[Feet–a diagnostic tool?]

We wanted to test the specific theory behind foot reflexology. Three reflexotherapists examined 76 patients of whom they had no previous knowledge. They were to localize the patients’ problems and complaints by examination of the foot soles only; they had no other information about the patients. Each patient and the therapist graded problems related to 13 different parts of the body. Interrater agreement, measured by weighted Kappa, ranged from 0.04 to 0.22, and was significantly better than chance (p < 0.05) for six parts of the body. The overall Kappa was 0.11 (95% CI: 0.08-0.14). A score based on a detailed examination of the “colon zone” showed no significant difference between patients with many or few distal intestinal complaints. Generally, the therapists tended to score higher than the patients, thus overdiagnosing problems. The statistical agreement may be better than pure chance, but is too low to be of any clinical significance.

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