Effects of aroma self-foot reflexology on peripheral neuropathy, peripheral skin temperature, anxiety, and depression in gynaecologic cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: A randomised controlled trial

Eur J Oncol Nurs. 2019 Oct;42:82-89. doi: 10.1016/j.ejon.2019.08.007. Epub 2019 Aug 23.


Purpose: Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) can interfere with activities of daily living and can negatively affect symptoms. Thus, this study aimed to develop and implement an aroma self-foot reflexology regimen based on Cox's Interaction Model of Client Health Behaviour (IMCHB) as an intervention that can be self-performed at home and at any time. The effects of aroma self-foot reflexology on peripheral neuropathy, peripheral skin temperature, anxiety, and depression were examined in patients with gynaecologic cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy.

Methods: This randomized controlled trial included 32 experimental and 31 control patients with CIPN. Data were collected using self-reported questionnaires (CIPN assessment tool, HADS). In the experimental group, peripheral neuropathy, peripheral skin temperature, anxiety, and depression were measured before and after aroma self-foot reflexology therapy for 6 weeks. The control group was provided with identical aroma self-foot reflexology training 6 weeks later and underwent the intervention at that time.

Results: The intervention resulted in lower levels of symptoms of peripheral neuropathy, less interference with activities (p < .001), and higher peripheral skin temperature level (p < .001). Anxiety and depression decreased in the experimental group (p < .001). The ratio of borderline and definite cases of anxiety and depression did not differ between groups.

Conclusions: An aroma self-foot reflexology intervention can reduce CIPN, anxiety, and depression in gynaecologic cancer patients. Further research is required to assess the effects of differences in the content of the intervention and the effects of various numbers of applications and durations of applications based on each individual patient's condition.

Keywords: Anxiety; Aroma self-foot reflexology; Chemotherapy; Depression; Gynaecologic cancer; Interaction model of client health behaviour; Peripheral neuropathy; Peripheral skin temperature.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / therapy*
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / etiology
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / complications
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / drug therapy*
  • Genital Neoplasms, Female / psychology
  • Humans
  • Massage
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Odorants
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / chemically induced
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / psychology
  • Peripheral Nervous System Diseases / therapy*
  • Skin Temperature*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires