We have a range of therapies available, depending on the location and severity of the lymphoedema. Our team will always design a programme of treatments best suited to the individual which promotes as much independence as possible.
Our aim is to:
Your appointments with us are as important as an appointment you may have with your consultant or GP. Whilst you will be given a choice for your appointments, it may not always be possible to accommodate your exact requirements. Therefore, there may be times when you are required to be flexible in order to receive your treatment.
People with lymphoedema are very vulnerable to infection and any dry or cracked skin can increase this risk as it provides a route into the bloodstream.
Follow this advice to keep your skin healthy:
Compression garments are an important way of controlling lymphoedema.
Sleeves can be used for swollen arms and stockings for swollen legs. Compression garments are also available for lymphoedema affecting the breast/chest and genital area.
They work by:
All the specialists in the Woodside team are experienced in selecting, measuring and fitting compression garments.
These are available in different grades of pressure depending on the degree of lymphoedema you have. They come in a range of shades to match different skin tones and hypo-allergenic types are available for people with sensitive skin.
Some garments are available ‘off the shelf’, or you may need to have them made to measure. Once you have been measured and fitted, your GP can prescribe the garments going forward. Your specialist will measure you and let your GP know the most appropriate type and correct size for you.
People are encouraged to perform simple lymphatic drainage (SLD) regularly and incorporate this into their daily routine. The specialists at The Woodside can provide instruction in person, backed up with written notes to refer to. It is all centred around making sure people have the information and advice on how to help and manage their condition themselves.
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) will be offered following SLD if further specialist intervention is needed. It works as an intensive treatment over a specific number of sessions – i.e. not on an adhoc basis.
The specialists at The Woodside Clinic are all trained in Casley-Smith Manual Lymphatic Drainage, while and two are also trained in LeDuc medical lymphatic drainage. All members of the team have their practice updated every two years as a minimum standard.
The aim of MLD is to shift or encourage the extra lymph to move away from the swollen area so it can drain normally. MLD also encourages and improves lymph drainage in the healthy lymph vessels, which helps keep fluid away from swollen areas.
It is important to note that breathing techniques are a key part of this treatment – further information is provided ahead of the treatment.
The Lymph Active Programme
‘The Lymph Active Programme is a therapeutic dance class designed by American dancer Sherry Lebed with the input of her two brothers – both doctors – after she developed lymphoedema following breast cancer.
It is designed to be a fun and sociable activity easily adapted to many different levels, which includes movements and stretches designed to help aid and boost the lymphatic system.
Movements come from jazz, ballet and physiotherapy exercises, which are put into a new context using popular music from the 1930s to modern day, and props such as soap bubbles, hats, floral leis and feather boas.
The moves are designed to be easily transferable so that they can be repeated and practised at home, away from the class.
Courses run in six-week blocks from The Mill, within the grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice. Referral onto the programme is made via your specialist.
At the Woodside Clinic we encourage our lymphoedema patients to participate in Nordic Walking to stimulate the lymphatic system.
Walking is a highly recommended exercise for those who suffer from lymphoedema of either the upper or lower extremities. Nordic Walking is extremely useful, as the weight of the legs is supported by the poles.
Nordic Walking originated in Finland in 1997 and has become increasingly popular all over the world. It can be enjoyed all year round and compared with ordinary walking, Nordic Walking puts less strain on the body.
There are numerous benefits of Nordic Walking:
Kinesio Tex Taping® is a new and effective treatment for lymphoedema. The specially designed taping techniques work by increasing the body’s ability to drain lymphatic fluid to healthy lymph nodes.
Unfortunately Kinesio tape is not available on the NHS. If a course of treatment is found to be successful, the team encourages people to purchase their own tape to help them continue to self-manage their lymphoedema.
This treatment can be particularly effective for fluid gathered in the breast and face, as well as pockets of problematic swelling which are difficult to move.
All of The Woodside specialists have completed recognised training for the application of Kinesio tape to level three standard.
The LymphAssist is a powerful piece of equipment which is designed to mimic the principles of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.
It works on both arms or legs and The Woodside Clinic has two machines with garments suitable for both.
By mimicking the pressure and sequences of MLD, the LymphAssist promotes drainage of fluid through the lymphatic system.
Healthy eating is important. It is known that a high body weight stops the lymphatics working well. Two of our members of staff are trained in supporting individuals with weight management issues and give advice on healthy eating, this program is incorporated as part of our Lymph active program.
All our nurses within the lymphoedema service have attended a nationally recognised specific advanced bra fitting course and in addition have also trained with the Anita care company. They have undergone specialist training for the measuring and fitting of bras.
Many women wear a wrong sized bra, which can influence your looks and most of all can affect your posture. In the lymphoedema service we don’t just use a tape measure to find out your size, we also fit you with a bra to ensure correct sizing and comfort fitting.
Here within the department we use a company called Anita. Anita puts great importance on quality, comfort and function of their products whilst meeting various needs of women of all types and ages.
Anita care offers basic bras, fashionable bras, sports bras, comfort bras, maternity bras and post surgery bras (All bras are made of soft, skin friendly materials. The post surgery bras have a slightly higher-cut, stretch neck line and a wide, softly elastic underbust band which holds the breast form firmly in place. The straps become wider in the larger sizes to ensure comfortable support.)
Anita care offers a wide range of swimwear, from swimsuit, bikini to tankini. The Anita swimwear range is helping to ensure a care-free swimming with breast forms resistant to chlorine and salt water
Low level laser therapy (LLLT) was first introduced for the treatment of post-mastectomy lymphoedema.
The treatment uses infra-red lasers operating at an invisible wavelength of 904 nanometers. This penetrates deeply into tissue where it is absorbed by cells and converted into energy that aids in reducing the swelling of lymphoedema.
The laser can also aid softening of fibrosis and scar tissue and is particularly useful in treating cording.
Deep Oscillation Therapy is a totally unique form of physical therapy.
It uses an intermittent electro-static field, which is built up between the hands of the therapist or an applicator attachment, and the soft tissue of the patient, by means of the Hivamat machine.
What makes this form of therapy unique is that it penetrates much deeper into body tissue than traditional manual methods.
Electrostatic waves create a ‘kneading’ effect deep within the damaged tissues, restoring flexibility and blood supply to the affected area, thus stimulating the breakdown of swelling and inflammation.
Deep oscillation therapy also helps to stimulate local immunity and helps to speed up and improve the body’s natural wound-healing processes.
Furthermore, it helps to relieve pain and stress, making the patient feel fully relaxed and comfortable.