REFLEXOLOGY may be as effective as painkillers, according to a study carried out by the University of Portsmouth.
Researchers have found that people felt about 40 per cent less pain, and were able to stand pain for about 45 per cent longer.
This is the first time this widely-used therapy has been scientifically tested as a treatment for acute pain.
It means it may be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.
Dr Carol Samuel, who is a trained reflexologist, said: ‘As we predicted, reflexology decreased pain sensations.
‘It is likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals.’
The researchers found that when people received reflexology they were able to keep their hand in a bucket of ice water for longer before they felt pain.
Reflexology is a complementary medical approach which works alongside orthodox medicine, in which pressure may be applied to any body area, commonly the feet or hands.