Effects of reflexotherapy on acute postoperative pain and anxiety among patients with digestive cancer

Cancer Nurs. 2008 Mar-Apr;31(2):109-15. doi: 10.1097/01.NCC.0000305694.74754.7b.


Even after receiving analgesia, patients with gastric and liver cancer still report moderate levels of postoperative pain. The purpose of the study was to investigate the efficacy of foot reflexotherapy as adjuvant therapy in relieving pain and anxiety in postoperative patients with gastric cancer and hepatocellular cancer. The study design was a randomized controlled trial. Data were collected from 4 surgical wards of a medical center in 2005 in Taipei, Taiwan. Sixty-one patients who had received surgery for gastric cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma were randomly allocated to an intervention (n = 30) or control (n = 31) group. Patients in the intervention group received the usual pain management plus 20 minutes of foot reflexotherapy during postoperative days 2, 3, and 4. Patients in the control group received usual pain management. Outcome measures included the short-form McGill Pain Questionnaire, visual analog scale for pain, summary of the pain medications consumed, and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Results demonstrated that studied patients reported moderately high levels of pain and anxiety postoperatively while patients were managed with patient-controlled analgesia. Using generalized estimation equations and controlling for confounding variables, less pain (P < .05) and anxiety (P < .05) over time were reported by the intervention group compared with the control group. In addition, patients in the intervention group received significantly less opioid analgesics than the control group (P < .05). Findings from this study provide nurses with an additional treatment to offer postoperative digestive cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Anxiety / nursing
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Depression
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / complications
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / physiopathology
  • Gastrointestinal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain, Postoperative / nursing
  • Pain, Postoperative / therapy*
  • Reflexotherapy*
  • Social Perception
  • Surveys and Questionnaires