Healthy Living | Healthy Ageing

Reflexology Lymph Drainage RLD

Reflexology Lymph Drainage combines ancient wisdom and modern knowledge to work a body system discovered 200 years ago by Swedish scientist Olof Rudbeck but it was mostly ignored until 2016. It is found throughout the whole body, and according to the latest research this includes the brain. It distributes nutrients to all body parts and removes waste.

The lymphatic system is activated by the mere fact that we are breathing and/or moving. Recent research shows that even the brain is part of it.

What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is a network of thin vessels that travels through the whole body, it is connected to lymph nodes that filter the lymph. It is a transport system that helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The main function is to transport lymph, a fluid that contains infection-fighting white blood cells. Excess tissue fluid is drained, and cellular debris and pathogens are removed.

A healthy lymphatic system is vital for good health as it interacts with all body systems and it plays a major role in the body’s immune function. When an invader is recognized, the immune response activates the production of antibodies to protect us and to keep all body systems functioning well.

The circulatory system distributes nutrients and oxygen to all parts of the body; some of this leaks from the blood capillaries and the larger particles are then cleaned up by the lymphatic system as it clears the body of waste material.

Latest research

Lymph vessels in the brain

Until now, no one knew for sure lymph vessels existed in the brain. In the latest research, scientists observed dye molecules injected into mice’s brain cavities and, within minutes, saw these appear in the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes outside the brain. Once there, according to Quaoli Ma, a doctoral student, the dye is removed by the lymphatic vessels.

Cerebrospinal fluid flushes the brain and removes unwanted substances. Scientists can see that “this flushing function could offer a starting point for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s”.

With ageing less cerebrospinal fluid flows out of the brain and a next step in research could be to see if stimulating this flow, there could be a change in the onset and/or progression of dementia. Already it appears that by stimulating lymphatic flow, other conditions can be treated or symptoms relieved. This is very promising as it can help many people.

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)

Manual Lymph Drainage is a very gentle manual treatment initially developed in the 1930’s by Dr Emil Vodder. It is comprised of techniques that clear stagnant lymph and encourage a healthy flow throughout the body.

Manual Lymph Drainage is useful in the treatment of many different conditions other than lymphoedema.



Reflexology Lymph Drainage (RLD) 

Reflexology Lymph Drainage RLD, an award-winning Reflexology technique created by Sally Kay BSc(Hons), focuses on stimulating the lymphatic reflexes on the feet. As with MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage massage) the aim of RLD is to cause an effect on the lymphatic system in the body.

A great advantage of RLD is that only the feet and/or hands are worked avoiding direct touch to the affected area which may be painful. It is also deeply relaxing.


Health benefits

Manual Lymph Drainage can be used to treat conditions other than lymphoedema and the same is true for Reflexology Lymph Drainage. The following listed conditions, and more, benefit:

  • Arthritis
  • Asthma
  • Auto immune conditions
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Headaches/migraines
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Lymphoedema
  • MS
  • Oedema
  • PMT
  • Post-surgical
  • Sinus problems
  • Women’s health issues
  • etc.

Feedback from clients who have received RLD:

Reflexology Lymph Drainage – Before and After 1 treatment

– I feel like I’ve got my arm back
– I feel good about myself and it has helped my confidence
– The sleeves on my clothes feel looser
– I can make a fist
– I feel normal again









ETH Zurich (2017). Exit Through the Lymphatic System. Neuroscience News. Retrieved from

Zimmermann, K. (2016). Lymphatic System: facts, functions & diseases. Live Science. Retrieved from

Zuther, J. (2012) The science behind manual lymph drainage in the treatment of lymphedema. Lymphedema Blog. Retrieved from

Kay, S. (2010). Reflexology Lymph Drainage. Retrieved from

Whatley, J., Street, R., Kay, S., Harris, P. (2010). Use of reflexology in managing secondary lymphoedema for patients affected by treatments for breast cancer: a feasibility study. Retrieved from



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