Artikel uit vakblad voor de Natuurgeneeskundige 2/16

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In the Viking disease’s grip

Treatment protocol Dupuytren’s disease is a promising experiment.

More than 680.000 people in the Netherlands have Dupuytren’s disease/contracture, also better known as Viking disease. Dupuytren’s disease is a condition of the hands where the connective tissue around the tendons is enlarged, which in the end leads to a severe obstruction of handfunction. Linda van Borssum, reflexologist, by chance discovered that reflexology-therapy can have a positive and relaxing effect on this ailment.

Viking disease and Dupuytren’s disease are synonyms for fibromatosis facialis palmaris. Dupuytren’s disease is a condition of the hands where the connective tissue around the tendons is enlarged. At first, small lumps develop in the connective tissue in the palm of the hand. These lumps will start growing roots, in the process forming strands. These strands stretch out to the fingers, which makes them bend, causing the hand to make a claw. Usually this happens with the pinkie finger, ring finger and middle finger. For one patient this process will go faster than for another. Patients usually experience a restricted handfunction. Making music, sporting, DIY, work, everything that requires you to grab a hold of something can become a problem. Dupuytren’s disease manifests itself almost solely in Northern-Europeans. With men this usually happens after they’ve turned forty, for women it’s usually after they’ve turn fifty.

At the moment there are several regular medical treatments that can temporarily relieve the symptom of the claw hand, but there is absolutely no guarantee that Dupuytren’s disease does not return after these treatments. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that these treatments will be successfully completed, without damaging a tendon or sinew. On top of this, it can happen after the treatment, scar tissue causes a restricted handfunction anyway.

Linda: “During my reflexology-therapy study at Total Health, I had to practice giving treatments of different physical ailments and make treatment reports. My partner turned out to be an excellent test subject. Since 2004 he has had Dupuytren’s disease in his left and right hand and this is limiting him in the practise of his favourite hobbies. In June 2014 I have started his treatment and set up a treatment protocol.

The protocol consisted of a combination of grip- and pressure massages, making use of both western and Chinese insights and massage techniques. I massaged the feet as well as the legs. During the treatment, coaching was also an important part. After six sessions the Dupuytren’s disease on my partner’s hand were noticeably softer, and the affected area had shrunk significantly as well. After sixteen sessions, I determined that the Dupuytren’s disease on the hand was strongly diminished and the strands were going “empty”: the enlargements were smaller. With another client, who I was treating following this same protocol, the pinkie that was bent first started standing straight again. Today, I treat seventeen clients with Dupuytren’s disease. The results of this pilot are extremely promising.”

Linda: “Treating Dupuytren’s disease with reflexology is for now an experiment with positive results. I cannot guarantee a long-lasting result, because the research period is too short and the group of test subjects is too small.

Additional research is therefore wanted. Even with that, I am glad that my promising results have inspired my colleagues to start working with this protocol as well. They have also been very positive about the results.
Because I get a lot of questions about this treatment, I have since started a workshop for students and alumni of Total Health. More information about this workshop you can find on my Facebook page “Voetgesprek”, or by mailing your questions to


Protocol treatment Dupuytren’s disease

  • Six weeks long, one time per week a personal treatment.
  • The client gets home exercises to do at home
  • The first treatment taxes about one and a half hours. Following treatments take an hour.
  • After the sixth treatment there should already be a visible decrease of the condition.
  • After the sixth treatment an evaluation will take place and follow-up appointments will be made (for example, once every two weeks).


Results of reflexology-therapy as treatment for Dupuytren’s disease

  • No increase of the condition.
  • Visible decrease of the affected areas.
  • Increased handfunction, more freedom of movement in the hand.
  • Client can, if wanted, delay a possible operation.
  • Treatment does not cause scar tissue.
  • No recovery period and no work will be miss, as would happen from an operation.
  • Reflexology also works as a relaxation, with a positive effect on other physical and mental issues.