Researchers from the Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust in London, UK, compared the efficacy of reflexology vs. aromatherapy massage for ameliorating stated symptoms of concern in cancer patients.
Adult oncology patients in this non-blinded, randomized study were randomized to either four aromatherapy massage or four reflexology sessions. MYCaW scores were taken at baseline and completion; VAS relaxation scores were gathered pre and post-sessions.

Measuring instruments consisted of unpaired t-tests for the primary outcome; analysis of variance tests for repeated measures for VAS (relaxation); descriptive statistics (means and 95% confidence intervals) and content analysis for patient comments.

Investigators were able to recruit 115 subjects (58 aromatherapy massage, 57 reflexology). Reflexology was found to be as effective as aromatherapy massage for MYCaW first concerns (p = 0.046).
There was no statistical difference between groups for MYCaW second concerns or overall well-being scores, nor for proportions of patients gaining clinical benefit, VAS scores over time (p = 0.489) or between groups (p = 0.408) or in the written responses.

Citation: Dyer J1, Thomas K, Sandsund C, Shaw C. Is reflexology as effective as aromatherapy massage for symptom relief in an adult outpatient oncology population? Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2013 Aug;19 (3):pages 139-46. [email protected]