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Reflexology Could Help Boost Cardiac Output

Update Date: Jul 15, 2012 10:57 AM EDT

A study claims that undergoing reflexology can significantly improve bodily functions. Reflexology, an alternative medicine that involves application of pressure to different parts of the body including hands, feet and ears, is believe to improve blood flow in organs of the body, thereby improving strength and functionality of the organs, practitioners believe.

Heart function is also believed to be better as a result of pressure applied somewhere close to the ball of the left feet.

Researchers from Stirling University in Scotland have recently conducted a study on volunteers who underwent reflexology at  of the heart point. The research results revealed that the volunteers displayed a "subtle" improvement in their cardiac output. An improved efficiency in the pumping of the blood was noted in the volunteers.

However, when the volunteers were given a sham treatment at the heel of the foot, no change in the cardiac function was observed.

Jenny Jones, a PhD student, said the finding was "intriguing", adding: "We have no idea what caused this change," reported the Telegraph.

However, the change in the volunteers could be seen only during the treatment and went away within of second of stopping the treatment, noted Jones.

Also, there also was no effect of the treatment in either the heart rate or the blood pressure of the volunteers and added that the study is "not clinically relevant".

There have been two separate studies previously which have claimed that reflexology is safe and effective for patients with chronic heart failure and coronary artery disease. Yet, in case of the volunteers in the current study, reflexology did not show any effect on their cardiac output.

According to reflexologists, the treatment, which costs up to £400 for single course (six to eight sessions) shows its effect cumulatively. But the researchers at the Stirling University want to test this belief.

Edzard Ernst, emeritus professor of complementary therapy at Exeter University, said the effect was "very small, not clinically relevant and probably a fluke due to multiple testing for statistical significance," according to the Telegraph.

"Before I believe these results, I want to see an independent replication," he added.

The study was reported in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice

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