Research

Foot reflexology to improve sleep quality, research says

A study, published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, states that foot reflexology is more effective than back massage in improving the quality of sleep. The researchers evaluated the efficacy of foot reflexology in improving sleep quality and reducing fatigue in individuals that require hemodialysis treatments.

Hemodialysis is a process of filtering wastes from the blood and purifying it. It is required for the people suffering from kidney problems since their kidneys can’t function normally. The treatment often causes side effects which include fatigue and poor sleep quality.

The respective research addresses these health problems. The authors of the study examined the effectiveness of natural remedies in alleviating sleep disorders and fatigue. Foot reflexology is one of them!

The study employed 105 volunteers and continued for about four weeks. All of the participants were registered at a private clinic for hemodialysis. The patients attended foot reflexology and back massage sessions two times a week.

The scientists utilized the Visual Analogue Scale for Fatigue (VASF) and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) for collecting data. The PSQI is a self-rated questionnaire. It evaluates the quality of sleep and disturbances over the span of one month. The questionnaire comprises of 19 individual items that generate seven “component” scores,

  • Subjective sleep quality
  • Sleep latency
  • Sleep duration
  • Habitual sleep efficiency
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Use of sleeping medication
  • Daytime dysfunction

The cumulative score of the seven components determines the global score.
The researchers analyzed the pretest and posttest score averages of the patients on the VASF and PSQI. They reported “statistically significant” differences between these scores.

The results of the study showed that both foot reflexology and back massage improved the condition of hemodialysis patients. However, the difference between the scores determined that foot reflexology is a more effective method for easing fatigue and improving the sleep quality among the subjects.

Feet are most of the time, the most ignored body part. Like the rest of your body, they must be attended too. As they bear almost all the weight of the body, our feet need as much care as any other body part.

Foot reflexology is an ancient medicinal practice that serves as a form of alternative medicine for our feet. It targets the reflex points on the feet that correspond to the different organs and glands in our body. A session of foot reflexology is followed by applying pressure to the reflex points on your feet to promote good health.

It offers the following benefits,

It alleviates swelling/edema. Pregnant women often experience the effects of edema during the last trimester. They retain fluid within their feet and ankles which eventually swell. Foot reflexology can potentially help alleviate the symptoms of edema in such women.

Also it can improve your mood and prevent depression. Targeting certain points on the feet can also help to reduce the symptoms of depression. Foot reflexology or massaging specific target points for several few minutes twice or thrice a day may help improve your mood.

Foot reflexology prevents foot problems. It stimulates the muscles, reduces stiffness, and relieves pain in the ankles or heels. Moreover, it can promote relaxation. It soothes and relieves your feet, especially if you’ve been active for a long time.

It can relieve body pains, address aches and pains including headaches, migraines, neck pain, and lower and upper backaches.

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