Lymphoedema

Lymphoedema Therapy Complex Physical (Lymphatic) Treatment for Lymphoedema (Casley-Smith Method)

A little bit of simplified biology.

The cells of our body are bathed in fluid. The blood delivers proteins and other nutrients to this fluid for the cells to take up and use. The excess proteins and nutrients plus wastes from the cells are collected by a network of vessels know as the lymphatic system. This protein rich lymphatic fluid is moved up to the chest where it rejoins the blood system. On its way, the lymph from the arms and legs are funnelled through groups of lymph nodes at the top of the arms and legs. Lymphatic fluid is emptied into a large vein just before that vein enters into the heart. From there the cellular wastes and excess nutrients are delivered to the liver and kidneys for processing.

If the lymphatic system is sluggish or if the nodes are damaged or removed through surgery then excess protein is not removed effectively. When the concentration of proteins builds up in the fluid outside of the cell, then water is attracted to the area. The tissues swell with excess fluid.

Oedema is a general name used for swelling from a number of different causes. Lymphoedema is the name used for the swelling that results from inadequate lymph drainage.

The swelling that occurs around the site of an injury such as a sprained ankle or the site of an operation is lymphoedema. The swollen ankles at the end of the day, that an elderly person might experience, are lymphoedema. Often the lymphatic system because sluggish as people age. Sometimes an infection may create scarring in the nodes and lymph vessels and result in an ineffective lymph system. Lymph nodes that have been removed through surgery or damaged in some way, such as radiation treatment for cancer, may result in lymphoedema.

Lymphatic drainage massage can help stimulate a sluggish but intact lymphatic system.
Manual lymphatic drainage massage seeks to create new pathways for the excess lymph to flow. The trained lymphoedema therapist helps to reduce swelling in the affected limb by redirecting lymph to areas where the nodes are still functional. Easing some of the discomfort of lymphoedema encourages more normal daily activities.

The massage is very light and gentle – like softly stroking a kitten. It is done on skin using powder. I use vegetable, non talc, powder.

There are different styles of manual lymphatic drainage that are recognised world-wide. Vodder, Casley-Smith and Foldii are three well known ones.

Lymphoedema Therapy Complex Physical (Lymphatic) Treatment for Lymphoedema (Casley-Smith Method) is the style in which I have received some intense training This is an integrated system of management which includes assessment, lymphoedema CPT massage, low level therapeutic laser, gradient compressive bandaging and measuring/fitting gradient pressure compressive garments of the arm and leg. My particular interest is with manual lymphatic drainage massage for people with a cancer diagnosis. Learning how to do regular self lymphatic drainage may support the massage from a therapist.

Manual lymphatic drainage massage is also used by athletes as an aid to recovery from sporting injuries. Accidents, post-operative congestion, sinus infection, dental work, and after cosmetic surgery are other areas which respond to this specialised massage. Lymphatic drainage massage assists in a detoxification diet.

For more information visit http://www.lymph.com.au

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