An exploration of the effects of reflexology on chronic stress in adults.
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Abstract Background: Chronic stress and its detrimental effects on human health, disease and predisposition of mental illness are being increasingly recognised worldwide. Currently, there is no evidence that explores the stress-reduction effect of reflexology in those who are experiencing chronic of stress, using both psychological and biological measures. It is with this rationale, that this study sets out to explore the stress reduction effect of reflexology, and whether it can help to either maintain or lower cortisol secretion levels in those who are experiencing chronic stress. Research question: Can reflexology help to either maintain or lower cortisol secretion levels in adults experiencing chronic stress? Method: Using a Single Subject Experimental Design (SSED) to allow participants to act as their own controls, the study used a one week baseline (A1), four week intervention phase (B) and a two week follow up phase (A2) to determine any long-term effects. The study used a mixed method approach of data collection with psychological and biochemical measures to evaluate the effect of reflexology on chronic stress Results: Findings of this study showed a promising improvement in perceived stress levels, correlating with a positive change in ‘high stress levels’ data of the MYMOP. There was a small decrease in cortisol secretion levels within the normal ranges when comparing baseline to post-intervention phase. No long-term decrease of salivary cortisol levels was found at follow-up. Conclusion: To further understand the effect of Reflexology on chronic stress, future studies should recruit bigger sample sizes to offer further validity to their findings and include a range of biological outcome measures (inclusive of salivary cortisol) to further understand the mechanism by which reflexology has a stress-reduction effect.
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