Research

There has recently been some research done at the University of Portsmouth on how reflexology can help with pain, please see the following link to this research:

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, Volume 19, Issue 2 , Pages 57-62, May 2013

Research has been done by the BRA (British Reflexology Assocation) on The Effects of Reflexology on Irritable Bowel Syndrome, 

Arcuate artery of kidney.... Sudmeier et al, Forschende, Komplementarmedizin, 1999, Germany
Changes of renal blood flow during organ-associated foot reflexology measured by colour Doppler sonography.
a. Method: Randomised controlled trial
b. Intervention Reflexology to the RHS kidney point
c. Control: Reflexology to eyes, ears and nose reflexes
d. Numbers: 32 healthy volunteers
e. Measure: Colour Doppler scan of arcuate artery
f. Results: The resistive index is highly significantly different in the treated group when comparing the time points of 'before' versus 'during' Reflexology massage (p<-0.001).  This study demonstrated that Reflexology 'helped reduce the resistive index in the kidney'.  Increase in the blood flow was very low but a very significant outcome nonetheless.

fMRI Studies
Functional magnetic resonance imaging 
provides a functional active view of the brain in real time.  Somatotopical relationships between cortical activity, reflex areas in reflexology: A functional magnetic resonance imaging study, Neuroscience Letters 2008) T Nakamaru, N. Miura, A Fukushima, R Kawashima, Volume 448, Issue 1, 19 December 2008, Pages 6-9.
a. Method: Randomised to group
b. Numbers: 25 healthy volunteers
c. Intervention: Reflexology
d. Control: Stimulation of reflex points in 3 different anatomically distinct areas: Shoulder, eye, intestines.
e. Measure: fMRI scan
f. Results: The sensory stimulation was measured by locating a region of interest as a peak in the haemodynamic response that appeared.  If there is stimulation of the left hand side (LHS) foot eye reflexology point or small intestine reflex point, the area of the brain that is responsive to the tactile (touch) stimulation of the eye or trunk responds in the left brain.  This finding agrees with reflexology point of view that LHS stimulation results in LHS activation.  Other parts of the research were not conclusive.

Cancer and Quality of Life (QoL)
Does Reflexology impact on cancer patients' quality of life? Hodgeson, Nursing Standard, London, UK 2000

a. Method: Randomised controlled trial
b. Intervention: 40 min Reflexology treatment x 3
c. Control: Gentle massage not stimulating reflexology points
d. Numbers: 12 Palliative care patients
e. Measure: QoL measurement (Holmes and Dickenson)
f. Results: On the individual components of the QoL measure, only breathing was significant at p=0.026.  Constipation was almost significant at p=0.056.  Overall difference between the groups was highly significant at p=0.004.  100% of the Reflexology group reported improvement in QoL.  Placebo group: 33% improvement, 33% no change, 33% deterioration.  Reflexology impacted on QoL, of both psychological and phycal levels.