I just want to let you all know that the work that Sally Kay has done to design a routine specifically for Lymphoedema has given you all the ability to have a positive effect on people's lives.
For those of you who don't know I have primary Lymphoedema, a condition I was born with and which I inherited from my mum.
For years I knew how my future after 40 would go, I watched my mum become less mobile every year as the lymph took over her life and her legs just got bigger and bigger.
Each time she would go to see a medical professional, it was always classed as a weight problem.
It wasn't until after she passed that I found out why she had 'elephant legs' and that too was my future.
I feel myself lucky, it didn't get bad for me until my forties, however there are children out there struggling daily, wondering why one leg is bigger than the other, why a small cut makes them ill if they get cellulitis and they can't do what the friends do and that the heat makes the swelling worse.
I have trained in lymph massage, the Vodder Technique and yes it's fab however it was time consuming, although a light massage it was right in your personal space and needed doing very very regularly - and costly even on fantastic salary it was expensive.
Life used to consist of getting out of bed wondering if I could leave the house today because I didn't know if I could get shoes on, especially would I be able to finish a work outfit with acceptable shoes.
Imagine doing a presentation to a group of bankers in suits with crocs on, because nothing else fitted. I never wear skirts coz I think people are staring at my fat feet coming over my shoes.
For a couple of years I followed Sally Kay's work intensively and last year another wonderful person Vicky Laws took my on as a client and started doing RLD on me.
I am a therapist and always believe the intent to heal is there, however the results after the first session far far exceeded my expectations.
Lymph moved almost immediately moved and start to exit my body.
Regular treatments have meant that my lymph is more manageable, I can wear more normal shoes. I no longer get 'heavy leg' syndrome in the evening.
I feel better, haven't had sore throats that previously plagued me all winter and have even flown for the first time in years. I just made sure I did the hand routine frequently when away.
I have also addressed that my condition had caused me social anxiety as I didn't socialise or go to anything like the pictures for years, I gave up all that I loved doing. I would go out but on my own, head down and get on with it, so that my loved ones weren't exposed to the stigma - I think that was only in my head thou. I am great at outwardly appearing confident.
I just wanted to say a massive thanks to Sally Kay for her dedication to RLD, for giving life back to sufferers whether it's primary or secondary Lymphoedema.
It's early days however I believe that my lymph system is getting stronger.
Sally has passed on this knowledge and I just wanted to give everyone a little insight to how this condition although not life threatening can be life impacting
Thanks for reading
London based reflexologist, Karen shares her self-help experiences of RLD hand reflexes and post-operative swelling following total hip replacement surgery. Thank you for sharing!
was a lot of swelling in the back of the hand and under arm (not included in the volume measurements).
Today was her 12th RLD session, 4 weeks since the last, with measurements showing only a very small increase in that time. Since then she has also been for a routine appointment at the lymphoedema clinic, where they were very pleased with the noticeable reduction and she needs a new compression garment to be ordered.
These results show a total fluid loss of 461ml, with a 100ml remaining. The wrists are now compatible in size, as is the proximal (upper) arm. The client is very happy to be wearing clothes that were previously too tight in the arm. Underarm swelling has also eased and the back of the hand is looking smaller too.
The 4th & 5th distal segments of the arm are where she feels there is a blockage, although this area is now softer, swelling is still visible here. I hope that with a few more sessions this might also be reduced.
After 6 sessions it looked as if the results were beginning to plateau, but the client wanted to continue (enjoying RLD, she was sure it was helping with general wellbeing, feeling more energised, and less sluggish and lethargic). Her view was that it might be like a diet, when weight loss is good for the first few weeks, before levelling out and steadily continuing to lose weight at a slower rate. Looks like she was right!
In December 2014, a new client came for RLD after hearing about the research. She presented with unilateral secondary lymphoedema of the right arm and hand, uncomfortable swelling under the arm, which had hardened, lost its softness. She wears a full sleeve, inclusive of glove and does the recommended daily exercises.
Limb Volume Circumference Measurements (LVCM) were taken before and after each RLD treatment. The arm is treated like a cylinder,this means that any excess fluid/swelling in the hand, shoulder, under arm, chest wall or around the back is not included in these figures.
The blue line on the graph shows how the swelling reduced during 6 treatments, these were weekly apart from between 2nd & 3rd treatments, due to Christmas etc. when there was a 3 week gap.
Before RLD 1, the swollen arm was 29.9% bigger than the normal arm, and contained 561.68ml
After RLD 6, the swollen arm was 12.8% bigger than the normal arm, and contained 240.40ml
I still get so excited by the results!
Watch this space, I'm seeing her again, same time next week..........
and after volumes showed that all effects were statistically significant (p<.001).
Quantitative data (subjective measurement of participants concerns and wellbeing using MYCaW)
We found that the changes on all three of the MYCaW scales were likely to be of clinical significance to the participants. Inferential analyses comparing before and after MYCaW scores for the 26 participants indicated significant differences at p<.01, for all three variables (concern1, concern2 and wellbeing)
The levels of the primary concern or problem rated by participants were significantly lower at follow-up than at baseline (p<.001)
Levels of the secondary concern or problem were also rated as significantly lower at follow-up compared to baseline,(p<.001)
Wellbeing increased significantly from baseline to follow-up, ( p<.01)
And to finish, our attrition rate was 0 during the study.– Nobody dropped out. Everyone who started, finished!
