PMS or PMT stands for ‘Premenstrual Syndrome or Tension’ - it’s the combination of symptoms that some women suffer from a week or so before their period. Symptoms peak just before you come on your period but disappear during your period. Affecting both body and brain, their intensity can also vary wildly from person to person. The PMS symptoms normally include:


  • Cramps
  • Breast tenderness
  • Headaches
  • Backache
  • Bloating
  • Mood sweing
  • Mild depression
  • Changes in hair and skin

Hormone levels throughout the menstrual cycle hit highs and lows. This affects your brain and the signals it transmits to the body which can cause or contribute to PMS.  Some experts claim that lack of a brain chemical, serotonin, results in PMS, and in extreme cases, depression.  If the thyroid gland malfunctions, you can also experience PMS type symptoms.


It is believed that PMS can respond well to complementary therapy treatment


Randomized Controlled Study Of Premenstrual Symptoms
Treated with Ear, Hand, and Foot Reflexology

by Terry Oleson, Ph.D., and William S. Flocco


Objective: To determine whether reflexology therapy - the application of manual pressure to reflex points on the ears, hands, and feet that somatotopically correspond to specific areas of the body - can significantly reduce premenstrual symptoms compared to placebo treatment.


Methods: Thirty-five women who complained of previous distress with premenstrual syndrome (PMS) were randomly assigned to be treated by ear, hand, and foot reflexology or to receive placebo reflexology. All subjects completed a daily diary, which monitored 38 premenstrual symptoms on a four-point scale. Somatic and psychological indicators of premenstrual distress were recorded each day for 2 months before treatment, for 2 months during reflexology and for 2 months afterward. The reflexology sessions for both groups were provided by a trained reflexology therapist once a week for 8 weeks, and lasted 30 minutes each.


Results: Analysis of variance for repeated measures demonstrated a significantly greater decrease in premenstrual symptoms for the women given true reflexology treatment than for the women in the placebo group.


Conclusion: These clinical findings support the use of ear, hand and foot reflexology for the treatment of PMS. (Obstet Gynecol 1993; 82:906-11)



Results of study: Reflexology improves the symptoms of 46% of those suffering from PMS.

Oleson, Terry and Flocco, William, "Randomized Controlled Study of Premenstrual Symptoms Treated with Ear, Hand, and Foot Reflexology," Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 1993;82(6): 906-11


AMENORRHEA (absence of menstrual bleeding)

* Ninety-five cases of amenorrhea were divided into two groups, a foot reflex therapy treatment group of 50 and a control group of 45 with participants using traditional Chinese medicine tablets. The effective rate of the foot reflex therapy group was 96% compared to the control group rate of 33%.

Xiu-hua, Xu, "Analysis of 50 Cases of Amenorrhea Treated by Foot Reflex Therapy," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 36



DYSMENORRHEA (painful menstrual cramps)

Thirty-six cases of dysmenorrhoea showing abdominal pain during menstruation were treated with foot reflexology. Following treatment, those who were cured (showed disappearance of all conceal sometimes with no relapse in 3 months) included (a) 3 of the 4 cases experiencing dysmenorrhoea under 1 year (average: 9.4 sessions), (b) 14 of the 22 cases experiencing dysmenorrhoea from 1 to 10 years (average 13.1 sessions), (c), 7 of the 11 over 10 years (average: 17.3 sessions). Those who showed marked effectiveness (showed improvement of clinical symptoms, most of which disappear) included (a) 1 under 1 year, (b) 5 from 1 to 10 years and (c) 3 over 10 years. Those who shoed effectiveness (amelioration of symptoms, some pain) included (a) 3 from 1 to 10 years and (b) 1 over ten years. All cases showed effect (change after treatment).

Wang Jixizng, "Clinical Observation on the Treatment for 36 Cases with Dysmenorrhoea by Foot Reflexotherapy," 1998 China Reflexology Symposium Report, China Reflexology Association, Beijing, pp. 56-57

Foot reflexology was applied to 17 teenagers, 14-17 years old with a history of amenorrhea for 1 to 4 years. Foot reflexology was applied twice for thirty to forty minutes. Application to the 17 during the first menstrual cycle showed a cured rate of 3, a significant rate of 13 and an effective rate of 1. Application to the 14 during the second menstrual cycle, showed a cured rate of 6, a significant rate of 7 and an effective rate of a. Application to the 8 during a third cycle showed 8 cured, 2 significantly effected and 1 effected.

Wang Lan-xian, "Treatment of Amenorrhea by Foot Reflex Therapy during Menstruation," (19)96 Beijing International Reflexology Conference (Report), China Preventive Medical Association and the Chinese Society of Reflexology, Beijing, 1996, p. 36


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Complementary Therapists do not claim to cure , diagnose or prescribe.  Each therapy session of works on an individual basis. Many people use Complementary Therapy as a way of relaxing the mind and body and improving wellbeing.  Complementary Therapy should be used in conjunction with seeking medical advice



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