Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage (RLD)
RLD is an award-winning specific technique, the aim of which is to stimulate the function of the lymphatic system and drain excess lymph (fluid) which has accumulated in the the damaged tissue space.
This type of therapy was originally developed for the treatment of secondary lymphoedema of the arm as a result of medical intervention after breast cancer however, from my experience patients who have had groin cancer and those suffering with primary lymphoedema also benefit from RLD.
It is also my experience that patients suffering from auto-immune diseases experience a significant reduction in pain and they are able to reduce their anti-inflammatory medication after receiving eight consecutive weekly treatments. Treatments are then spaced out.
RLD is also highly effective for;
Each patient has their own unique response to RLD this is due to the extent of damage to the lymphatic system.
After breast cancer some patients may experience psychological and/or emotional difficulties due to an altered body image and having a swollen limb can exacerbate this.
I generally recommend weekly treatments for 6 to 8 weeks. Firstly to stimulate the lymphatic system and secondly so that the patient experiences less discomfort and swelling together with an increase in strength and mobility. The closer the treatments are the quicker the response and reduction in swelling.
Due to the fact that the lymphatic system has been damaged the patient will require maintenance treatments to sustain the reduction in swelling. This is very individual, some patients may require maintenance treatments every six weeks others may only need a treatment once every couple of months. Patients are encouraged to continue wearing their pressure sleeve or stocking and to continue with self-management as recommended by the lymphoedema clinic. Wearing a pressure sleeve or pressure stocking may also prolong the benefits of RLD.
Contraindications to RLD
RLD is NOT recommended for patients suffering from any of these conditions; Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), kidney failure, unstable heart conditions and cellulitis.
What is Secondary Lymphoedema?
Secondary lymphoedema develops following damage to the lymphatic system. According to Cancer Research UK (2011) approximately 20% of cancer patients will develop secondary lymphoedema (swelling of the arm) following breast cancer treatment which include mastectomy, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, removal of lymph nodes (glands).
Removal of lymph nodes in the groin can also result in secondary lymphoedema affecting the legs, ankles and feet. My experience is that RLD is very effective at shifting fluid from the damage tissue area into the lymphatic system for elimination by the body.
What is Primary Lymphoedema?
Primary lymphoedema is an inherited condition caused by problems with the development of lymph vessels in the body.
What is an RLD treatment like?
The RLD technique is given on the feet, the aim of which is to stimulate the function of the lymphatic system and to drain excess lymph (fluid) from the damaged tissue space.
The treatment always commences on the side of the least swollen limb. If the right arm or leg is worse than the left, treatment commences on the left foot. The feet are worked three times; left foot, right foot and then left foot.
The treatment is very relaxing, don't be surprised if you fall asleep!
RLD also aids the body in the removal of toxins and waste from the body, as a result patients may experience fatigue and a headache after the treatment. Drinking water will get rid of the headache as the body eliminates toxins.