The effects of foot reflexology on depression during menopause: A randomized controlled clinical trial

Complement Ther Med. 2019 Dec;47:102195. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102195. Epub 2019 Sep 14.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of foot reflexology on depression during menopause.

Design: Randomized controlled clinical trial.

Setting: Gynecology outpatient clinic.

Interventions: We enrolled 90 menopausal women with depression. Participants were assigned to the intervention (n = 45) and control (n = 45) groups by block randomization. Participants in the intervention group received 15 min of foot reflexology on each foot for a total of 30 min in evenings, twice a week for six weeks. Participants in the control group received only the routine care for menopause patients.

Main outcome measures: The Beck Depression questionnaire was completed by all participants at the beginning of the trial and the end of the intervention and two months after completion of the intervention.

Results: A total of 121 patients were assessed for eligibility to participate in the study. One-hundred patients met the criteria to participate, and 90 participants-45 participants in each group-completed the study. In the intervention group, the mean scores of depression before, immediately after, and two months after the study were 26.97 ± 4.47 (95% CI = 25.3-28.3), 22.55 ± 5.18 (95% CI = 20.9-24.1), and 21.20 ± 5.74 (95% CI = 19.4-22.9), respectively. In the control group, these scores were 26.15 ± 5.01 (95% CI = 24.6-27.6), 26.22 ± 5.14 (95% CI = 24.7-27.7), and 26.66 ± 3.87 (95%CI = 25.5-27.8), respectively. Using Repeated Measures ANOVA, the comparison of the mean scores of depression in the two groups indicated that the scores were decreased over time.

Conclusion: The findings indicated that the foot reflexology technique can be effective for reducing women's depression during menopause. However, considering the study's limitations, including a small sample size and no intervention in the control group, more studies are needed to verify the findings.

Keywords: Complementary therapy; Depression; Foot reflexology; Menopause; Women.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Depression / therapy*
  • Female
  • Foot*
  • Humans
  • Menopause*
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires