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Reflexology and Dementia




As Canada’s aging population continues to increase, so does the number of

people living with dementia and in particular, Alzheimer’s disease.


Alzheimer’s disease occurs when protein deposits clump together in the brain forming a plaque which prevents signals from being transferred between nerve cells in the brain. This causes cells to die, impedes a person’s ability to think and their memory to deteriorate.¹


Currently, Alzheimer’s disease is irreversible.

According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, this disease is not a normal part of aging.


The Research

There has been research; looking at the effect reflexology can have on the deterioration process with people with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s.


A 2008 study out of suburban Philadelphia found that nursing home patients with dementia experience a reduction in reported physiological distress, reduced pain, and improved effect after receiving weekly foot reflexology.²


In Israel, a 2013 study found that hand reflexology session helped relieve stress and thus help improve cognitive ability. Case studies from Day Care clinics in Israel also reported that hand reflexology helped people with Alzheimer’s/dementia sleep better and, prevented anxiety when used at the first signs of irritability. Finally, many caregivers also found that using hand reflexology improved their relationship with their charges.³


Hand and Foot Reflexology is available at the OIHC. Our certified therapist will cater the treatment for each person’s needs and health condition.


If you have a family member, friend or acquaintance that is afflicted with Alzheimer’s perhaps a visit to the OIHC in January may render welcome relief.


For more information about Alzheimer’s awareness month in Canada, visit: https://alzheimer.ca


1. “Alzheimer’s Disease.” Alzheimer Society of Canada, 2019, www.alzheimer.ca/en/Home/About-dementia/Alzheimers-disease.


2. Hodgson, Nancy A., and Susan Andersen. “The Clinical Efficacy of Reflexology in Nursing Home Residents with Dementia.” The Journal of

Alternative and Complementary Medicine, vol. 14, no. 3, 2008, pp. 269–275., doi:10.1089/acm.2007.0577.


3. Aviv, Oran, “Hands on Dementia.” Dorot. May 2013. Accessed 8 November 2019. http://www.reflexandmore.com/en/articles/99-dorothands- on


4. https://alzheimer.ca/sites/default/files/files/national/brochures-day-to-day/day_to_day_personal_care_e.pdf

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