A Randomized Controlled Trial Examining the Effects of Reflexology on Children With Functional Constipation

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Abstract

Functional constipation is a common problem in Turkey that affects up to 10% of children. Reflexologists claim that reflexology can be beneficial in the treatment of constipation. The aim of this randomized controlled study was to determine the effectiveness of reflexology in treating functional constipation in children. Thirty-seven children who were referred to a pediatrician with functional constipation as defined by the Rome III criteria were recruited to the study. After the physician's diagnosis, two groups (intervention/control) were created. The intervention and control groups comprised 17 and 20 children, respectively. Each child in the intervention group was given a foot massage for 10 minutes five times a week, and toilet/diet/motivation training was given to their parents. The test period lasted for 4 weeks. Toilet/diet/motivation training was undertaken for 30 minutes once per week (for a total of 4 weeks) in an interactive manner. The parents of children in the control group received equivalent toilet/diet/motivation training only. No significant differences in terms of feces frequency and feces consistency were noted between the intervention and control groups (p > .05). This study sample showed that only toilet/diet/motivation training had potential benefit for treating functional constipation in children. Further larger randomized trials are required to establish whether there are benefits to foot message in the treatment of functional constipation in children.

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