Reflexology Research

Quality clinical studies can cost a lot of money, there aren’t any large corporate interests to fund such clinical studies so research is limited and sample sizes tend to be small.

It is always interesting to read of clinical studies into reflexology and it can give those new to reflexology some assurance.  I know before I started having regular reflexology if someone had suggested that someone working on my feet would have any impact on for example back pain that I would think them a little bit odd!

Reflexology and sleep This study examines the effectiveness of using foot reflexology to improve sleep quality in postpartum women. It found that intervention involving foot reflexology significantly improved the quality of sleep.

Reflexology – a general overview This study reviewed 168 research studies and found that reflexology can have an impact on specific organs (for example kidneys), can be associated with improvement of symptoms, can create a relaxation effect  and can aid pain reduction.

They are cautious in saying (because the clinical research was weak) that reflexology may have a positive effect on type 2 diabetes and may exert a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure and incontinence and may be effective for tingling in MS.

Reflexology and back pain Research into the effect of reflexology on chronic lower backpain found that there was a significantly higher reduction in pain intensity scores in the reflexology group after the intervention as compared with the non-specific massage group.


Painful periods and reflexology – Tony Porter and Lindsay McMillan FRCOG

‘In 1994 I took a number of young women who all suffered refractory Dysmenorrhoea and complained of pain at the time of their periods. Many of these women would be hospitalised due to their extreme discomfort. All these patients had conventional treatment, such as combined oral contraceptives, non–steroidal anti–inflammatories and analgesia at the time of their periods with little or no effect on their pain.

At that time there was a theory that if one transacted the nerve fibres that run on the medial aspect of both Uterosacral ligaments this would cure the pain experienced at the time of their periods, but I had serious doubts about this.

Knowing Tony Porter could often alleviate dysmenorrhoea with reflexology, we set up a pilot trial which involved me choosing the patients and randomly selecting them for either surgery, or a course of reflexology.

By the end of 10 months, when we began to correlate the figures, it became obvious that Tony’s success in alleviating severe dysmenorrhoea in these women was in the region of 85 – 90%, whereas in surgical treatment it was less than half that figure.

It was at this point that I made the difficult decision that I could not submit women for a potentially dangerous procedure under general anaesthesia when it seemed the results were so unfavourable compared to reflexology.

‘In the management of chronic pelvic pain, reflexology is an invaluable and often essential tool. The evidence would suggest that for the treatment of common menstrual pain, reflexology is the best non-invasive, non-drug treatment’.

Lindsay McMillan FRCOG

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I had never heard of reflexology before I met Derval and naturally, I was skeptical at first. Like most alternative practices, there is little to no science that proves that reflexology can help with any ailments, but I was willing to give it a try to see how my body would react. After my first session, I felt intensely relaxed, a feeling that stayed with me for some time. I felt more relaxed and at peace after a reflexology session with Derval than I did after a (much more expensive) full-body massage. I started going back on a more regular basis for a variety of complaints and each time Derval first showered me with her incredible kindness and understanding, then suggested a variety of changes that I can make to improve my general health and well-being. I know I can go to her with any trouble or discomfort and she will first do what she is able to to relieve my pain, but also connect me with other health practitioners in the area who might be able to impact my health in a positive way. She works together with people and connects you when necessary to the right organizations.

I think that what sets Derval apart is her passion to help people. She treats each client on an individual basis and truly listens to your complaints before trying to figure out the best treatment options. She talks with you, not at you, and always follows up after a session to check how the reflexology has affected you.


I have been going to Derval for Reflexology for several years. She is not only a very capable and compassionate person but she has healing hands. She tries to help where there is pain or blockage. I always feel energized and relaxed after her treatment and sleep well that night. She knows a lot about healing. She has helped me a lot. I highly recommend her.


As a person who is not the most fond of foot treatments in general (I’m very tickle sensitive), I have found Derval’s trusting approach most helpful. I have found overall, that after my sessions I sleep much more peacefully and find myself much more relaxed overall…this has been huge for me as I struggle with stress. Key for me is to continue with the sessions to continue to benefit from Derval’s healing hands.


Your sessions were very good and helped me relax a lot. It also helped my monthly pains go away for good just after 3 sessions.


Derval has such a wide range of knowledge. Her sage advice which will help anyone get back on the right track to health. She’s also excellent at reflexology! She’s a very firm grip and can get to the acupuncture points easily.

The way your health improves is just bizarre. She can focus on areas that are causing you pain or aren’t working well and she will work on that area, until she feels satisfied that there is improvement. Her treatment has helped me in reducing my stress-related headaches/migraines, monthly pains and digestive issues. Her shared food knowledge has encouraged me to try to eat and drink much more healthily, as well as breaking bad habits. I’d highly recommend Derval.