Determination of efficacy of reflexology in managing patients with diabetic neuropathy: a randomized controlled clinical trial

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:843036. doi: 10.1155/2014/843036. Epub 2014 Jan 9.


Background. The restricted usage of existing pharmacological methods which do not seem to provide the treatment of diabetic neuropathy may lead to exploring the efficacy of a complementary therapy. In this context, this paper was devoted to evaluate the efficacy of foot reflexology. This health science works on the hypothesis that the dysfunctional states of body parts could be identified by observing certain skin features and be rectified by stimulating certain specific areas mapped on feet. Method. Subjects (N = 58) with diagnosed diabetic neuropathy were randomly distributed into reflexology and control groups in which both group patients were treated with ongoing pharmacological drugs. Reflexology group patients were additionally treated holistically with the hypothesis that this therapy would bring homeostasis among body organ functions. This was a caregiver-based study with a follow-up period of 6 months. The outcome measures were pain reduction, glycemic control, nerve conductivity, and thermal and vibration sensitivities. The skin features leading to the detection of the abnormal functional states of body parts were also recorded and analyzed. Results. Reflexology group showed more improvements in all outcome measures than those of control subjects with statistical significance. Conclusion. This study exhibited the efficient utility of reflexology therapy integrated with conventional medicines in managing diabetic neuropathy.