Another study completed by Dr. Jesus Manzanares of Spain, sheds hope on people living with senile dementia. The full results of foot reflexology’s effects on cognitive performance in this population will be published soon in the Journal of Alternative Therapies.
Dementia is defined as a syndrome (a collection of symptoms) that points to a decrease in intellectual functioning that interferes with normal daily activities. Personality changes include memory loss (beyond what may be expected with aging), difficulties with perception, judgment and/or reasoning, and loss of emotional and/or behavioral control. Senile dementia defines the condition in people over the age of 65.
Dementia results from the death of nerve cells in the brain or the decline of communication between those nerve cells.
Dr. Manzanares employed the industry-accepted Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) protocol to study the effects of foot reflexology on 72 adult patients clinically diagnosed with dementia. All participants submitted to the MMSE before and after each treatment. Initial scores were 12 or less. (A score of 12 or less confirms dementia.)
The volunteers were divided into three groups:
Group 1 – the control group – 20 received general body massage.
Group II – 28 people received foot reflexology directed to the reflexes of the lungs, heart, carotid and vertebral arteries.
Group III – 14 volunteers received reflexology in the pelvic area of the foot.
Only Group II showed significant improvement after eight treatments, with increased blood flow and neural connections indicated. Scores rose to above 22 in this group. (A score between 12 and 24 suspects dementia; above 24 rules it out.) General reflexology was not shown to be useful.
Watch future issues of the Journal of Alternative Therapies for the entire study. And, once again, thank you Dr. Manzanares for raising the credibility of reflexology’s healing potential.
Based on your understanding of how reflexology affects the human body, why do you think this study improved the participants’ cognitive ability?