NIH Grant Findings


By Barbara A. Brower


Nationally Certified Reflexologist


Lead Reflexologist for Michigan State University


National Institutes of Health $3.1 Million Grant (2005-2011)


April 29th, Friday 2011

Data findings were disclosed to all those involved with the grant

over the past 5 years at a day long conference held at Michigan State

University, Kellogg Center, East Lansing, Michigan.

On May 17th, I met with Dr. Wyatt, Principle Investigator and Dr. Alla Sikorskii,

Co-Investigator and statistician.

In the 5 year study, 451 women with advanced breast cancer on chemotherapy agreed to participate,

and 385 provided complete data. Of these 385, 146 women were assigned to reflexology, and

141 women were able to complete their sessions with

Reflexology. Patients received 4 sessions of Reflexology, 4 weeks in a row.

One hundred and forty three (143) women received manipulation of the feet that was designed to be

similar to reflexology, but delivered by lay people. Finally, 96 women were in the control group.

Data were collected over 12 weeks.

The reflexology protocol was composed of 9 steps. The sessions were held to 15 minutes per foot

with 5 minutes of introduction and closure. The time frame was originally set by the Principle investigator.

I was asked to create a protocol for these women with those parameters. The goal of this

study was to improve quality of life for this fragile population of late stage 3 & 4 breast cancer patients

who were on chemotherapy treatment.

My contribution as the Lead Reflexologist was to create a protocol that would relieve

the symptoms of chemotherapy; thus improving the quality of life for the patient.

On a scale of 0-100, Reflexology improved physical function by 5 points, or about 10% compared to

the control group. This improvement is substantial and reflects better ability to walk, carry groceries,

climb stairs etc. This improvement in physical function resulted from the reduction in difficulty

breathing from having received reflexology. Women in the reflexology group had less trouble breathing

compared to women in the control group, and also compared to women who received lay foot


Not one patient had a negative side effect from receiving Reflexology. This is a very important finding,

especially in this fragile population.

The 3 things this grant has established for Reflexology are:

1) Safety

2) Feasibility, and

3) Efficacy

Many studies in the past did not have a control group. This study was the first high quality (robust) study done with 2 comparative

groups. It has established that Reflexology used in conjunction with standard medical care is beneficial to the patient.

This is a huge addition to the science of Reflexology! And….grant number 2 is ready to begin!

The National Institutes of Health has awarded Michigan State University a second grant because of these statistics.


Michigan State University also announced April 29th, 2011, the acquisition of a second NIH grant of comparable size will begin

in the next few months for Reflexology.

The second grant will utilize the Reflexologists at each site to train the primary caregivers in the same 9 step protocol to be

administered to their friend or family member. This time the primary caregiver is allowed to perform the 9 step

protocol as often in the week as they would like, as long as they complete the 9 steps.


This National recognition has established Reflexology in the medical community as safe and effective. I am very honored to

have made a contribution in my field to see the return of Reflexology to hospitals where it first started in our country

in the early 1900’s, with Dr. William Fitzgerald, M.D.

In Michigan, two very prestigious and progressive hospitals,

William Beaumont in Royal Oak, and St. John Hospital in

Grosse Pointe, have invited our Clinical Reflexology Training to their on-site schools.

With ‘Centers for Integrative Medicine’ on-site at these hospitals, patients have the support of a variety of holistic therapies for

enhancing their recovery. Hospital nursing staff suggest to patients the list of services available at the patient bedside. Patients

cover fees for services.

Doctors at these hospitals are informed by the Integrative Health Directors of the various modalities offered. Doctors have

agreed, if you were trained on-site at their school, practitioners are given an open door policy to their patients, knowing they

will ‘do no harm’.

This is our new health care evolving, and for Reflexology this is just the beginning!

Thank you.


Barbara A. Brower,

Nationally Certified Reflexologist

Lead Reflexologist, MSU Study

Available as a speaker to groups

and/or associations interested in a more personal

and comprehensive overview of the 5 year study.

She can be reached at:

Barbara A. Brower

Branch Reflexology Institute, LLC

1745 Hamilton Rd., Suite 310

Okemos, MI 48864


“One of my personal goals is to take the Clinical Reflexology training

to hospitals across America”

Barbara Brower

January 4, 2014