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 manipulation. 

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. 1) Safety

  2. 2) Feasibility, and

  3. 3) Efficacy

This 5 year study is the largest federally funded grant ever awarded to Reflexology.

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 bring awareness to the amazing health benefits

   of Reflexology for everyone.”   Barbara A. Brower

revised 2-22-2013

All materials copyrighted by Branch Reflexology Institute, LLC © 2011

THE PROTOCOL - This protocol and frequency was selected by Barbara A. Brower after consulting with Dr. Gwen Wyatt on the goals of the study.  Barbara was asked to provide a protocol for women with breast cancer undergoing chemotherapy to aid in quality of life during patient treatment. Barbara has been in a full time reflexology practice for over 31 years.  This protocol was selected within scientific parameters.

If you would like to know more about how the protocol was selected Barbara is available for lecture and speaking engagements.