Posts Tagged ‘manual lymph drainage’

Vodder Review in Asheville

Amber just returned from Asheville, NC, where she participated with 19 other physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses & massage therapists in the first biannual Vodder Recertification course hosted by Care Partners. This 20 hour advanced training course is available for therapists to update and review their skills. Expert guest speakers present the latest research and methods and case studies are presented for peer review. Currently-certified therapists are required to maintain their certification in Manual Lymph Drainage and Combined Decongestive Therapy through the Dr. Vodder School by attending one of these classes at least every two years and demonstrating continued competence.

In previous years, Amber has traveled to Walchsee, Austria, Stowe, VT, and Victoria, BC to participate in this course.  While it is fun to travel to different places, it is extremely convenient that the course will be available in Asheville. . . Thank you, Care Partners & Vodder School!

 

Weight Lifting and Lymphedema

Photo credit: Candace di Carlo (Penn Current)

. . . . . . Kathryn H. Schmitz, Ph.D., MPH . . . . . . Photo credit: Candace di Carlo (Penn Current)

This is an extremely important topic, especially in light of some recent news coverage.  I (Amber) was going to do a little write-up on the matter, but just can’t put it better than Joe Zuther.  Here are his words as published in Lymphedema Today:

As some of you may know, an article published August 13, 2009 in the New England Journal of Medicine addressed the topic of weight lifting in women with breast cancer-related lymphedema. The article summarized an 18-month study performed by Dr. Kathryn Schmitz and colleagues in a controlled trial of twice weekly progressive weight lifting involving 141 breast cancer survivors with stable upper extremity lymphedema.

Shortly after this article was published, we received a large number of phone calls and email messages from patients and graduates of our lymphedema management certification courses asking us for clarification on some misleading and inaccurate statements that were made on the results of this study.

One of the more prominent questions we received from patients was: “If it is okay and safe for me to lift weights as this study suggests, is it okay then to lift heavy items at home or at work as well?”

The obvious answer to this question is “NO!”

This is not what this study suggested either, it is clearly a misunderstanding. As a result of these misconceptions, the National Lymphedema Network’s Medical Advisory Board asked Dr. Schmitz to address the many misleading statements that were made in the media about the results of her study. I am very glad to report that Dr. Schmitz answered the NLN’s call and her response was published in the April/June 2010 issue of the LymphLink. This response was necessary to clarify the results of this important study, and what they mean to patients living with lymphedema, or those individuals at risk of developing this condition. Read the rest of this entry »

 

Medicare Lymphedema Treatment Bill Introduced

H.R. 4662, “Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2010,” was recently introduced in the Senate by Congressman Larry Kissell of North Carolina.  Ron Paul (R-TX14) was the first co-sponsor of the bill.  Phil Roe (R-TN1) is the second.

Please urge your local Congressmen and Senators to support this bill. Lymphedema is treatable, but proper treatment is extensive.  Passage of this bill would allow for many people to receive treatment for services that would not otherwise be covered by insurance.  When Medicare makes a change, private insurance companies usually follow suit.

Specific goals of the bill include:

  • to provide diagnosis and treatment of individuals with and at risk for lymphedema according to current medical treatment standards, including manual lymph drainage, compression bandages, garments, devices, and exercise
  • to enhance quality of lymphedema patient care by providing therapist qualification requirements
  • to provide for lymphedema patient education in the procedures for self-treatment so as to transfer the treatment from the clinical to the home setting
  • to encourage patient self-treatment plan adherence by providing necessary medical supplies for use at home
  • to expand patient access to qualified lymphedema therapy by extending coverage to qualified, trained lymphedema therapists who may practice under a qualified physician, physical therapist or occupational therapist.

Yes!  When this passes, lymphedema management at AMMA (manual lymph drainage, combined decongestive therapy, bandages & exercises) will be covered by insurance!

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As requested, we have included sample letters below.  You are welcome to use them as a blueprint for letters or emails to your Representatives and Senators. These letters only represent suggested verbiage. Please feel free to customize your letter in any way.

The bill is currently in the United States House of Representatives.  We have included two letters to representatives.  If you are a resident of Tennessee’s District 1, the please use the letter below to thank Representative Phil Roe for already taking action on the bill by becoming a co-sponsor.  If you are not one of Representative Roe’s constituents, please use the Congress Letter.  Next, please urge your state Senators to introduce and support a similar bill in the United States Senate.  A sample Senate Letter is also included.

