Article~Breast Cancer and Reflexology, by Charles Leath

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Breast Cancer and Reflexology
The Springfield Newspaper, November 4, 2009
Nov 4 Breast Cancer Patients and Reflexology, by Charles Leath, CR

When diagnosed with breast cancer, not only is your physical body totally unbalanced, but your whole world turns upside down. Anxiety, fatigue and pain become usual contenders as well as, regular visits for chemotherapy. It seems you feel much worse before getting better.

The American Cancer Society Journal found that one-third of cancer patients used reflexology as an alternative medical approach. There are benefits to reflexology that can help the patient through the whole process.

Endorphins are produced to relieve pain and stiffness. And the therapy session always leaves you calm and stress-free. It provides the feeling of wellness: definitely an emotional boost for anyone.

The College of Nursing Researchers of Michigan State University found that many women who are receiving chemotherapy while in the late stages of breast cancer are turning to a complementary therapy known as reflexology to help them cope.

Out of three complimentary therapies, “Reflexology is the one people stuck with the most during the eight-week protocol,” said Gwen Wyatt, a professor in MSU’s College of Nursing who headed the project. “It’s also the one that had the most positive outcomes.”

With reflexology, by applying firm pressure to certain parts of the soles of the foot, women adjust better to their chemotherapy treatment. “We see things like a decrease in depression and anxiety, and improvements in spirituality and emotional quality of life,” Wyatt said. “Overall, they have an improved quality of life.”

“Breast cancer can be a very difficult experience and advanced-stage disease even more so,” Wyatt said. “This study will make the treatment journey more manageable and women may want to continue it after cancer treatment to maintain a sense of well-being.”

Other researchers, such as the School of Nursing, East Carolina University found the same results. The Breast Cancer Support Services endorse the use of reflexology in assisting patients in releasing anxiety and pain, in conjunction with traditional protocols. The American College of Physicians and American Society of Internal Medicine also advocate the use of reflexology.

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