Last month I was honoured to be invited to speak about RLD at two reflexology conferences. The first, Reflexology in Europe RiEN, was held on the beautiful island of Madeira, and the second, was The Clinical Reflexology in Palliative care conference at The Christie Hospital. It was exciting to be able to share some interim data from the research. So far so good!
We have entered the final stages of the study, 20 of the participants have finished, a further 7 are currently receiving RLD treatments and we still have space for a further 3. There's still time, if you know anyone with secondary lymphoedema of the arm, as result of treatment for breast cancer, living near Cardiff, to take part.
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.
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Two days ago I was a guest speaker at NACTHPC (National Association of Complementary Therapists in Hospice and Palliative Care) conference, and what a lovely audience they were! I spoke for an hour about RLD, from the thinking behind it, the process of conducting clinical research, the results, limitations of the study and plans for ongoing and future research.
The audience were practitioners of a range of complementary therapies and not all of them were reflexologists. Some of the delegates were MLD Lymphoedema specialists, one of whom made a very interesting observation about the RLD results. It seems that during a 3 week intensive course of MLD treatment, they would expect to see a similar patter of results. The initial treatment yields the greatest reduction, with subsequent treatments given to consolidate the results.
RLD is still very much in its infancy, and for those of you who are unfamiliar with the results from the initial research, please see the graph below.
The rheumatologist wants her to start taking Methotrexate, a low dose chemotherapy drug, used to limit inflammation, which helps to reduce signs and symptoms of the disease, such as pain and swelling. Taking this course of treatment would mean giving up on having another baby. As part of the reflexology I used RLD, hoping it may help to reduce swelling and inflammation.
(I was sure it would work but didn't say anything)
During the reflexology she felt tingling in her arms, hands and fingers, (normally felt during RLD in clients with lymphoedema). Immediately after the session her fingers were more flexible and swelling seemed to have gone down. She left feeling relaxed and happy and I didn't hear from her again until last week, when she returned, asking for the same again! Her hands have been much better, and she's been able to wear her wedding ring.!
Feedback from the first session ~ her hands felt unexpectedly easier, she thought at best she'd get a few days relief, which would have been a real bonus. In reality, the relief lasted two whole months before some of the discomfort began to return!
The second reflexology treatment was as before, and she felt the same tingling sensations and an immediate improvement!
Watch this space......
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.