The acute (immediate) effects of reflexology on arterial compliance in healthy volunteers: A randomised study

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Feb;22:16-20. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2015.11.001. Epub 2015 Nov 17.


Background: Reflexology is a widely used complementary therapy. The effects of reflexology on the cardiovascular system are not well characterised. Arterial stiffness (compliance) is a marker of vascular health. This study aimed to evaluate the effects of reflexology on arterial compliance in healthy volunteers.

Methods: 12 healthy volunteers (1 male; 11 female; mean age 44.8 ± 10.8 yrs) received 10 min of reflexology on each foot in a single-blind randomised study. The main outcome measures were measurements of cardiovascular parameters including heart rate, blood pressure and arterial compliance (augmentation index).

Results: Reflexology had no significant effect on heart rate, blood pressure or augmentation index (all p > 0.05).

Conclusions: In healthy volunteers, there were no consistent changes in haemodynamic parameters with a single brief reflexology treatment. Thus from a cardiovascular point of view, reflexology (as delivered) would appear to have a limited (if any) effect on the cardiovascular system.

Keywords: Augmentations index; Health volunteers; Reflexology; Vascular health.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure / physiology*
  • Female
  • Heart Rate / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage / methods*
  • Middle Aged