Reflexology and Depression

Effect of self-foot reflexology massage on depression, stress responses and immune functions of middle aged women

Lee YM.
Department of Nursing, Inje University, Busan, Korea



This study was aimed to identify the effects of a self-foot reflexology massage on depression, stress responses and functions of the immune system of middle-aged women.


This study was a one group pretest-posttest experimental design and the data was collected from August 1st, 2004 to May 31st, 2005. The subjects consisted of 46 middle-aged women (40 – 64 years) who were recruited from the Community Health Center in Busan city. Subjects were not treated for 4 weeks, subsequently they were trained in self foot reflexology massage for 2 weeks, and then they did their own daily for 6 weeks (2 days at the research center, 5 days at home). The outcome variables were measured 4 times, at baseline, pre training, after training, and after the intervention. The collected data was analyzed using repeated measure ANOVA by the SPSS/WIN program.


There was a statistically significant difference in depression, perceived stress, systolic blood pressure, natural-killer cells and Ig G. However, there was not a statistically significant difference in diastolic blood pressure, pulse or serum cortisol.


These results suggest that a self-foot reflexology massage could be utilized as an effective nursing intervention to reduce depression and stress responses, and to strengthen immune systems in middle-aged women.

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