Background: Limited studies have examined the effect of reflexology on pain and fatigue in thalassemia major patients. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of foot reflexology on pain and fatigue in patients with major thalassemia.
Methods: In this double-blinded randomized controlled trial, 90 patients were assigned into 3 groups equally (reflexology, touch, and control) by the minimization method. The reflexology group received an entire foot massage three times a week, for 2 weeks, for 10-15 minutes. No intervention applied in the control group, and in touch group touching was applied with the same pattern as the intervention group. The pain and fatigue score was measured before, immediately and 2 weeks after the intervention on the NRS and FSS scales respectively. Data was analyzed by SPSS version 22, using Chi-square, Fisher Exact, Mann-Whitney U, repeated measure ANOVA tests and statistically modeling at a significance level of 0.05.
Results: There were no significant differences between the groups regarding demographic characteristics. On the reflexology and touch group, the mean score of the pain and fatigue decreased significantly (p=0.001) both at the immediate measurement and two weeks after the intervention. In intergroup comparison, the pain score in the reflexology group was significantly lower than in the two other groups. But the fatigue scores did not make any significant changes.
Conclusion: Reflexology could be used safely in management of pain in major thalassemia patients; but it could not reduce the patients' fatigue.