Lymphoedema can be defined as an accumulation of excessive proteins, oedema, chronic inflammation and fibrosis secondary to the impairment of the lymph vessels.
CDT has been shown to relieve Oedema fibrosis and the accompanying pain and discomfort of these conditions.
CDT is a combination of manual lymph drainage (MLD), compression bandaging, exercises and skin care. It may also involve breathing exercises, compressive garments and dietary measures.
A significant proportion of those who survive lower torso cancer treatments will go on to develop clinically discernible bilateral or unilateral leg lymph edema. Although beneficial treatments exist for this condition, many are expensive and involve visits to outpatient clinics or allied health professionals – making the patient dependent upon others for treatment and maintenance. This clinical trial tested the efficacy of the Zen Chi, a home based therapy that delivered both elevation and passive exercise to the legs.
This machine was used in the participant’s home according to a set regime with measurements being taken immediately before trial commencement, at weekly intervals and then 1 month after treatment cessation. After a three week treatment period there were statistically significant reductions in total leg volume and fluids, whole body extracellular fluid, weight and subjective leg symptoms. Lymphscintography in a sub-group of patients suggested an increase in lymphatic transport in some individuals. Although some of the fluid and symptoms had returned at the 1 month follow up, none of the parameters had returned to pre-treatment levels.
This finding indicates that this equipment may have ongoing beneficial effects. This clinical trial demonstrates that the Zen Chi exerciser is an effective adjunct therapy that can be used in the patient’s own home.
“Thank you for the treatments – they have given me immense relief.
It is hard to even recall now the heaviness that was in my arm a few weeks ago.”
“After lymph node removal and radiation for melanoma I experienced discomfort and swelling in my left arm. I have had treatment with Catherine and have found great improvement. I have no hesitation in recommending Interactive Therapies as a professional, caring clinic. Their support and advice has been very worthwhile and knowledgeable.”
Interactive Therapies has the only Lymphstar Pro/Fusion machine in Auckland
We have been working with one of our clients using a protocol for lymphoedema that differs from the current CPT that is given within hospitals. This technique is Lymphatic Enhancement Technology, which utilises electronic and manual stimulation for fluid acceleration, and is a new and innovative approach to treating the lymphatic system.
Combining both the Lymphstar Pro/Fusion® and manual stimulation techniques, Lymphatic Enhancement improves lymph fluid acceleration. The Lymphstar Pro/Fusion® provides various fields of low vibration energy provided by radio frequency waves, with the intention of stimulating the lymphatic capillaries to increase fluid flow as well as break down protein-rich fluid in the tissue space.
Over a recent one year study, conducted by Desiree De Spong, Aetiology Ltd, it was found that when treating three post breast cancer lymphoedema cases, using impedimed XCA measure, the baseline improved after six treatments and has continued to maintain with a one six weekly treatment over the one year period. As part of this research Desiree was awarded a research fellowship with Flinders University in Adelaide to work alongside Prof Neil Pillar to explore the short term impact of gentle mild frequency vibration delivered to the chest wall and axillary area in patients with clinically diagnosed breast and chest wall lymphoedema secondary to breast cancer surgery. The results for this trial are currently being compiled and will be available for publication in the near future.
For more information on Lymphoedema visit the Vodder web site: Vodder School
New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation: