Reflexology and meditative practices for symptom management among people with cancer: Results from a sequential multiple assignment randomized trial

Gwen Wyatt*, Rebecca Lehto, Pratim Guha-Niyogi, Sarah Brewer, David Victorson, Thaddeus Pace, Terry Badger, Alla Sikorskii

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Optimal sequencing of complementary therapies can help improve symptom management through nonpharmacological approaches. A 12-week sequential multiple assignment randomized trial comparing home-based reflexology and meditative practices on severity of fatigue and other symptoms was conducted among patients with cancer and their informal caregivers. Dyads were initially randomized to reflexology (N = 150), meditative practices (N = 150), or control (N = 47). If patient's fatigue did not improve (nonresponse) after 4 weeks of reflexology or meditative practices, the dyad was rerandomized to either add the other therapy or continue with the original therapy for weeks 5–8. Four decision rules (DRs) were compared: (1) Initiating reflexology, and if nonresponse on fatigue after 4 weeks, continue with reflexology for another 4 weeks, thus providing a higher dose; (2) Initiating reflexology, and if nonresponse on fatigue after 4 weeks, add meditative practices for the next 4 weeks; (3) Initiating meditative practices, and if nonresponse on fatigue after 4 weeks, continue meditative practices for another 4 weeks, thus providing a higher dose; and (4) Initiating meditative practices, and if nonresponse on fatigue after 4 weeks, add reflexology for the next 4 weeks. Symptoms were evaluated weekly using the M.D. Anderson Symptom Inventory (MDASI). Clinically, nurses can recommend either therapy since no differences were found among the 4 DRs, with the exception of lower severity for summed MDASI symptoms at week 8 for the use of reflexology only (DR-1) versus DR-2 (sequencing reflexology to meditative practices). Adding the other therapy for nonresponders after 4 weeks may not be warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)796-810
Number of pages15
JournalResearch in Nursing and Health
Volume44
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Keywords

  • SMART design
  • cancer
  • caregivers
  • meditative practices
  • reflexology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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