Lymphoedema Management

Lymphoedema Massage and Garments

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema is a chronic condition. It causes swelling from excessive amounts of fluid in the body. While it usually affects the arms or legs, it may also involve the trunk, breast, head and neck, or genital area.

The lymphatic system comprises a network of lymph nodes and vessels that transport fluid (lymph) from the tissues into the bloodstream.  When this system is impaired, it cannot efficiently drain this fluid, causing swelling.

Components of Complex Physical Therapy (CPT) provided by a Lymphoedema Practitioner may include:

Compression Garments: firmly fitted elastic garments worn over swollen areas. Research suggests that wearing a compression garment can help reduce swelling associated with lymphoedema. These garments will generally need to be replaced every 6-12 months. Options include stock, made-to-order, and custom-made.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD): a specialised massage to the affected area. MLD aims to improve the way lymphatic vessels work. And it helps reduce the build-up of fluid. MLD includes slow, gentle strokes stimulating lymph flow from the affected area through the remaining lymph vessels to nearby functional lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes.

Decongestive Exercises: assist with the efficient flow of lymph fluid away from the affected area

Skin Care Advice: appropriate skincare advice is recommended. It can reduce the likelihood of cellulitis and provides a barrier against infection.

Compression Bandaging: Two bandaging methods can be used. The bandage type depends on the severity of the swelling and how much pressure needs to be applied. Bandaging is usually applied after MLD. These bandages can stay on for between 2-7 days, depending on what bandages are used. Typically, the aim is to help lymph fluid to drain and control fluid build-up until compression garments arrive.

Who can help me?

Hoppers Physio and Western Myotherapy are happy to offer treatment. Our Myotherapist, Irish is a Casley-Smith International recognised Lymphoedema Practitioner. Completing her Myotherapy training at RMIT, Irish is interested in decongestive therapy. She is passionate about empowering patients with chronic oedema and those recovering from cancer and hopes to positively impact the community.

If you think we can help, call reception on 9749 5110 today to enquire or book.