School of Nursing, University of Minnesota, MN, USA. email@example.com
Our purpose was to pilot test whether reflexology may reduce anxiety in patients undergoing Coronary Artery Bypass Graft Surgery in Iceland.
Nurses need to study the effects of complementary therapies in general and particularly those that may be beneficial to decrease patients' anxiety. It has been assumed that reflexology lessens anxiety, but research is needed to substantiate such expectations.
A pilot study using randomized design with experimental and control groups.
Nine patients were recruited and randomly assigned into groups with five patients assigned into an experimental group receiving reflexology for 30 minutes and four patients into control group which rested for 30 minutes. Anxiety and physiological variables were measured pre- and post-reflexology sessions once a day over five days.
The anxiety scores were lower for patients in the control group on all measures. Systolic blood pressure lowered significantly more in the control group than in the treatment group. No significant changes were observed for other variables. Patients' comments and responses overwhelmingly suggested increased well-being due to both experimental and control intervention.
This study showed little evidence to support reflexology as a mean of reducing anxiety in CABG patients. Several methodological problems were identified that need to be considered further.
It is suggested that reflexology should be tailored to individual needs and research methods used that allow for capturing its holistic nature. Further scholarly work is warranted to explore several methodological issues in studying complementary therapies in a highly complex treatment situation.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA. firstname.lastname@example.org
Complementary therapies (touch, music) are used as successful adjuncts in treatment of pain in chronic conditions. Little is known about their effectiveness in care of heart surgery patients. Our objective is to evaluate feasibility, safety, and impact of a complementary alternative medical therapies package for heart surgery patients.
One hundred four patients undergoing open heart surgery were prospectively randomized to receive either complementary therapy (preoperative guided imagery training with gentle touch or light massage and postoperative music with gentle touch or light massage and guided imagery) or standard care. Heart rate, systolic and diastolic blood pressure, and pain and tension were measured preoperatively and as pre-tests and post-tests during the postoperative period. Complications were abstracted from the hospital record.
Virtually all patients in the complementary therapy group (95%) and 86% in standard care completed the study. Heart rate and blood pressure patterns were similar. Decreases in heart rate and systolic blood pressure in the complementary therapies group were judged within the range of normal values. Complication rates were very low and occurred with similar frequency in both groups. Pretreatment and posttreatment pain and tension scores decreased significantly in the complementary alternative medical therapies group on postoperative days 1 (p < 0.01) and 2 (p < 0.038).
The complementary medical therapies protocol was implemented with ease in a busy critical care setting and was acceptable to the vast majority of patients studied. Complementary medical therapy was not associated with safety concerns and appeared to reduce pain and tension during early recovery from open heart surgery.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]