Is there research in reflexology? This is a question we’re frequently asked. Not only is there research in reflexology but there is a lot of research much of it technologically sophisticated.

We began collecting and later analyzing reflexology research in 1985 as research was reported. Our documentation of research was first reported on the Web site in 1996. Our research documentation continues today. For more information, click here.

Reflexology is more than a “feel good” service. It has therapeutic applications. It is the role of research to aid medical personnel in determining the potential application of therapies to consumers of medical services. We embarked on review and analysis of research to clarify such applications.



Toward this end research about and reports of medical applications of reflexology reported as of 1999 was reviewed and analyzed. The focus was findings in research about the safety, efficacy, mechanism of of action and cost-effectiveness of reflexology. Among reports was a survey of 153 reports of case studies and controlled studies by Chinese researchers presented at professional conferences of the China Reflexology Association, an organization that included 6,000 physicians.

Medical Applications of Reflexology, Findings in research about the safety, efficacy, mechanism of of action and cost-effectiveness of reflexology. (1999)



Medical Applications of Reflexology: Findings in Research about Safety, Efficacy, Mechanisms of Action and Cost-Effectiveness (Revised, 2003)



What does reflexology do? How does it work? What “dose” has impact on health concerns?

The answers to these questions was the goal of review of 20 years of research gathering and a year of research analysis. The resulting published work is Evidence-Based Reflexology for Reflexologists and Researchers.

Results from some 168 reflexology studies about physiological measures and 78 health concerns and are reported here. The studies were selected because abstract or full study information included an indication of how much reflexology work lead to reported results. This included information about the frequency (how often) and/or duration (how long) of technique application. They, thus, met the major goals of this work— assessing reflexology research to determine parameters for success (or failure) with reflexology technique application as well as dosing information.

Reflexology research shows that systematic patterns of pressure technique application create specific changes in the body and its health. Evidence found in research provides answers about two issues: what results can be obtained through reflexology work and how to get results with reflexology. Consequently, it is now possible to make evidence- based predictions about reflexology and dosing: the amount of reflexology work needed to achieve a specific outcome.



Medical Applications of Reflexology: Findings in Research about Post- operative Care, Maternity Care, and Cancer Care

  • The value of reflexology in a medical setting, serving as an adjunct for patients post-surgically, is demonstrated by fifteen studies conducted in eight countries. Researchers note the value of reflexology post surgically: speeding recovery time; easing pain and anxiety as well as improving quality of life.
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  • Reflexology has significant effects for women during all phases of the maternity experience: pregnancy, labor, and post partum as demonstrated by twenty-two studies from seven countries (China, Iran, Denmark, UK, Northern Ireland, Taiwan and Korea).
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  • Results from 25 cancer studies from 10 countries around the world are reported. The results show that reflexology helps cancer patients improve the physical and emotional symptoms of the cancer experience. From chemotherapy to symptom management and from post-operative care to palliative care, research demonstrate reflexology’s effectiveness at alleviating pain, relieving anxiety, easing nausea and more for cancer patients.