Context: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the central nervous system. In addition to the progressive nature of the disease, devastating symptoms adversely affect the patient’s daily life and future expectations. This situation leads patients to seek complementary and alternative treatments.
Objectives: This study was conducted to determine the effects of reflexology on fatigue severity and anxiety in patients with MS.
Design: The research was a quasi-experimental, pretest-posttest design.
Setting: The research was conducted at the Mavi Işıklar Rehabilitation Center of the Metropolitan Municipality of Samsun (Samsun, Turkey), in cooperation with the Faculty of Medicine’s Hospital Neurology Clinic and the Health Application and Research Center at Ondokuz Mayıs University (Samsun, Turkey), and with the Black Sea MS Association.
Participants: Participants were patients who participated in the MS Patient School program at the center and who had been diagnosed with MS at least 1 y prior to the start of the study.
Inventions: Reflexology was applied for 60 min, 30 min for each leg. Reflexology was conducted in an ergonomic and positionable bed in a special physiotherapy room within the Mavi Isiklar resting facilities.
Outcome measures: Sociodemographic data forms, a fatigue severity scale (FSS), and a state-trait anxiety inventory (STAI) were used in the data collection.
Results: Fifteen patients participated in the study. The average age of the participants was determined to be 39.20 ± 11.89 y. Before the participants received reflexology, the average FSS score was 40.06 ± 19.27; the mean (±SD) STAI-S score was 50.33 ± 9.48; and the mean (±SD) STAI-T score was 43.33 ± 9.48. The average FSS score after reflexology was 27.66 ± 21.23; the mean (±SD) STAI-S score was 37.53 ± 10.11; and the mean (±SD) STAI-T score was 31.86 ± 10.27.
Conclusions: The study indicates that reflexology can be an effective method for reducing fatigue severity and anxiety in patients with MS.