Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage (RLD)

Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage (RLD)


Reflexology Lymphatic Drainage or RLD is a sequence of reflexology movements that are designed to stimulate the whole lymphatic system and to encourage the movement of lymph throughout the body.

The lymphatic system is one of the pillars of our detoxification pathways as well as our immune system, a healthy lymphatic system is vital for good health.  I recently started RLD in my practice and the feedback on RLD from my clients has so far been extremely  positive.

RLD is of course designed for those with lymphoedema but because it stimulates the lymphatic system it is a wonderful treatment for everyone.  RLD is a gentle treatment and can be tailored for those recovering from serious illness and from radiation and chemotherapy.

Because RLD works by stimulating the lymph system it is a wonderful treatment for everyone but especially those living with inflammatory conditions including

  • Arthritis
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Asthma
  • Eczema
  • Fibromyalgia
  • ME
  • Sinus problems
  • Migraines
  • Headaches
  • Muscular tension
  • Aches and pains

Background to RLD

These techniques were originally devised by Sally Kay while working with patients living with lymphoedema after cancer treatment.   RLD is a non invasive technique that does not involve working on the affected area but rather on the reflexes that correspond to the lymphatic system.  Other than measuring (which is of course optional) we do not work directly on the affected area.

Sally was working for a local charity when some of the patients with lymphedema asked her if reflexology could help them.  Sally is the kind of person who will find a solution when faced with a challenge so she researched how reflexology might help and started treating them, specifically the reflexes that she knew related to the lymphatic system.  Before long her patients were reporting that they thought that their lymphedema had improved, their watches fitted better, they could wear their rings again.

This lead to Sally setting up a clinical study in association with Cardiff University.  All the patients were measured before and after a treatment, patients had weekly RLD sessions at the same time and on the same day every week for 6 weeks.  When doing clinical research it is important to have something definite and measurable, this can be a challenge for any complimentary therapy.  Sally and her team measured the volume of the arm was used before and after the RLD treatment.


Reflexology news and information.

There was “a significant reduction in the volume of the affected arm was identified at follow-up compared to baseline. This reduction in volume appeared to be maintained for more than six months.”


Participants reported that their ” concerns were significantly reduced and their wellbeing significantly increased.”


Treatment protocol is for  6 weekly treatments, we can measure before and after if you wish.  If you think you might benefit from RLD, contact me to discuss.

Patients under the care of the Hospice in the Weald can enquire with Hospice Day Service about signing up for a 6 week treatment with me there (Thursdays only).

Other Resources

I have a more detailed blog about lymphoedema and reflexology click here to learn more

Lymphoedema Support Network 

Sally Kay’s RLD Website