Services We Offer To Help You
Lymphedema and Chronic Swelling Management
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal swelling of a body part or region. The lymph vessels that carry the fluid are damaged and/or overwhelmed. This leads to the build-up of fluid, protein and wastes in the tissues.
Lymphedema is a chronic, progressive condition that can be manageable. Early recognition is optimal.
Are You At Risk?
Lymphedema can be classified into two main categories:
Primary lymphedema: Some people are born with poor or nonfunctional lymphatic vessels. This condition can be seen at birth or not manifest until later in life.
Secondary lymphedema: This form of lymphedema is acquired through trauma, disease, long standing venous disorders or prolonged immobility to name a few causes. The greatest number of clients we see with lymphedema have had cancer treatment where a combination of surgery, radiation and/or lymph node removal has occurred.
How is Lymphedema Treated?
Lymphedema is treated by Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT). There are four main components to CDT.
1) MLD (manual lymphatic drainage massage)
2) Compression therapy
4) Skin care
At Swelling Solutions, we deem education an important fifth factor of lymphedema treatment so that our clients can make informed decisions regarding their treatment and be well equipped to manage their swelling. Treatment is performed by a therapist trained in decongestive therapy.
Initial Visit (1-1.5 hours)
During this first visit you and your therapist will discuss your health history. Your therapist will do an assessment and provide you with education about chronic swelling and lymphedema. Together you will come up with a treatment plan that suits your needs. Treatment may begin during this session, but some people with complex health conditions may be asked to see their family physician first for further testing or approval for treatment before treatment begins.
Each treatment plan is tailored to the individual client. Therefore, number of sessions and time per session will vary. Please contact us for further details.
Treatment is not covered by the Provincial Health Care program.
Lymphatic drainage therapy is covered by extended health care plans as a modality of massage therapy. Some insurance providers require a doctors prescription for massage therapy. Please check with your provider.
Pneumatic Compression Therapy
Our clients use the pump sessions as an added modality to their lymphedema self-management in the maintenance phase of care.
Registered Massage Therapy
Our therapists are registered with the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and offer:
1) Relaxation Massage
2) Aromatherapy massage
Reflexology is the application of pressure to areas on the feet, hands and ears. Reflexology is generally relaxing and may be an effective way to alleviate stress.
Several studies funded by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health indicate that reflexology may reduce pain and psychological symptoms, such as anxiety and depression, and enhance relaxation and sleep. Studies also show that reflexology may have benefits in palliative care of people with cancer.
Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. It is administered by "laying on hands" and is based on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through us and is what causes us to be alive. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.
Educational Seminars and Workshops
Catharine Burt RN, BScN, RMT, CDT has many years experience designing courses and developing programs for massage therapy students, nurses and the public. She has had the pleasure of speaking at a local cancer support center as well as national conferences on the topic of lymphedema, exercise for lymphedema and compression options for lymphedema.
Proactive Measures Program
(Free interactve workshop)
At Swelling Solutions, Catharine has developed and holds a Proactive Measures program for cancer survivors who are at risk for lymphedema. The two hour sessions are held once a month on a Saturday. Registrants receive education on lymphedema, risk reduction strategies and learn how to monitor and measure their at-risk limb. Contact the clinic for further information.
Assistive Devices Authorization
Individuals diagnosed with Lymphedema are eligible for funding through the MInistry of Health and Long Term Care's Assistive Devices Program (ADP).
The initial application, changes to garments and biannual re-application require a signature by an authorizer. An authorizer is available at Swelling Solutions. The process involves an assessment and measurement of your limb. There is a fee for this assessment. Please bring your ADP form, signed by a doctor, to the clinic for your appointment.
Authorizers at Swelling Solutions:
Catharine Burt RN, BScN, RMT, CDT
Lydia Vasek RMT, RRPr, CDT
Lymphedema Education and Awareness Group
The Lymphedema support group meets the last Tuesday of every other month, 7 pm, in the Victoria Room, downstairs, at Victoria Place, 290 Queen St. South, Kitchener, ON
Please call Swelling Solutions to register and for directions. Meetings are held if there is a minimum of attendees, so please call first.