Reflexology and Irritable Bowel Syndrome

Reflexology has at times been utilized to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. It's claimed to relieve the abdominal discomfort and/or constipation ...


Reflexology has at times been utilized to treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome or IBS. It’s claimed to relieve the abdominal discomfort and/or constipation that is associated with IBS. IBS sufferers often gravitate toward alternative methods of treatment because standard medicine has some difficulty treating it with traditional methods. It is also one of the more frequently diagnosed afflictions among gastroenterologists. With so many people suufering from IBS and very little success in treating it with traditional medicine it is no wonder people move toward alternative methods of treatment. Reflexology is one of those treatments. But, does it work?

A small study was done in 2002 by Dr. Philip Tovey at the School of Healthcare Studies at University of Leeds and published in the British Journal of General Practice. The study looked at reflexology as a treament for Irritable Bowel Syndrome. It covered 34 patients all of whom suffered from IBS. The control group received a non-reflexology foot massage while the study group received a reflexology foot massage.

Three symptoms were monitored including abdominal pain, constipation / diarrhoea, and abdominal distention. The study found no statistically significant difference between the two study groups meaning that the reflexology based foot massage showed no meaningful difference from the regular foot massage.

While this seems to show that reflexology isnot useful in treating IBS the researchers warned that is was a small study and recommended that more study be done with a larger patient base as well professional reflexology practitioners.

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