Effect of pre-cesarean foot reflexology massage on anxiety of primiparous women

J Complement Integr Med. 2020 Sep 23;17(3). doi: 10.1515/jcim-2019-0229.


Introduction Anxiety is a common feeling in cesarean section and lack of attention to it is associated with negative consequences for health of mother and child. Reflexology is a way to reduce anxiety. So far, the effect of reflexology on pre-cesarean anxiety has not been evaluated. Therefore, we aimed to evaluate the effect of pre-cesarean foot reflexology massage on the anxiety of women during their first pregnancy. Materials and Methods This study is a three-group clinical trial that was conducted in 2019. The study sample consisted of 90 pregnant women hospitalized for cesarean section in Zahedan who were randomly divided into three groups of 30 women. The subjects completed the state section of Spielberger anxiety questionnaire. The control group did not receive any intervention. For two groups, 1 h before surgery, a group received reflexive massage, and the another group simple massage. Duration of massage for each group was 30 min. After 30 min, the subjects completed the state section of Spielberger questionnaire again. Statistical analysis was performed by SPSS software program, version 21.0. ANOVA and ANCOVA tests were used to compare between groups and paired t-test was used for intra-group comparisons. Results The results showed that the level of anxiety was significantly reduced in the reflexology massage group (from 55 ± 8 to 40 ± 7) as well as simple massage group (from 51 ± 10 to 47 ± 7) (p<0.001). In the control group, anxiety was increased (from 49 ± 9 to 56 ± 9) (p<0.001). Comparison between the three groups by ANCOVA indicated that reflexology massage and simple massage significantly decreased anxiety scores (p>0.001 and p>0.001,respectively). Reflexive massage significantly reduced anxiety scores (p>0.001) as compared to simple massage. Conclusion The results of this study revealed the positive effect of reflexology massage on pre-cesarean anxiety. Because reflexology massage is an inexpensive, simple, and easy approach, the use of this non-pharmaceutical method is recommended to reduce pre-cesarean anxiety.

Keywords: anxiety; cesarean section; massage; pregnancy; reflexology massage.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anxiety / etiology
  • Anxiety / prevention & control*
  • Cesarean Section / psychology*
  • Female
  • Foot
  • Humans
  • Massage / methods*
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations / methods*
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Preoperative Care / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult