Complementary therapies in the management of low back pain: a survey of reflexologists

Complement Ther Med. 2008 Feb;16(1):9-14. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2007.07.004. Epub 2007 Sep 19.


Objective: To investigate current management of low back pain (LBP) by reflexologists.

Methods: A postal survey of reflexologists (n=500) sampled from the International Institute of Reflexology. The questionnaire used investigated a range of areas including: professional details, reflexology training and practice, views and experiences of reflexology, reflexology and LBP, and views on other complementary therapies.

Results: Response rate was 49.6% (n=248). The majority of respondents were female (95%), and were primarily employed within another profession such as nursing or teaching. Respondents perceived reflexology to have a positive effect on relieving LBP (94.3%) and to provide more benefit than simply relaxation. Practitioners also commented on other treatment effects, e.g. improving sleep patterns, decreasing anxiety and stress. It was reported that other healthcare practitioners, including general practitioners, referred patients to reflexologists for treatment.

Discussion: Respondents considered reflexology to be an effective therapy for LBP. Further work is warranted to investigate the potential role of such treatment in the management of this prevalent and intractable condition.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / therapy
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / therapy
  • Stress, Psychological / therapy
  • Surveys and Questionnaires