Reflexology as an adjunctive nursing intervention for management of nausea in hemodialysis patients: A randomized clinical trial

Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2019 Aug;36:29-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2019.04.006. Epub 2019 May 3.


Introduction: Nausea is common side effect of hemodialysis. Nonpharmacological methods such as reflexology or other branches of integrative medicine can be used to control nausea. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of reflexology on nausea in hemodialysis patients.

Methods: This study was a double-blind randomized clinical trial conducted from March 2018 to June 2018 at the Arak Dialysis Center, Iran, in which 72 eligible hemodialysis patients were randomly assigned into intervention (n = 36) and control (n = 36) groups. Reflexology was performed on the solar plexus and soles of the feet once (30 min per session) per day for twelve days, one hour after the onset of hemodialysis in the area of nausea on the solar plexus and on the soles of the feet.

Results: The results showed there was no significant difference in severity of nausea (P = 0.28) between the two groups before intervention. However, after intervention the severity of nausea in the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th days in the intervention group was significantly lower than the control group.

Conclusions: The results showed that reflexology had a positive effect on reducing the severity of nausea in hemodialysis patients. Therefore, reflexology is recommended as part of nursing care to reduce patient suffering. Universities can train students in reflexology and managers can use the protocols to apply this method to reduce patient discomfort during hemodialysis.

Keywords: Chronic Illness; Hemodialysis; Nausea; Nursing Care; Reflexology.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Massage*
  • Nausea / etiology*
  • Nausea / therapy*
  • Renal Dialysis / adverse effects*