An example of quotes from the qualitative data
"....I found the whole thing was one of the top 10 highlights of my life."
"....I was really quite sceptical thinking, 'this isn't going to work, but I'll do it anyway' and I was amazed, really totally amazed to see the difference in my hand after the first session was just, .....I couldn't get over it."
"Its lighter, I haven't got the heaviness, I haven't got the aching in my arm, the swelling has gone down, I can stretch my arm, it just feels a lot better."
"I look at myself in the mirror now and I can see theres an actual shape to my arm whereas before it went straight down."
"I want to continue because I think its wonderful......I think its the best thing that's happened."
"It’s absolutely amazing because people do suffer with lymphoedema for years and it’s so painful, if something as pleasant as this can do something it’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful, wonderful thing.”
A huge thank you to Tenuous Welsh Cancer charity, and all those involved from Cardiff Met. University, including Judith Whatley, project co-ordinator and senior lecturer.
For more information and updates about RLD and reflexology research see Judith's Reflexscience blog
Exciting times for reflexology!
During our training, we practiced the measuring techniques. This highlighted that although right hand dominanted, measurements on my right side where smaller than the left. Not at this point did I put two and two together.
Brief Relevant History
Early menopause at 47, now 3 years post-menopausal, thankfully with no significant problems or associated symptoms, everything just ground to halt and that seemed to be that. However, since April/May 2014 I noticed a marked reduction in right breast size. Thinking this was and may still be due to oestrogen reduction, ignored it. Any reduction I thought was great but a bit odd to be lopsided. It had started to become noticeable in T-shirt tops.
On attending your workshop, during the practical I did feel some tingling on the right side but this as per your information was to be expected. Once home, as I was not due to be working in the hospice until September, I decided to work on myself and role out the RLD in private practice with my own clients.
Rightly or wrongly I worked on my own feet, not easy but doable, following the manual and the training from the workshop. This was done am and pm every day for two weeks and I continue to do it once a day.
By day two or three if you count the workshop practical, changes were occurring. Significant discomfort was felt on the right side of the right breast at first, akin to pre period breast discomfort. This was followed the next day by a burning sensation that lodged under the right arm/axilla area. These symptoms both increased and continued.
Time to get the symptoms checked out and a visit to the GP. I was met with a locum. There have never been any lumps, just shrinking. The locum said oestrogen would not be responsible or both breasts would shrink evenly and suggested waiting 5 or 6 months to see if things improved or changed. Maybe, working in a hospice puts you on high alert but I was concerned at his advice, explained I was not happy with the speed of change and would like a referral to the breast clinic. I am now due to see the breast clinic.
However, with continued RLD treatments, symptoms have improved, the burning sensation has gone. There is no change in size. There is still right sided tenderness and occasional tingling but much improved.
Has RLD highlighted a pending problem or cleared lymph congestion? Was a duct blocked in anyway? The locum seemed to think this would cause the breast to increase in size rather than shrink. Once I attend the breast clinic, hopefully, a simple explanation will be given and all will be well.
I may be very grateful for RLD and attending the workshop!
RLD has been tried to date on every client. In particular, those with RA, Irritable bowl and Lupus. Some clients know I am using it some do not. The most noticeable improvement so far has been with the Irritable Bowl symptoms settling quickly. The Lupus patient felt very nauseous for 4 days after treatment and then fine. Second treatment given today, so will see if the same occurs over the coming week.
I am delighted with RLD and will continue the process of practice and learning, seeing where and who it helps".
This time I followed the original RLD protocol, to focus on causing an effect on the lymphatic system (as per the results of the research), and therefore the immune system too. Suggesting that stimulating the lymphatic system, is likely to cause an effect on the auto-immune inflammatory response to the allergen, in this case pollen.
Both clients felt the effects of the treatment, during and after as the symptoms gradually cleared. Interesting, because I would usually associate this kind of result with having worked the sinus reflexes, but only RLD protocol was used, no sinus reflexes!
If neither client had felt the effects of RLD, I would have added the sinus reflexes ay the end, but on this occasion there was no need, sinuses and nasal passageways cleared without direct stimulation of the sinus reflexes!
I have received some case studies about Hay fever, and it was great to be presented with the chance to use RLD with these clients, particularly as its Hay fever season.
While in Madeira, one of the delegates had a some lymphoedema, which was exacerbated by the flight and heat. Swelling was evident, (without measuring) particularly in the hand, as seen above. After 40 minute RLD, visible changes can be seen here, particularly to the appearance of the skin.
Reflexology Lymph Drainage
RLD is a reflexology technique which stimulates specific lymphatic reflexes on the feet. Developed & researched by Sally Kay to help with the management of secondary lymphoedema in patients affected by treatment for breast cancer. Further research into RLD is planned and training days are available for reflexology practitioners.