Reflexology is a relaxing technique and involves use of pressure on specific areas of the feet and hands. Reflexology has its roots to ancient Egypt and China around 5000 years ago. It may help in getting rid of symptoms related to conventional cancer treatment including nausea, insomnia and stress. It also promotes general health and well-being. Though it is not used as an alternative treatment option for cancer it is used for short term placebo effect.

Reflexology therapists use their thumbs or forefingers to give pressure to specific areas. They assume some pressure points are connected to specific zones of the body. Reflexology may also involve stretching and movement techniques.

Some proponents of reflexology claim that it helps in treating respiratory infections, headaches, asthma, diabetes, back pain, gastrointestinal tract problems, premenstrual syndrome and skin problems. They also claim that it helps in stimulating internal organs thus restoring normal body functions and boosting blood circulation. But there is no scientific evidence to prove that reflexology cures cancer or any other disease. Some studies suggest that reflexology may be used for relaxation and pain and anxiety reduction. A decade old study showed that use of reflexology in cancer patients helped in reducing pain and anxiety for a short duration of time. It did not show any long term effect. It is advised to consult the doctor before using reflexology alongside the conventional treatment.

Uses of Reflexology

Most of the patients find reflexology sessions as relaxing. It provides temporary relief from pain and anxiety. It helps in coping with stress and anxiety and temporarily reduces the pain arising due to conventional treatment. It is used for mood upliftment and promoting a feeling of well being. It is also claimed that it can boost immune system, cure colds and bacterial infections, restore hormonal imbalance, cure infertility and digestive problems and helps in sinus and back problems. But these claims are not backed with scientific evidences.

Side effects of reflexology

Reflexology is a relaxation technique and normally does not cause any side effects but some patients may have mild and short term side effect such as nausea, fatigue, tender feet, elevated emotions or frequent urge to urinate.

Patients suffering from diabetes should avoid it or consult their doctor before using it as it may interfere with ongoing treatment. Patients having certain medical conditions such as circulatory problems of the feet, foot ulcer, gout, epilepsy, low platelet count or thyroid problems should avoid this treatment technique.