Reflexology Research Grant: Michigan State University
by Barbara Brower

In 2005 the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded Michigan State University (MSU Kellogg Center, East Lansing, Michigan) a grant for $3.1 million to study“The Effects Of msu logoReflexology On Women With Breast Cancer Undergoing Chemotherapy.” It was the largest and the first federally funded grant in the USA for reflexology. The results of the 5-year study (2005-2010) were published in Spring 2011.

Principal Investigator
Gwen Wyatt, RN, Ph.D., is a professor and served as the principal investigator of the study for the College of Nursing, at Michigan State University. Gwen had wonderful results with reflexology to facilitate the healing of a broken tibia bone that had refused to mend using allopathic treatment options. Able to see and feel the benefits of reflexology first hand; she was led to explore the benefits of reflexology in her own field of nursing care for breast cancer. Michigan State University and Dr. Gwen Wyatt partnered with Branch Reflexology Institute for the study. Gwen has previously addressed the RAA conference in 2008 in Portland, Maine, where she explained the anatomy of research.

Traditional Medicine and Holistic Therapies
In grant writing and the study, our challenge was to blend the knowledge of traditional allopathic medicine and the holistic [modality] of reflexology. This involved learning to fit in the academic realm and adapting the grant to what was scientifically required by academia. Protocol design had to be based on a clear understanding of our goal and hopefully the outcome of the study would support this. The goal of the study was to determine if reflexology could improve the quality of life for women with breast cancer who were undergoing chemotherapy. Read more about this study, including its exciting results.

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