No Convincing Evidence Reflexology Works, Australia
Details of the review, conducted by Dr Edzard Ernst, Director of Complementary Medicine at the Peninsula Medical School in the United Kingdom, were published in the Medical Journal of Australia.
"There is little doubt that a foot massage is pleasantly relaxing, however specific medical claims should always be supported by sound evidence," Dr Ernst said.
"In the case of reflexology, this unfortunately does not appear to be the case."
Dr Ernst searched six electronic databases and identified 217 trials related to reflexology.
After the methodological quality of the trials was assessed by two independent reviewers, all but 18 randomised controlled trials were excluded from the review.
Of these 18 remaining studies, 12 failed to show convincingly that reflexology is an effective treatment, five suggested positive effects and the direction of one result was unclear.
"The methodological quality was often poor, and sample sizes were generally low," Dr Ernst said.
"Most higher-quality trials did not generate positive findings."
Dr Ernst warned patients against using reflexology as a diagnostic tool.
"Most proponents of reflexology would argue that this method is free of risks," he said.
"However, if used as a diagnostic tool, it will generate false-positive and false-negative diagnoses. Moreover, if employed as an alternative therapy to treat serious conditions, reflexology can be life-threatening."
The Medical Journal of Australia is a publication of the Australian Medical Association.
Australian Medical Association
There are no references listed for this article.
Visit our Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Association, Australian Medical. "No Convincing Evidence Reflexology Works, Australia." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 7 Sep. 2009. Web.
26 Mar. 2017. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/163145.php>
Association, A. (2009, September 7). "No Convincing Evidence Reflexology Works, Australia." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
Contact our news editors
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please see our contact page.
Copyright Medical News Today: Excluding email/sharing services explicitly offered on this website, material published on Medical News Today may not be reproduced, or distributed without the prior written permission of Medilexicon International Ltd. Please contact us for further details.