Posts Tagged ‘MLD’

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 »

 

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.

 

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 »

 

Massage Primer

The practice of various massage techniques can be traced though human history and nearly every culture. Artwork and literature from many civilizations show that nearly all ancient cultures practiced massage in some form. This is shown in cave drawings by out prehistoric ancestors, ancient Chinese books dating back as far as 3000 B.C., medical textbooks by Greek and Roman physicians written in the millennia preceding Christ, Indian and Hindu tradition and literature dating back over three thousand years.

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Dealing With Lymphedema

Written by Charlotte Dovey

When Linda Parton defeated breast cancer – twice – she thought it was the end of her problems. In fact, it was just the beginning.

For, as a result of poor post-operative care, she developed lymphoedema, an incurable and hugely debilitating condition which causes painful swelling.

Linda Parton

Still in Pain: Linda Parton

Lymphoedema is caused by an impaired lymphatic system and affects 100,000 people in the UK, 25,000 of them after breast cancer surgery. The others are largely due to injury to, or infection of, the lymph vessels.

The lymphatic system clears unwanted protein and water from the tissues via the lymph vessels throughout the body. Lymphoedema occurs when the system is faulty in some way: fluid doesn’t drain from the tissue, but builds up, causing swelling or oedema.

While not all breast cancer patients develop the condition, their chances of developing it are greater because the lymph nodes are often removed during treatment, potentially damaging the lymphatic system.

The problem can be triggered by something as simple as having your blood pressure taken, which is what happened in Linda’s case. Other traumas that can set off the condition include lifting something heavy, a skin infection, a cut or insect bite.

In the early stages, the swelling – which usually affects either the arms or legs (the areas next to the armpit and groin, where glands are found) – may be slight, but over time, and if left untreated, the area may harden.

Read the rest of this entry »