What does a Lymphoedema Practitioner do?
In this article, we discuss the nature and treatment of conditions that a Lymphoedema Practitioner such as myself (Lisa) performs for clients.
A Lymphoedema Practitioner works on the lymphatic system. Treatment will vary depending on what the client presents.
Generally, people seek out a lymphoedema practitioner if they have lymphoedema, lipoedema, oedema and pre/post-surgery. However, people wanting to improve their general health also look to have Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) treatment.
Lymphoedema is swelling in the body due to a malfunction of the lymphatic system.
Treatment for advanced swelling will require Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) which is a combination of:
- 24/7 bandaging
- lymphatic drainage; and
- skin care.
Lymphoedema is an inflammatory disease that does require lifelong management. Once CDT it completed, long term management is a combination of:
- compression garments
- compression pump
- manual lymphatic drainage (MLD)
- exercise, and
- low inflammatory diet.
Lipoedema is a build-up of diseased fat predominately on the hips/legs, but can grow all over the body. The fat can’t be dieted or exercised away. It is an inflammatory disease, predominately affecting women. Conservative treatment for Lipoedema is similar to those with Lymphoedema.
Those with Lipoedema seek a Lymphoedema Practitioner to help reduce swelling, aching and/or pain in their limbs.
Oedema is swelling. Swelling can be caused by injury, illness or disease. It is important to rule out any serious medical conditions with your doctor that may be causing swelling, such as heart disease, lung disease or diabetes.
If you have Oedema from an injury, seeing a Lymphoedema Practitioner may help:
- reduce the swelling
- reduce pain
- increase range of movement,
- speed recovery time.
Pre & Post-Surgery treatments
Doctors and specialists are realising the benefit of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) pre and post-surgery.
Pre-surgery, surgeons notice that a patient’s tissue is softer. MLD pre-surgery also helps the body to be as healthy as possible for the upcoming surgery.
Post-surgery there can be significant swelling, bruising and fibrosis (hardening) of the tissue. Having MLD post-surgery helps to ease swelling, bruising and fibrosis, resulting in reduced pain, greater range of movement and accelerated healing.
Does treatment hurt?
It is very common for people to asked, “does Lymphatic Massage hurt”, the answer is NO.
I have had some clients come to me and mention that they have previously tried MLD with another practitioner and come out ‘black and blue’ – this is not Lymphatic Drainage!
To determine if your therapist is a Lymphoedema Practitioner rather than a Massage Therapist, ask do they:
- Start with opening the lymphatic system?
- Do they start treatment around the neck/collarbone?
- Will they teach you how you can open your lymphatic system at home?
- What pressure will they use during the treatment?
Before any Lymphatic Massage, it is important that your therapist opens up your lymphatic system, so the treatment will have the best results of moving your lymph into your circulatory system.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a gentle treatment, involving slow and light pressure hand movements on the skin, moving the fluid to the lymph nodes. MLD should never be painful or cause bruising.