Lymphodema can be a major issue for those who have had breasts removed through surgery for breast cancer especially if the lymph nodes have been removed also. Likewise, those who have had a limb amputated will also suffer the swelling associated with Lymphodema as well as some of our elderly community.
Lymphatic drainage is a specialised massage technique done by physiotherapist with specific training in that area. It is not usually performed by massage therapists unless they have undergone specific training in this area.
Our physiotherapist who has expertise in this area has had years of experience in this area and can also teach you self massage techniques if appropriate for your condition.
The specialised Lymphatic Drainage massage for Lymphodema requires gentle stroking type massage called effleurage. This specialised massage helps to push the fluid from underneath the skin and direct it toward the lymph nodes where the fluid is then returned back to circulation.
Patients with Lymphodema will notice a swelling usually starting in the most distal joint such as the hand or the foot.
The fluid then accumulates and moves further up the limb until the entire limb is involved. If left unattended the fluid can leak out of the tissues. If this happens the Lymphodema has usually turned into cellulitis. Cellulitis can be life threatening if not treated and tissue death can occur in the affected limb.
It is essential to see a Lymphatic Drainage Physiotherapist who can attend to the Lymphodema, fit you for compression garments if necessary and teach you some self massage/management techniques in order for you to maintain as healthy lifestyle as possible.
It is important to note that those patients who have had breast enhancement surgery also require Lymphatic Drainage massage after their procedure to maintain healthy tissue in that area.