The award winning technique Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) is an innovation of Sally Kay BSc (Hons) which centres on the stimulation of lymphatic reflexes in the feet. This technique was developed primarily to reduce secondary lymphoedema suffered by those affected by breast cancer treatment.
The most common cancer in the UK is breast cancer, the lifetime risk of developing it in this country is one in eight women and one in one thousand and fourteen men. Of these patients, approximately twenty per cent will develop secondary lymphoedema of the arm after they have received treatment for breast cancer (Cancer Research UK).
The failure of lymph drainage causes lymphoedema which is defined as the tissue swelling because of this. Psychological and emotional issues may be experienced due to the changed body image and can be exacerbated by a swollen limb. With the improvement of breast cancer survival rates where two out of three women are surviving the disease for twenty years or more, more people are living longer with this condition for which there is as of yet no cure.
A recent study by Whatley, Street, Kay & Harris (2016) indicate RLD may aid the management of secondary lymphoedema following breast cancer treatment. A reduction in arm volume was found and appeared to be maintained for six months. A significant decrease was also found in the participants concerns with wellbeing significantly increasing.
Early indications show that RLD may aid other conditions such as inflammatory auto-immune disorders, premenstrual fluid retention and pregnancy.