Say the word migraine and most migraineurs will reflexively cringe in remembered pain, their last headache still vivid in their memory. Say the word reflexology to them and you will likely get a blank stare. A recent (2006) study in Denmark indicates that migraineurs who get more familiar with reflexology are less likely to cringe reflexively at the mention of migraines.
What is reflexology?
Reflexology is a massage technique based on the idea that every part of the human body has a corresponding point on the sole of the foot. Reflexologists believe that massage and stimulation of these points on the foot can relieve tension, pain, and stress in the corresponding parts of the body.
In the Danish study involved a mix of migraineurs and people experiencing chronic tension headaches. Approximately 90% of the people who participated in the study admitted to taking prescribed medication in the month prior to the study specifically for their headaches. After the study, 19% of participants said they were able to stop taking medication for their headaches thanks to the treatment.
The study involved a course of six to eight treatments with monthly follow-up treatments thereafter for a period of six months. At the conclusion of the six months 23% of the study participants said they were completely cured and no longer having headaches. Fifty-five percent of the participants noted marked improvement in their condition—headaches were less frequent and less severe. A remarkable 78% of the study participants saw an improvement in their condition.
At a follow-up check three months after the conclusion of the study 23% of the migraineurs stated they were cured. About 41% said they felt their quality of life was improved.
The treatments were most effective on younger patients and those who had been experiencing migraines for a shorter period of time.