Effect of Foot Reflexology Protocol on Premenstrual Syndrome Symptoms in Nursing Students: a Pre–Post Pilot Study
Background: Premenstrual syndrome is a highly prevalent cyclical disorder among women of childbearing age which interferes with daily activities, mood, and quality of life.
Purpose: To evaluate the effects of a foot reflexology protocol on relieving pre-menstrual syndrome symptoms in nurs-ing students. Setting: Nursing School, São Paulo Uni-versity, Brazil.
Participants: A convenience sample of 17 nursing students, diagnosed with moderate-to-severe premenstrual syn-drome as assessed by the Premenstrual Symptoms Screening Tool (PSST).
Research design: A pre–post pilot inter-vention study.
Intervention: The intervention consist-ed of eight reflexology sessions lasting 30 minutes for eight weeks.
Main Outcome Measure: Evaluation of the participants by the PSST applied at the beginning and at the end of the study.
Results: The participants had an average age of 21.7 (±2.6) years, ranging from 19 to 28 years; all were single, and most were in the third year of the course (58.8%); 75.6% lived with their family; 82.4% do not use contraceptives; 64.7% reported regular menstrual flow with an average duration of 5.1 (±1.1) days, and an average menstrual cycle interval of 29.3 (±4.9) days. The intervention significantly reduced the premenstrual symptoms assessed by the PSST (p<.017) with a pre–post difference of 10.2 points in the overall score, and the items score decreased between 1.2 to 3.4 for difficulty concentrating, insomnia, hy-persomnia, feeling overwhelmed, muscle/joint pain, bloating, weight gain; and be-tween 3.5 to 5.2 to anger/irritability, anxiety/tension, tearful, depressed mood, de-creased interest in daily activities, fatigue, overeating, and breast tenderness. There was a significant decrease regarding the functional impact of premenstrual symp-toms domain in the overall score with a pre–post difference of 10.7, and between 1.7 and 3.0 for all of the items (p<.04), except for the item “your home responsibilities”.
Conclusion: Foot reflexology has shown promising results in reducing premen-strual syndrome symptoms.
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