People, who used reflexology as a method of pain relief, felt about 40 percent less pain, and were able to stand it for about 45 percent longer, the researchers said.
Participants attended two sessions, in one of the sessions they were given reflexology before they submerged their hand, and in the other session they believed that they were receiving pain relief from a Tens machine, which was not actually switched on.
The researchers found that when participants received reflexology prior to the session they were able to keep their hand in the ice water for longer before feeling pain, and that they could also tolerate the pain for a longer period of time.
Dr Carol Samuel, who is a trained reflexologist and who carried out the experimental procedures as part of her PhD studies, said that that it is likely that reflexology works in a similar manner to acupuncture by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals, the Independent reported.
The study has been published in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice.