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Breast Cancer researchers found that reflexology helps with symptoms of breathlessness for women in advanced stage breast cancer. In addition, it is useful in helping where the illness causes fatigue or stops sufferers from doing everyday things like vacuuming, shopping, bending or climbing stairs.

Pink Ribbon supporting cancer research
Reflexology can help some symptoms suffered by those with breast cancer.

Of all women who find they have breast cancer each year, 38% have advanced-stage breast cancer. Because of the disease and its treatment, they often suffer from a range of uncomfortable symptoms. So these symptoms mean that these women have a reduced health-related quality of life (HRQOL). Medication can help many of these symptoms. But, more than 80% of sufferers turn to complementary therapies. Reflexology is often the therapy they choose.

The researchers saw that women chose other therapies to help with their symptoms. They carried the research in 2012. It was the first large study to find out if Reflexology was safe, and if it was helpful. In short, they wanted to know what symptoms it helped, and if it made the women feel better and better able to get on with aspects of their life.

One third of the women had reflexology sessions with trained Reflexologists. One third had sessions of foot massage with no reflexology, and a third had no extra treatments.


The study found reflexology was safe among even the most ill patients. In conclusion, they found the reflexology sessions contributed to improvements in physical function, breathlessness, and fatigue.

They decided that reflexology is safe and that it is useful in helping with breathlessness and improving functional status among women with advanced-stage breast cancer.

You can find the full research paper here if you would like to read more.

For information about reflexology treatment for people with cancer and other life limiting illnesses, please click here.