Chulalongkorn Medical Journal


Background: Foot reflexology has been re-emerging as one of the most popular forms of alternative therapy.Although the mechanisms of reflexology have not been apparently understood yet, physiological changes can be found from reflexology, e.g., reduced blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and activated brain functions.However, there are still only a small number of studies on the physiological relationships between foot reflexology and changes in blood flow. Objectives: This investigation aimed to study the effects of brain-associated and kidney-associated foot reflexology on blood flow to the brain and kidneys. The second objective was to examine the effects of pressure differences to reflex points on blood flow to the brain and kidneys. Methods: Fifty participants were divided into 2 groups, including an experimental group (n = 25) and a control group (n = 25). Brain and kidney reflex points were pressed until found maximum resistance in the experimental group or lightly touched in the control group. Peak systolic velocity to the brain and kidneys was monitored by Doppler ultrasound, both during and after reflexology. Results: For the brain, blood flow rate during brain-associated reflexology was significantly higher than that of kidney-associated reflexology in the experimental group (P < 0.05). Also, blood flow rate to the brain in the experimental group was significantly higher than that of the control group (P < 0.05). For the kidneys, only the blood flow rate during kidney-associated reflexology was significantly higher than that of brain-associated reflexology at the right foot (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Brain-associated and kidney-associated foot reflexology could increase blood flow to the corresponding organs in that zone.



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