Lymphatic Drainage Reflexology

Lymphoedema bothering you?

Are you fed up with stress of having swollen arms or legs?

RLD is an award winning reflexology technique which focuses on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes on the feet. The aim is to cause an effect on the lymphatic system in the body. It is a unique sequence that has been researched and developed by Sally Kay, whilst working in Cancer Care. The results appear to support the theory of reflexology. .

Individual treatments are tailored based on the physical and non physical factors, dependant on what you need.

Reflexology for the management of secondary lymphoedema in patients affected by treatment for breast cancer: An exploratory study. Authors: Sally Kay (presenting), Judith Whatley, Philip Harris.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK. Following medical intervention approximately 20% of breast cancer patients suffer lymphoedema. After breast cancer, a person may experience psychological or emotional difficulties due to altered body image, and a swollen limb can exacerbate this (Mackereth & Carter 2006). Research suggests that survivors with lymphoedema are more disabled, and they experience a poorer quality of life and more psychological distress than survivors without lymphoedema, (Bernas, Pyszel 2006, Ridner 2005). There is a need for more effective interventions and further research into a range of physical therapies for the management of lymphoedema. Reflexology is a physical therapy focusing on the feet. Practitioners use specific pressure with thumb, finger and hand techniques to stimulate these reflexes on the premise that this effects a physical change in the body. Anecdotally, cancer patients suffering from lymphoedema report positive effects on the swollen arm after reflexology treatment.

Aims and objectives:
To explore the use of the RLD (reflexology lymphatic drainage) technique as a precision treatment for the reduction of lymphoedema, swelling of the arm following treatment for breast cancer.

As part of an undergraduate project, six participants with unilateral secondary lymphedema were recruited from a South Wales cancer-care organization. The participants received four consecutive weekly reflexology lymph drainage (RLD) treatments. Limb Volume Circumferential Measurement (LVCM) was the primary outcome measure used. This method is widely used for calculating arm volume (NHS 2008). Measure Yourself Concerns and Wellbeing (MYCaW), was used to gather subjective data (Patterson 2006). LVCM and MYCaW measures were taken at baseline, the intervention stage, and at follow-up (one week post-intervention).

Positive trends were observed on both outcome measures for all six participants. As a group, the results indicated a statistically significant reduction in arm volume, from baseline to follow-up (t=6.93, df=5, p=0.001) on LVCM. MYCaW mean profile scores from baseline to follow-up, also showed a significant improvement (Z=-2.207, p=0.027). The results were also supported by the qualitative data reported by participants.


Findings of this exploratory study suggest that RLD may be helpful in the management of secondary lymphoedema. A more robust research design is needed to test for a causal link between the application of reflexology and possible outcome benefits.
Further research is planned for 2013, following a successful funding bid in partnership with Cardiff Metropolitan University. The proposal aims to replicate the methodology used in the exploratory study and increase the number of participants (n=30). Providing the results of this are comparable to the initial trial, a large scale, multi-centre randomised control trial (RCT) will be justifiable.

Research news 11th July 2013

The NHS Local Health Board Research Ethics Committee (REC) has agreed ethical approval for the proposed application, to conduct further research into Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD).
As part of the NHS ethics approval process, once the application has been submitted you are invited to appear before the REC, a panel of 12 people, both medics and lay people, to discuss the proposal and answer any relevant questions.

Funding for the study was awarded earlier this year and terms and conditions of this require completion within 12 moths. It is anticipated that the results will be available in April 2014. We hope to reproduce the original results on a larger scale and provide a stronger foundation on which to build future studies for evidence based reflexology.

The research is being led by Cardiff Metropolitan University, funded by Tenovus cancer charity and is based on the Reflexology Lymph Drainage, researched and developed by Sally Kay.

Remember, reflexology lymphatic drainage aims to improve lymph movement in the whole body…
…not just the feet.

Kim Whittet Says:

The key to maintaining your body’s natural balance, is to first realise that you’ve lost it.

Lymph drainage reflexology

Lymph drainage reflexology

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Frequently asked questions

What happens at the first appointment?

On your first visit to us a full medical case history will be taken.  We need to know all aspects of your health. We will ask about your previous injuries, surgery, illnesses, and we will want to know if you’re taking any medication.  Unless we need further information about your condition we would normally treat you on your first appointment.

What happens during treatment?

Once we’ve made a diagnosis, and we are satisfied that it is safe to treat you, we can then proceed with the reflexology treatment.

We will explain what we are doing throughout your treatment to ensure you are happy with what we are doing. Decisions about treatment, here as in any other medical practice, are entirely yours. We will never use any technique or procedure on you without your consent; so you can ask questions at any time.

Most patients really enjoy treatment!  In face many people fall asleep when having reflexology, even those who say they’re ticklish!

Claire says:  Reflexology is so relaxing; you just feel so much better afterwards.

Can I claim on my insurance?

There are some medical insurance companies that cover reflexology, you may be able to claim all or part of treatment costs.

Please check with your provider the conditions of your policy prior to booking.

Our policy is that you will pay us for the treatment and claim the money back yourself.

Remember to check with your insurance company first!

Can I bring somebody with me?

Of course you can!   We are very happy for you to have somebody in the treatment room with you.  We are quite used to families coming together or parents bringing kids with them.

Incidentally, if we are treating children under the age of 16 we insist that a parent or guardian accompany them.  We also ask that if you’re bringing any children under the age of 16 that they join you in the treatment room and are not left to sit in the waiting room.

What is Reflexology?

Reflexologists believe that areas of the feet, hands,  face, and ears represent the organs as well as other parts of the body and body systems.  Treatment involves using alternating pressure with our fingers and thumbs to stimulate specific reflexes.

Reflexologists work on those reflexes and areas with the aim of promoting the body’s self-healing, returning the body to its natural balance, optimising good health, wellbeing and deep relaxation.

How long are the appointments?

Reflexology appointments are between 50 and 60 minutes.

Do I need a GP referral?

No, you don’t need a referral unless you have private healthcare and your provider requires you to have a referral.

So you can call us any time, or book online, without having to wait for a GP appointment. Although referral by a GP is not necessary, you are encouraged to keep your GP fully informed so that medical records are up-to-date.

If you have private medical insurance you need to check your cover as some companies specify that you have to have a GP referral.  

Is reflexology safe?

Reflexology is suitable for almost anyone, however there are some conditions that may prevent you having reflexology.

We will discuss this with you when we take your medical case history so that we know it’s safe for you to have treatment.

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