I have undertaken specialist training in Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) with Sally Kay, who researched and developed this award-winning technique whilst working in cancer care. RLD focuses on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes on the feet, aiming to cause an effect on the lymphatic system in the body. The results appear to support the theory of reflexology.
According to Cancer Research UK (2011) breast cancer is the most prevalent form of cancer in the UK, with a lifetime risk of 1 in 8 for women, and 1 in 1014 for men. It is thought that approximately 20% of all breast cancer patients will also go on to develop Lymphoedema.
Lymphoedema is defined as tissue swelling due to the failure of lymph drainage, for which there is currently no cure. For those who have already been through cancer treatment, secondary lymphoedema can add further unwelcome physical, psychological and emotional effects.
During a research study in 2016 Judith Whatley, Rachael Street, Sally Kay and Philip Harris conducted an uncontrolled trial of 26 women who had developed lymphoedema in one arm following treatment for breast cancer. They concluded that RLD may be a useful intervention for BCRL although the results could not be attributed to the reflexology intervention because of research design limitations. The main conclusion was, however, that there was sufficient evidence for further research using a randomized controlled trial.