Kavanagh, K. (2020). How long can they stand it? Examining the effectiveness of reflexology and a passive relaxation intervention in improving health outcomes in workers who stand. Unc Charlotte Electronic Theses And Dissertations.
Many jobs require workers to stand for prolonged periods of time while performing their job duties. Prolonged standing at work has been linked to negative health outcomes, particularly musculoskeletal symptoms (MSS) and fatigue. Reflexology is one type of complementary and alternative medicine technique that may be well-suited to reduce musculoskeletal symptoms, fatigue, stress, and anxiety in workers who stand for prolonged amounts of time, because it involves stimulating reflex points on the feet that are purported to correspond to different bodily parts, increase relaxation, and reduce stress. Additionally, general relaxation techniques applied to the feet and lower leg, combined with passive relaxation time, may also provide some relief. In the current repeated measures, multilevel study, participants are randomized to either a reflexology condition or a passive relaxation condition, and their self-reported levels of MSS, fatigue, stress, and anxiety are assessed for two weeks at pre-test, two weeks during the intervention stage, and two-weeks post-test. Multilevel analyses reveal that participants in both groups reported significant reductions in scores across all measures from pre-test through intervention, but that the decreases did not vary significantly by condition for any outcomes except anxiety. Results substantiate previous findings regarding the prevalence of negative health outcomes in standing workers, and provide support for the use of reflexology or relaxation in helping to alleviate those outcomes.