Exploring the body through reflexology: Physical behaviors observed during application

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2016 Nov;25:52-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2016.08.005. Epub 2016 Aug 11.


Recent studies on reflexology describe the appearance of different application-associated effects, attributed to a self-regulatory mechanism related to treatment efficacy. On the other hand, sleep is a physiological process of vital importance for health. Its main value lies in restoring the natural balance between neuronal centers. Among its associated behavioral characteristics are spontaneous movements and eye movements. The aim of this study is to investigate the effects that occur during application of reflexology and that are not described in the literature. This is a descriptive observational study with a quantitative methodology. Abivariate anlysis has been conductec through chi-square test or Anova as apropiate. A total of 111 clients of a therapy center in Tarragona have participated in the study. They were assigned into four groups (musculoskeletal, stress, anxiety, mantenance). Reflexology was administered and observered the manifestations that occured during the session. The findings have identified four categories of effects, of which there was no previous reference. These effects can be related to any of the stages of sleep. This study shows that reflexology promotes its application for different effects, such as eye movements and spontaneous movements. These data reveal the need to investigate these effects and their impact on health as well as their possible relationship with sleep.

Keywords: Body behaviors; Eye movements; Reflexology; Sleep stages; Spontaneous movements.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Head Movements / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Massage*
  • Middle Aged
  • Sleep / physiology*
  • Young Adult