Footprints in Florida

Attending conferences offers opportunities to gain information and to meet with friends and colleagues. Recently at such an event I was fortunate to catch-up with Lynne ( VRT reflexology ) Carol ( Nerve reflexology ) and Sally (RLD reflexology) I had been unsuccessful in gaining a place on Sally’s Reflexology Lymph Drainage RLD course held at the Christie Hospital Manchester as it was full. However, I managed to book a place on her course in Tampa Florida USA and have just arrived home to Weymouth.


(my footprints on Cocoa Beach Florida Photo : my daughter )

          Reflexology Lymph Drainage RLD is an evidenced technique of reflexology developed by Sally based on Manual Lymphatic Drainage MLD ( Vodder ) that is currently widely used within the NHS. Sally’s reflexology method protocol came about through working with breast cancer patients who were suffering the effects of secondary lymphoedema following the removal of lymph nodes as part of cancer treatment. Evidence was gathered using a recognised evaluation tool and results from the feasibility study published. This raised interest and funding was obtained to conduct a research project operating from three sites in conjunction with Cardiff University. The findings from this research was published and further research is planned. Sally teaches her method to qualified reflexologists nationally and internationally.

           Secondary Lymphoedema can affect any individual that has undergone removal of lymph nodes as part of their cancer treatment. More commonly affecting arms of females following breast cancer treatment (note: some males develop breast cancer ) although lymphoedema of the leg in females following ovarian cancer treatment and males following prostate cancer treatment can be just as painful and distressing.

           According to the British Lymphology Society BLS lymphoedema occurs when the lymphatic system fails in regulating fluid balance in tissue spaces resulting in swelling or oedema. It can cause changes in the skin and body tissues. It is not curable but can be controlled through management to minimise swelling, reduce complications from swelling, enhance Q of L and promote self management. NHS management of lymphoedema consists of the 4 components of Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy (DLT)

1. compression bandages – to complement exercise by moving fluid out of the affected limb and minimise further build-up

2. skin care – to keep the skin in good condition and reduce the chances of infection

3. exercises – to use muscles in the affected limb to improve lymph drainage

4. specialised massage techniques – known as manual lymphatic drainage (MLD); this stimulates the flow of fluid in the lymphatic system and reduces swelling.

          Working with cancer patients at Dorchester County Hospital DCH I have witnessed the impact secondary lymphoedema can have on their physical mobility and psychological wellbeing and the effectiveness of the existing methods on offer. This insight motivated my interest in Sally’s method as I felt there may be other ways to help patients reduce and manage their lymphoedema. RLD can be easily taught to patients ( and carers ) thereby promoting a sense of wellbeing by encouraging patients to be part of their healing process as well as effectively reducing swelling. Having completed Sally’s training I am excited by the potential of RLD and will be offering this form of treatment to my patients. I am preparing a case study to add to Sally’s body of evidence.  

               My intention was to bring back some new knowledge/skills to benefit DCH Fortuneswell cancer patients and of course as an avid sun worshipper…….catch some rays.  I did both.     ©AW/2019

For more information on self-help symptom management take a dip into my “Holistic Health Tips” book. £9.00  including  p&p available from Buena Vista Gypsy lane Weymouth DT40BZ. Abbigail is fully qualified and insured with over 25yrs professional experience specializing in Clinical Reflexology, Allergy testing, Nutrition and Counselling. Contact 01305 784986.