Don’t know how to contact your Representatives?  Not even sure who they are?  Just enter your zip code to find out at http://www.contactingthecongress.org/.  It will link you to a page listing both your state senators and your district representatives to Congress.  From there, you may contact them via fax, phone, email or snail mail.

Sample Letter to Representative Roe:

Dear Representative Roe,

As your constituent, I am writing to thank you for signing on as a co-sponsor of H.R. 4662, the “Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2010,” introduced by Congressman Larry Kissell on February 23, 2010. [Please list your credentials (if any) and any personal experience you may have with lymphedema (if any). Do you struggle with lymphedema? Does your mother? Son? Best friend? Are you a cancer survivor?]

Lymphedema is a medical condition affecting an estimated 2 million Medicare Beneficiaries. Secondary lymphedema sometimes results from surgery and curative radiation. H.R. 4662 is projected to save hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars every year in avoidance of costs of treating preventable lymphedema-related cellulitis. This act will reduce Medicare costs while improving patient care and quality of life. It will also expand patient access to qualified lymphedema therapy by extending coverage to qualified, specially trained lymphedema therapists who may practice under a qualified physician, physical therapist or occupational therapist.

The clinically-proven treatment of lymphedema is called “complex decongestive therapy” and includes manual lymph drainage, appropriate bandaging and compression garments, specific therapeutic exercises and proper skin care. It is used world-wide by the medical community, is not experimental and has decades of proven success. Unfortunately, not all components of this treatment fall under categories for which Medicare or private insurance companies typically provide coverage. With treatment, a patient lives a long, healthy and virtually normal life. But without treatment, the disease can grow progressively worse, skyrocketing medical costs with hospitalizations and causing severe disfigurement, disability, pain, and in some cases even results in death.

Medicare has no requirement for special lymphedema training or competence on the part of the therapists treating lymphedema patients. Compression garments are a crucial part of treatment, yet insurance covers a fraction of the cost of both the garments and the treatments. Medicare does not cover the supplies and garments at all, despite a recent AHQR review that included garment use as standard treatment of this condition.

Thank you again for joining Representatives Larry Kissell (D-NC8) and Ron Paul (R-TX14) in publicly supporting this bill as a co-sponsor. “The Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Savings Act of 2010” will change lives.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)
(include your address here, even if you’re sending this by email)

Sample Congress Letter:

Dear Representative [Name],

As your constituent, I am writing to urge you to sign on as a primary or co-sponsor of H.R. 4662, the “Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2010,” introduced by Congressman Larry Kissell on February 23, 2010. [Please list your credentials (if any) and any personal experience you may have with lymphedema (if any). Do you struggle with lymphedema? Does your mother? Son? Best friend? Are you a cancer survivor?]

As you may be unfamiliar with the disease, here is a link from the Lance Armstrong Foundation that explains the condition and its treatment: http://www.livestrong.org/site/c.khLXK1PxHmF/b.2660675/k.9471/Physical_Effects_Lymphedema.htm

Lymphedema is a medical condition affecting an estimated 2 million Medicare Beneficiaries. Secondary lymphedema sometimes results from surgery and curative radiation. H.R. 4662 is projected to save hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars every year in avoidance of costs of treating preventable lymphedema-related cellulitis. This act will reduce Medicare costs while improving patient care and quality of life. It will also expand patient access to qualified lymphedema therapy by extending coverage to qualified, specially trained lymphedema therapists who may practice under a qualified physician, physical therapist or occupational therapist.

The clinically-proven treatment of lymphedema is called “complex decongestive therapy” and includes manual lymph drainage, appropriate bandaging and compression garments, specific therapeutic exercises and proper skin care. It is used world-wide by the medical community, is not experimental and has decades of proven success. Unfortunately, not all components of this treatment fall under categories for which Medicare or private insurance companies typically provide coverage. With treatment, a patient lives a long, healthy and virtually normal life. But without treatment, the disease can grow progressively worse, skyrocketing medical costs with hospitalizations and causing severe disfigurement, disability, pain, and in some cases even results in death.

Medicare has no requirement for special lymphedema training or competence on the part of the therapists treating lymphedema patients. Compression garments are a crucial part of treatment, yet insurance covers a fraction of the cost of both the garments and the treatments. Medicare does not cover the supplies and garments at all, despite a recent AHQR review that included garment use as standard treatment of this condition.

Please join Representatives Larry Kissell (D-NC8), Ron Paul (R-TX14), and Phil Roe (R-TN1) by publicly supporting this bill as a primary or co-sponsor. For additional information or to (co)sponsor this bill, contact Zach Pfister in Congressman Kissell’s office at zach.pfister@mail.house.gov or 202-225-3715.

