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Denise Millstine

, MD, Mayo Clinic

Last full review/revision Feb 2019| Content last modified Feb 2019

Reflexology is related to massage therapy. Reflexology relies on manual pressure applied to specific areas of the palm, foot, or ear. These areas are believed to correspond to different organs or body systems. Stimulation of these areas is believed to eliminate the blockage of energy responsible for pain or symptoms in the corresponding body part. (See also Overview of Integrative, Complementary, and Alternative Medicine.)

The effectiveness of reflexology has not been shown in high quality studies. It appears to be safe and is appealing because it is easily accessible in public settings, such as a group treatment room or infusion suite. Results are mixed on its effect in constipation and fibromyalgia.

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