Effects of Reflexology on the Pain Intensity among Patients with Depression after Receiving Electroconvulsive Therapy: A Randomized Clinical Trial

J Caring Sci. 2021 Mar 3;10(3):129-136. doi: 10.34172/jcs.2021.007. eCollection 2021 Aug.


Introduction: High prevalence of psychiatric disorders and the high effectiveness of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) have made this treatment a useful intervention. Memory impairment, headache, and muscle pain are the most important complications after ECT. This research aimed to determine the effect of reflexology on the headache and muscle pain intensity of patients after receiving ECT. Methods: This randomized controlled trial was conducted in Razi teaching hospital of Urmia, Iran. A total of 56 patients with depression receiving ECT were randomly assigned into two equal groups of control (n=28) and intervention (n=28). In the intervention group, reflexology was performed for 20 minutes at reflex points and, in the control group, only the conventional measures were taken. Pain intensity was measured with visual analogue scale (VAS) before and 1, 6, and 24 hours after the intervention. Data were analyzed using the SPSS software version 13. Furthermore, chi-square, Mann-Whitney, Wilcoxon, and repeated-measures tests were performed. Results: The mean difference in the severity of headache and muscle pain in the intervention group was significantly reduced compared to the control group. Moreover, the results demonstrated a significant difference between the mean headache and muscle pain in the two groups after the intervention. Conclusion: The results of this study showed the positive effect of reflexology on reducing the intensity of pain in patients receiving ECT. Thus, it is recommended that nurses, health care providers, and caregivers use reflexology to reduce pain in patients with depression receiving ECT.

Keywords: Depression; Electroconvulsive therapy; Pain; Reflexology.