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)
(include your address here, even if you’re sending this by email)

Sample Senate Letter:

Dear Senator [Name],

Congressman Larry Kissel of North Carolina is Sponsoring H.R. 4662, the “Lymphedema Diagnosis and Treatment Cost Saving Act of 2010.” This bill is projected to save hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars every year by providing treatment to avoid preventable lymphedema-related complications. As your constituent, I urge you to sponsor an identical bill in the Senate.

[Please list your credentials (if any) and any personal experience you may have with lymphedema (if any).  Do you struggle with lymphedema?  Does your mother?  Son? Best friend?   Are you a cancer survivor?]

As you may be unfamiliar with the disease, here is a link from the Lance Armstrong Foundation that explains the condition and its treatment: http://www.livestrong.org/site/c.khLXK1PxHmF/b.2660675/k.9471/Physical_Effects_Lymphedema.htm

Lymphedema is a medical condition affecting an estimated 2 million Medicare Beneficiaries. Secondary lymphedema sometimes results from surgery and curative radiation. H.R. 4662 is projected to save hundreds of millions of tax-payer dollars every year in avoidance of costs of treating preventable lymphedema-related cellulitis. This act will reduce Medicare costs while improving patient care and quality of life. It will also expand patient access to qualified lymphedema therapy by extending coverage to qualified, specially trained lymphedema therapists who may practice under a qualified physician, physical therapist or occupational therapist.

The clinically-proven treatment of lymphedema is called “complex decongestive therapy” and includes manual lymph drainage, appropriate bandaging and compression garments, specific therapeutic exercises and proper skin care. It is used world-wide by the medical community, is not experimental and has decades of proven success. Unfortunately, not all components of this treatment fall under categories for which Medicare or private insurance companies typically provide coverage. With treatment, a patient lives a long, healthy and virtually normal life. But without treatment, the disease can grow progressively worse, skyrocketing medical costs with hospitalizations and causing severe disfigurement, disability, pain, and in some cases even results in death.

Medicare has no requirement for special lymphedema training or competence on the part of the therapists treating lymphedema patients. Compression garments are a crucial part of treatment, yet insurance covers a fraction of the cost of both the garments and the treatments. Medicare does not cover the supplies and garments at all, despite a recent AHQR review that included garment use as standard treatment of this condition.

I urge you to sponsor a bill in the Senate identical to H.R. 4662, and provide parity and adequate coverage for this disease. For additional information about the House bill, please contact Zach Pfister in Congressman Kissell’s office at zach.pfister@mail.house.gov or 202-225-3715.

Thank you for your help.

Sincerely,

(Your Name)
(include your address here, even if you’re sending this by email)

 

Bras May Increase Risk of Breast Cancer

Biomed Middle EastWhile it may seem a bit far-fetched to speak of ladies’ undergarments being out to kill us, it makes perfect sense that brassieres could at the very least increase our risk of breast cancer. A few days ago, I ran across an interesting article on this very subject whilst updating myself on world news.

Most of the women with whom I work wear bras that are WAY too tight.  This constricts lymphatic flow, making it extremely difficult for the body to cleanse the area of toxins (including carcinogenic chemicals).  These toxins build up and form lumps, cysts – even cancerous cells and tumors.  From a lymphologist’s standpoint, anything that binds too tightly (especially in bands – like bra straps, bra bands, underwear elastics, tight belts, etc.) can be a serious obstruction to proper lymphatic flow.

The research cited goes on to say that locally increased temperature may alter hormone production, thereby increasing the risk of breast cancer.  Melatonin production also seems to decrease the more a woman wears a bra.  Melatonin has powerful antioxidant qualities and has been shown to decrease the rate of breast cancer growth.

Please take a few minutes to read the linked article.  More research needs to be done, but the numbers are nothing short of shocking.  Of the 4700+ women involved in the study:

  • Women who wore their bras 24 hours per day had a 3 out of 4 chance of developing breast cancer.
  • Women who wore bras more than 12 hour per day but not to bed had a 1 out of 7 risk.
  • Women who wore their bras less than 12 hours per day had a 1 out of 152 risk.
  • Women who wore bras rarely or never had a 1 out of 168 chance of getting breast cancer – The same as men who don’t wear bras!
  • The overall difference between 24 hour wearing and not at all was a 125-fold difference.
  • 80% of bra-wearers who experienced lumps, cysts and tenderness saw the symptoms vanish within a month of going braless.

Please take this into consideration.  If you are going to wear a bra (and most of us women will, nonetheless), it is important to take some precautions.  A well-fitting healthy bra should be slightly loose. . . .  You should easily be able to slip two fingers under the shoulder straps and under the band at the rib cage.  Also, be sure to massage your breasts after removing your bra.  This will help stimulate the lymphatics to do their job and take care of you!

Read the BiomedME’s article at http://biomedme.com/general/could-bras-be-the-missing-link-to-breast-cancer_5766.html.

 

MLD Lowers Risk of Lymphedema

MedPage Today recently published an article reporting on the findings of a group of researchers in Spain. Their finding were published in the British Medical Journal this year. They found that breast cancer patients who received manual lymph drainage (MLD) after surgery had up to a 72% decreased risk of developing lymphedema!

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Massage, compression, exercise to ease lymphedema symptoms

By Linda S. Mah | Kalamazoo Gazette

November 12, 2009, 10:19AM

DELTON —

Fern Taylor, of Delton, wears a compression sleeve and glove on her right arm to help prevent buildup of lymph fluid after having lymph nodes removed from her breast.

Fern Taylor never knows when her lymphedema is going to flare up. She’ll notice a rash, then there’s a burning sensation and soon her arm swells up to three times its normal size.’

The first time it happened in 2003 “I had no idea what was going on,” said Taylor, who lives in Delton.

Since then, Taylor has learned that the swelling in her right arm is the result of a buildup of lymphatic fluid, which occurs because the lymph nodes in that arm were removed as part of her treatment for breast cancer.

“Basically, the fluids in my body went where they were supposed to go, but the lymph nodes were not there anymore to carry it through the body,” Taylor said. “So it got stuck.”

The lymphatic system drains fluid from bodily tissue and allows immune cells to travel throughout the body. Lymphedema occurs when the lymph nodes are unable to drain that fluid. The fluid pools in an area, causing the body part to swell and sometimes leading to discomfort from the pressure of the fluid buildup, a sense of heaviness, a decreased range of motion, chronic wounds and ulcers and skin breakdown.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Avid Runner Recovers Quickly from Sprain

 

Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) can be extremely effective in treating sprains. . . . Thanks for letting us know how well you recovered. We’re so glad to be able to help!  Now it’s time to start training for the Crazy 8’s 8K road race!

See more testimonials in our Testimonial section.

All of our testimonials are reprinted with permission. If you would like to make your story available to others, please let us know. Contact us at amma@ammatn.com or send us a letter the old-fashioned way.

 

Interview TMJ Expert

Interview TMJ Expert Amber Vachon

Want to interview an expert, and need an interview in a hurry? Call TMJ Expert Amber Vachon. Regardless of her location, Amber will make herself available for your newspaper or magazine interview, for your radio talk show, or for your television talk show. Amber has spent years studying jaw pain and the temporomandibular joint from a holistic standpoint and has developed a highly effective alternative treatment regimen for jaw pain. As one of the country’s leading TMJ experts, few massage therapists are better attuned to the challenges of TMJD sufferers than Amber. An interview with Amber is filled with valuable educational information for your audience.

Amber’s innovative TMJD manual therapy treatment regimen is gentle and non-invasive, making it a beneficial conservative treatment option. Manual therapy is highly effective in correcting malocclusions and the functional anatomy of the TMJ. Treatment responds to specific TMJ movement disorders by addressing the soft tissue of the TMJ.

Amber’s clinic, Appalachian Medical Massage Associates, serves the greater southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee area, drawing clients primarily from Abingdon, Bristol, Gate City, Greeneville, Jonesborough, Kingsport, Johnson City, Knoxville, and Wise.

 

What is Manual Lymph Drainage in Massage Therapy?

By Micaela Romualdez

Manual lymph drainage (MLD) refers to a very gentle kind of massage therapy used to get rid of excess fluid from the body and improve the overall role of the lymphatic system. This particular method of massage therapy is used to treat lymphedema, which is the blocking of lymph nodes in the upper and lower extremities.

MLD dates back to the early 1930’s when it was first used on patients as a useful way to detoxify the body. Nowadays, MLD is still used to improve the internal mechanism of the lymphatic system. This kind of massage is applied gently in a direction parallel to normal lymph flow in order to unclog any blocked lymph vessels and permit lymph flow to carry waste from the body freely. Read the rest of this entry »

 

What is Lymphatic Massage?

By Micaela Romualdez

Lymphatic massage is a gentle kind of massage. This massage serves to stimulate the lymphatic system to increase metabolism, remove cellular waste and debris, and promote a healthy immune system. Lymphatic massage is also known as lymphatic drainage. Read the rest of this entry »