Pauline Thompson: Study on the effect of VRT on Pain and Mobility 2005

Having completed training in the Lynne Booth method of Vertical Reflexology, I felt that I would like to test out for myself some of the claims made about its success. I asked for volunteers and the following is an account of how Vertical Reflexology can help to reduce symptoms, particularly those relating to muscular-skeletal problems.

– Pauline Thompson Spring 2005


There were seven participants to the study. All participants were offered 4 treatments, on a weekly basis and were given advice on how to use techniques at home. Each participant was asked to measure his or her symptoms on a scale of 1 to 10 – ten being the most severe.

GL is a 46-year-old male who has had neck and back problems for several years following two car accidents. He has undergone surgery for prolapsed discs on two occasions and suffered from foot drop after the last operation that took place around 3 years ago. At that time, he underwent regular, standard reflexology treatments and his surgeon commented on how well he progressed. The foot drop improved over time – the medical team who had advised that this would not be a condition that could be improved upon did not expect this.

Due to difficulty fitting treatments in, GL let his treatments lapse but decided to take part in the study to try and alleviate neck and lower back pain. GL underwent the initial 4 treatments and continues to have treatments every 3 weeks or so to maintain the improvements.

At the beginning of the treatment, GL estimated his pain levels as 8 (neck) and 6 (lower back) and he had limited movement in his neck. After the treatment, he stated that he felt an immediate “freeing” of his neck and added that he “felt in a really good mood for the rest of the day. He felt that the benefits of the treatment lasted nearly all week. At the second treatment, he commented that he had a noticeable increase in movement in his neck. At the end of the study, he estimated his pain levels to be 3 (neck) and 2 (back)

PS is a woman in her fifties who was suffering severe sinusitis and estimated the levels of discomfort as 8-9. Following the first treatment she noticed that her nose was streaming for around two days and felt that her estimated discomfort could now be placed at a 5. She used the home techniques as advised and found that these also helped. She commented that she found the treatments “relaxing”

FT is a woman in her fifties who was experiencing sleeping difficulties and pain in her neck. She estimated her pain levels at a 6. FT found that her pain levels continued to progressively fall over the four treatments. There was no sudden improvement but rather, a steady slow progress. At the end of the study, she felt that her “whole body felt lots better and she found the actual treatments extremely therapeutic and she was now “sleeping well”. She believes that the treatments gave her a “feeling of well being”. At the end of the study, she estimated her pain levels to be 3 – 4.

RY is in her sixties and has had spondylosis of the neck for 3 – 4 years. She also suffers from sciatica periodically but the treatment focussed on neck area as sciatica was not causing specific problems at the time of the treatments. RY estimated her pain levels as 7. Immediately following the first treatment, she stated that her neck felt less tight and put her pain level at a 4. Due to a higher workload, the neck pain increased in between the first and second treatment and it was estimated as a 9. RY also attended a physiotherapy appointment in between week 2 and 3 and estimated that the pain had reduced to a 4. At the end of the four treatments pain was said to be a 2. RY commented that she enjoyed reflexology more when she was lying down but did find the treatments beneficial.

VS is a woman in her early thirties who was complaining of feelings of low mood, hormonal problems (irregular periods) and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She estimated the level of hormonal/mood problems as 7 and IBS as a 7. After the first treatment, she experienced a possible healing crisis and was ill, missing the next appointment due to not being at work. Therefore, she only had three treatments. At the end of the three treatments, she informed me that having the treatments had heightened her awareness of her problems and she had visited a specialist and been diagnosed with ovarian cysts. She had been away for the weekend and had been dreading it as her IBS caused her more problems when she was away from home, however she had felt wonderful and estimated her current problems relating to IBS and mood as a 1 – 2.

JP is a woman in her fifties who experiences severe neck problems, which are exacerbated by working on the computer. At the outset of the treatment, her neck pain was estimated as a 4. At the end of the four treatments JP reported that her neck felt much better and she attributed the improvement to the reflexology, estimating her neck pain as a 2.

KB is a woman in her early forties who suffers from mild neck pain at her initial visit; she estimated the discomfort as a 2-3. After the first treatment she noticed that the pain had totally gone and she had a much greater freedom of movement. In between the first and second treatment, she was involved in a car accident, which left her with whiplash, and she estimated the pain as a 5. She stated that after the second treatment there was a “vast improvement in the pain she had been experiencing due to the car accident. At the end of the four treatments, she estimated that her pain levels were at a 1 and added that it was no longer problematic. She described the discomfort as being aware of a slight stiffness, rather than pain.

After the study
Current clients are reporting a great improvement in conditions after having had Vertical Reflexology and then a treatment of standard reflexology. One client in particular (PN), an arthritis sufferer, who estimated her pain at a 9, (6-7 on good days), experienced vast improvements in neck pain from the first treatment – the pain was then estimated as a 2-3. Her back pain also reduced and was estimated as a 4 – 5. Steady improvement was made over the following 5 treatments and she now estimates the pain as a 0 (neck) and a 3 (back). She is currently maintaining the improvements by having fortnightly “top up” treatments and is feeling much more mobile, even after undergoing periods of strain when she would have expected to suffer increased pain.


Seven people had 4 vertical reflexology treatments on a weekly basis. A more detailed report is available on request.

GLLong term back and neck problemsNeck – 8
Lower back – 6
Felt immediate increase in movementNeck – 3
Back – 2
PTSinusitis8 – 9Felt improvement immediately3
FTNeck pain
Sleep problems
Neck – 6Sleeping well. General well being increased3 – 4
RYSpondylosis (neck)7Found treatments to be beneficial2
Low Mood
Felt “wonderful” and couldn’t believe the difference1 – 2
JPNeck pain4“Neck feels much better, feel the reflexology is helping”2
KBNeck pain
Following car accident
2 – 3
Not problematic1