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Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage (RLD)

Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD)

Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) is an award winning reflexology technique focussed on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes on the feet to bring about a positive change in the lymphatic system of the body. The technique was researched and developed by Sally Kay BSc (Hons) through clinical practice in Cancer Care to relieve the symptoms of Lymphoedema.

Limb volume circumferential measurement (LVCM) is used to measure the volume of fluid held in each arm/leg, and compared before and after each treatment, and then compared with the non swollen arm/leg.

Studies have shown that with repeated treatments of Reflexology Lymph Drainage the fluid build up doesn’t return to the maximum level experienced by the client.

Lymphoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling in the body’s tissues. The lymphatic system is a network of channels and glands throughout the body that help fight infection and remove excess fluid.

The main symptom of lymphoedema is swelling in all or part of a limb or another part of the body. The swelling may also cause an aching, heavy feeling in the affected part of the body and the skin may feel hard and tight. Movement can therefore often be restricted and the skin may be more prone to infections. There are two main types of lymphoedema:

Primary lymphoedema – caused by faulty genes that affect the development of the lymphatic system. It can develop at any age, but usually starts during infancy, adolescence, or early adulthood

Secondary lymphoedema – caused by damage to the lymphatic system or problems with the movement and drainage of fluid in the lymphatic system. It can be the result of an infection, injury, cancer treatment, inflammation of the limb, or a lack of limb movement.

RLD can be given on the hands or the feet, either as a shorter standalone treatment or incorporated into a longer session. It’s a gentle, non-invasive and calming technique which is designed to mirror the techniques and effects of Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage (MLD) by applying pressure to the reflexes of the feet or hands.

As MLD is used for conditions other than lymphoedema, similarly, RLD can be used to relieve symptoms of these conditions too:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Lipodema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • ME
  • Sinus problems
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Muscular tension
  • Aches and pains
  • Premenstrual Syndrome

RLD may be unsuitable if you have an acute inflammatory infection (e.g. cellulitis), deep vein thrombosis, unstable heart condition or kidney failure.

It is advised that a minimum of 4 weekly sessions should be booked as this shows to be most effective. Follow up sessions can be booked as and when required. Some clients will be happy to have monthly maintenance treatments whereas others will prefer to have one-off sessions when they feel it is necessary – it’s entirely up to you.

For details of research into Reflexology and it’s effectiveness:

RLD research

Use of reflexology in managing secondary lymphoedema for patients affected by treatments for breast cancer

Experiences of breast cancer related lymphoedema and the use of reflexology for managing swelling

Reflexology to manage lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment

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