaction in another area of the body. Although reflexology had been used by Asian and Middle Eastern cultures for centuries, the philosophy was introduced into the United States in 1913 by Dr. William Fitzgerald. The upper respiratory physician and surgeon became interested in reflexology when he observed that applying pressure in one area of the body affected another. Later, the reflexology chart was created, which identified 10 different specific zones with certain organs and body systems. Below is everything Fort Worth in-home caregivers need to know about the practice and how it benefits seniors.

Reflexology Sessions

Reflexologists might apply pressure or massage using their hands, lubricating oils, rubber balls, elastic bands or similar instruments. Practitioners administer treatment after determining a client’s medical history, current conditions and complaints. Sessions last up to one hour. Follow-up appointments are recommended based on the type of ailment reported. 

Anxiety, Depression and Pain

Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute found that reflexology has the potential to reduce pain while encouraging relaxation and sleep. Evaluations performed in 2002 and 2015 by researchers named Williamson, Hudson and associates indicated that following reflexology treatments, clients experienced a reduction in anxiety and depression. 

Cancer Treatment Symptoms

Controlled reflexology studies performed by Hodgson, Stephenson, Milligan and associates from 2000 to 2002 involved approximately 150 patients receiving cancer treatments. Individuals who also underwent reflexology therapy experienced relief from nausea, constipation/diarrhea, pain and generalized fatigue. Clients also expressed relief from anxiety, depression and appetite loss associated with cancer treatment. 

Multiple Sclerosis 

In 2014, the American Academy of Neurology learned that reflexology reduced nerve discomfort in patients diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Another study performed in 2015 determined that the therapy minimized fatigue symptoms in women afflicted with the disorder. 

Sinus Problems

A trial involving 150 volunteers in 2002 evaluated the effects of reflexology on subjects suffering from chronic sinusitis. One group received reflexology treatments while another underwent nasal irrigation treatments. Both groups experienced the same positive effects, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.

While it isn’t certain if reflexology is a viable treatment for these and other conditions, it may be useful for your senior loved one. Learn more about reflexology and other holistic pain relief methods by calling Home Care Assistance at (817) 349-7599. We provide flexible live-in and hourly elderly home care Fort Worth families can trust to help seniors age in place with dignity. Set up a free consultation today when you call to speak with a trusted Care Manager.