The clinical efficacy of reflexology in nursing home residents with dementia

Nancy A. Hodgson, Susan Andersen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: This experimental, repeated-measures, crossover design study with nursing home residents examined the efficacy of reflexology in individuals with mild-to-moderate stage dementia. Specifically, the study tested whether a weekly reflexology intervention contributed to the resident outcomes of reduced physiologic distress, reduced pain, and improved affect. Setting: The study was conducted at a large nursing home in suburban Philadelphia. Sample: The sample included 21 nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate stage dementia randomly assigned to two groups. Interventions: The first group received 4 weeks of weekly reflexology treatments followed by 4 weeks of a control condition of friendly visits. The second group received 4 weeks of friendly visits followed by 4 weeks of weekly reflexology. Outcome measures: The primary efficacy endpoint was reduction of physiologic distress as measured by salivary α-amylase. The secondary outcomes were observed pain (Checklist of Nonverbal Pain Indicators) and observed affect (Apparent Affect Rating Scale). Results: The findings demonstrate that when receiving the reflexology treatment condition, as compared to the control condition, the residents demonstrated significant reduction in observed pain and salivary α-amylase. No adverse events were recorded during the study period. Conclusions: This study provides preliminary support for the efficacy of reflexology as a treatment of stress in nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate stage dementia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-275
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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