Improving Quality of Life in The Constipated Older Person: Reflexology or Abdominal Massage? A Two-Group, Randomized Comparative Trial

Gastroenterol Nurs. 2023 Nov-Dec;46(6):445-454. doi: 10.1097/SGA.0000000000000775. Epub 2023 Aug 25.


This study is a randomized comparative trial designed to determine the effects of reflexology and abdominal massage on the improvement of constipation and quality of life of older persons. Participants were randomized to the reflexology group ( n = 50) or abdominal massage group ( n = 50). Data were collected by using a descriptive information form, the Standardized Mini-Mental Test (SMMT), the Katz Daily Life Activity Scale (Katz ADL), the Constipation Severity Scale (CSS), and the Constipation Quality of Life Questionnaire (CQOLQ). The comparison of the mean scores of participants from the total CSS and the total CQOLQ before and after reflexology and abdominal massage application indicated that the mean post-intervention scores on the total CSS and the total CQOLQ decreased significantly compared with preintervention scores ( p < .05). When the mean scores of the reflexology and abdominal massage groups for the total CSS and the total CQOLQ were compared, there was no significant difference between the groups ( p < .05). Both interventions improved the constipation problem of these older persons and their quality of life. The effects of both reflexology and abdominal massage were similar in improving constipation and quality of life in older persons.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Constipation / therapy
  • Humans
  • Massage
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires