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Reflexology Lymph Drainage - RLD

Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) is an evidence based, award winning, reflexology technique built on the same principles as Lymphatic Drainage Massage/Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD).  This ground breaking technique focuses on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes on the feet using reflexology. 

Lymphoedema is a chronic condition that causes swelling in tissues in the body and usually affects the arm or leg, although it can develop in any part of the body.  It is due to a failure in the lymphatic system where normal lymph drainage cannot occur.  The lymphatic system is a network of glands, channels and lymph nodes throughout the body that helps to remove excess fluid, fight bacteria and other infections as well as removing abnormal cells.


When Lymphoedema occurs, it generally causes swelling in all or part of a limb making it difficult to fit into clothes or wear jewellry.  The swelling may fluctuate through the day and if untreated will usually increase in severity.  It can cause aching, a heavy feeling, discomfort, difficulty walking, tight skin, difficulty in movement.

Lymphatic system

Cancer Research UK

The Lymphatic System

Primary Lymphoedema is caused by faulty genes affecting the development of the lymphatic system and can develop at any age although usually starts in infancy, adolescence or early adulthood.

Secondary Lymphoedema is caused by damage to the lymphatic system / lymph nodes or problems with the drainage of fluid. It can be as a result of injury, infection, inflammation of the  limb, lack of limb movement or cancer surgery.  

Breast Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK where over 50,000 women are diagnosed every year (source: Breast Cancer Now).  According to Cancer Research UK (2011) the lifetime risk of developing Breast Cancer is  1:8 for women and 1:1014 for men. 


Approximately 20% of breast cancer sufferers develop secondary lymphoedema of the arm following treatment for breast cancer such as surgery or radiotherapy to the axillary lymph nodes.

Following breast cancer, it can be common to experience emotional or psychological difficulties due to an altered body image - a swollen limb could exacerbate this, feeling like further insult to the body. Improved breast cancer survivor rates indicate more women than ever are surviving breast cancer where around five out of six diagnosed in the UK today will be alive in five years time.  As there is currently no cure for lymphoedema, more people than ever are living longer with this debilitating side effect. 


Although there is no cure for lymphoedema, Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) may help to manage the symptoms as indicated from recent research.  The research demonstrated that reflexology was a useful treatment for lymphoedema after breast cancer surgery. RLD reduced swelling and pain in the affected arm and improved quality of life.  Results were statistically significant in reducing arm volume and improving life quality.  For more information on the study please visit Cancer Research UK: A study looking at reflexology to manage lymphoedema after breast cancer treatment

Reflexology Lymph Drainage is a unique sequence that was designed to mimic Manual Lymph Drainage / Lymphatic Drainage Massasge (MLD).  Although initially developed to benefit lympheodema in the arm, it is believed to help lymphoedema elsewhere in the body too.  

Breast Cancer, Lymphoedema and RLD

Video demonstrating Reflexology Lymph Drainage 

Reflexology Lymph Drainage Treatments

RLD sessions help aid the symptoms associated with  lymphoedema.  At the initial session, you will complete a health and lifestyle consultation and at the beginning and end of each RLD session, it is possible to take volume measurements of the affected limbs in order to determine volume change.  This can help to quantify any changes although is not obligatory.  Treatments take place on the feet and clients do NOT need to remove any clothing.

I am fully qualified in Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage and am an Approved RLD practitioner.  

In the same way that Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD) can be used to help conditions other than lymphoedema, Reflexology Lymph Drainage can also be used in a smiliar way.  Elements of RLD may therefore be included in standard reflexology sessions where clients are suffering with auto-immune conditions such as:

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