Objective: To evaluate the effect of reflexology on symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) in a randomized, sham-controlled clinical trial.
Methods: Seventy-one MS patients were randomized to either study or control group, to receive an 11-week treatment. Reflexology treatment included manual pressure on specific points in the feet and massage of the calf area. The control group received nonspecific massage of the calf area. The intensity of paresthesias, urinary symptoms, muscle strength and spasticity was assessed in a masked fashion at the beginning of the study, after 1.5 months of treatment, end of study and at three months of follow-up.
Results: Fifty-three patients completed this study. Significant improvement in the differences in mean scores of paresthesias (P = 0.01), urinary symptoms (P = 0.03) and spasticity (P = 0.03) was detected in the reflexology group. Improvement with borderline significance was observed in the differences in mean scores of muscle strength between the reflexology group and the controls (P = 0.06). The improvement in the intensity of paresthesias remained significant at three months of follow-up (P = 0.04).
Conclusions: Specific reflexology treatment was of benefit in alleviating motor; sensory and urinary symptoms in MS patients.