The effect of foot reflexology on constipation and quality of life in patients with multiple sclerosis. A randomized controlled trial

Complement Ther Med. 2020 Jan:48:102270. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2019.102270. Epub 2019 Nov 29.


Background: Constipation is a major problem in most patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of foot reflexology on constipation and quality of life in patients with MS.

Methods: This study was a randomized controlled trial, in which 63 patients with MS referred to Arak MS Society, Iran were participated (from May to Dec. 2018). In this study participants were selected according to inclusion criteria and randomly divided into intervention (n = 33) and control (n = 30) groups. In the intervention group, foot reflexology was applied twice a week for 6 weeks (each session lasted about 30-40 min). Data were collected using demographic questionnaire, Constipation Assessment Scale (CAS) and Short Form (SF) 36 Quality of Life (QOL) questionnaire. Finally, the data were analyzed using SPSS Ver. 16 and descriptive and inferential statistical tests.

Results: The results of the study showed that severity of constipation and QOL score were not significant between the two groups before intervention (p > 0.05), but; after intervention, severity of constipation significantly decreased in the reflexology group (p < 0.05). Nevertheless, after intervention, the QOL was improved in the reflexology group compared to the control group but was not significant (p > 0.05).

Conclusion: The results of this study showed that foot reflexology, as an effective intervention can be useful in management of constipation in patients with MS. Therefore, this intervention can be applied as a safe method for the decrease of constipation in MS patients.

Keywords: Complementary therapies; Constipation; Multiple sclerosis; Quality of life; Reflexology.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Constipation / etiology*
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Female
  • Foot*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis / complications*
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires