My first attempt at research was a simple data collection of a selected group of my patients. The participants were approached via a local breast cancer support group. All were consented and agreed to my keeping records of their information for the purpose of the study. All 6 ladies had been diagnosed with breast cancer all had undergone surgery and received chemotherapy. The aim of the study was to measure (marking on a 1-5 scale) the intensity of their residual post surgical pain pre and post reflexology. I offered six consecutive weekly treatments of 1 hour duration to each participant. The results showed that following a series of 6 reflexology treatments all participants recorded a lessening of their perceived level of pain. Participant themed feedback of their reflexology experience included “felt relaxed”, “totally de-stressed” and “aches and pains seemed to fade away”
From this initial study I concentrated on monitoring and collecting data over a greater length of time and many more reflexology treatments with a specific patient. I submitted this case study for publication to the International Council of Reflexologists journal. This was picked up and re-published in the Canadian Journal of Reflexology and translated in to French.
The Fortuneswell Clinical Reflexology Project began in 2014 data was collected and resulted in the paper “Measuring Patient Response to Clinical Foot Reflexology (CFR) Delivery within a UK NHS Cancer Service”. Co-Authored by Prof David Machin and published by Federation of Holistic Therapists FHT. The project also supplied me with data for an NHS Hospital Audit. During this time I also conducted annual snap-shot patient surveys to present findings at funders AGM in support of funding applications. The project paper provided evidence of the positive effect reflexology had on reducing stress levels and symptoms in cancer patients and for further investigation into the role reflexology might have in balancing the autonomic nervous system of other patient groups.
It was proposed to conduct a pilot study “Does delivery of Clinical Foot Reflexology (CFR) reduce autonomic nervous system stimulation in Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) with left ventricular systolic dysfunction (LVSD) thereby improving symptoms” This research question further developed to produce “Measuring Chronic heart Failure (CHF) Patients’ Response to Clinical Foot Reflexology (CFR) Delivery” A Randomised Controlled Pilot Study Protocol. Funding was via Health Education England and Bournemouth University were to provide academic research expertise and support, Poole Hospital were to provide the medical expertise and Cardiac Specialists. It was also a MSc leading to a PHD pathway for me. Unfortunately, after presenting a Poster Presentation at the RCCM conference at Warwick University and presenting at the AAR conference in Perth Australia the planned research collapsed. However, it is still on file at Dorset County Hospital research department and may at some time in the future be re-visited.
My work at Dorset County Hospital has provided 3,000 piece of data to date ( Dec 2018 ) it has supported successful funding applications from the Fortuneswell Charity Trust and led to the development of a training programme. Professional Clinical Reflexology PCR – The Langstone-Wring MethodTM for cancer patients from diagnosis through treatment and beyond. Supplying qualified reflexologists with the necessary skills and confidence to help not only cancer patients but patients with chronic complex health issues. The FCT has also sponsored the launch in Jan 2019 of the Fortuneswell Complementary Therapy Service at Dorset County Hospital operational Mon- Fri with Clinical Reflexology at it’s core.