DEMENTIA


DEMENTIA

DEMENTIA


The Clinical Efficacy of Reflexology in Nursing Home : Residents with Dementia
THE JOURNAL OF ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
Volume 14, Number 3, 2008,
© Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.
NANCY A. HODGSON, Ph.D., R.N.,
and SUSAN ANDERSEN, B.S., C.H.E.S.

Objective:
This experimental, repeated-measures, crossover design study with nursing home residents ex-
amined the efficacy of reflexology in individuals with mild-to-moderate stage dementia. Specifically, the study
tested whether a weekly reflexology intervention contributed to the resident outcomes of reduced physiologic
distress, reduced pain, and improved affect.
Setting:
The study was conducted at a large nursing home in suburban Philadelphia.
Sample:
The sample included 21 nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate stage dementia randomly
assigned to two groups.
Interventions:
The first group received 4 weeks of weekly reflexology treatments followed by 4 weeks of
a control condition of friendly visits. The second group received 4 weeks of friendly visits followed by 4 weeks
of weekly reflexology.
Outcome measures:
The primary efficacy endpoint was reduction of physiologic distress as measured by
salivary
-amylase. The secondary outcomes were observed pain (Checklist of Nonverbal Pain Indicators) and
observed affect (Apparent Affect Rating Scale).
Results:
The findings demonstrate that when receiving the reflexology treatment condition, as compared to
the control condition, the residents demonstrated significant reduction in observed pain and salivary
- amy-lase. No adverse events were recorded during the study period.
Conclusions:
This study provides preliminary support for the efficacy of reflexology as a treatment of stress
in nursing home residents with mild-to-moderate stage dementia.