What do people talk about during reflexology? Analysis of worries and concerns expressed during sessions for patients with multiple sclerosis

Peter A. Mackereth, Katie Booth, Valerie F. Hillier, Ann Louise Caress

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Our previous study evaluated the use of reflexology compared to progressive muscular relaxation in improving the psychological and physical profile associated with multiple sclerosis. In this paper audiotapes from the reflexology sessions have been analysed to give a picture of the nature of interaction between patients and therapists during treatment. Methods: A crossover design with two groups was chosen. Each participant received six sessions of both interventions. All reflexology sessions were recorded and the tapes transcribed and analysed. Results: Analysis of the available audiotapes (n = 245) revealed that reflexology provided opportunities for 48 out of the 50 participants to share worries and concerns. Recurring disclosure themes related to physical symptoms and treatment, psychological concerns, home/family worries, and work/leisure issues. Explorative analysis revealed some differences in the amount of disclosure over the weeks, between for example the participant's type of MS and time living with the diagnosis. Conclusions: Reflexology appears to have created a space for patients to talk about their worries and concerns, and to receive advice and support from the nurse therapists. This work contributes to the debate about the role of the therapeutic relationship within reflexology practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-90
Number of pages6
JournalComplementary Therapies in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
Early online date13 Jan 2009
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009
Externally publishedYes


Cite this