Archives for the month of: July, 2013

Wow.  Not sure where to start.  I’ve just completed the first week of my Vodder training – the basic level.  While what I have been using for years was based on the Vodder technique and the sequences and ideas are similar, the touch is very different.  I thought what I had been doing was a very light touch, but I think I’ll dream the words “lighten up” for a very long time to come.  Along with “make sure your little finger is on the body”.  These two phrases were the most often repeated all week.  By Wednesday I think we were all shell-shocked and wondering what we were thinking enrolling on the course.  By today though, we were all feeling more confident that we at least understood what we were doing wrong!  Sigh.


Vodder basic certificate

We were a mixed bag – seven students in all.  There was one other lady who had experience giving lymphatic drainage, she was only doing the basic course but I’m sure she’ll be back another time to add to her knowledge.  None of the other ladies had any previous experience giving lymphatic drainage but most had experienced a treatment themselves.  All the women were massage therapists.  And we had one gentleman from Korea who is a physiotherapist.  

I have a lot of studying to get through this weekend and of course I’ll be trying some of my new techniques on my clients tomorrow.  

But I think I’m looking forward to being able to sleep in on Sunday more than anything else right now – my alarm goes off at 5 am every morning and I walk through the door at about 7pm each night.  Long days indeed.

One week down, three to go.  So much to learn, so many inspiring people to meet and learn from.

Watch this space.

So … pause for effect.

Next week I will commence a four week training course in the Vodder technique of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.  I paused for effect because, well, I already use the Vodder technique – I was taught it when I did my diploma at Nature Care College back in 2005/2006. ( .   Updated 16/7/13 – I suddenly thought that I should clarify here – the teaching I received was based on the Vodder Technique, not the actual technique itself.  The problem is that Nature Care no longer teaches the Diploma and hasn’t offered any follow up sessions until this year when they offered an oncology seminar.  I tried twice to attend this, they were both cancelled.  Frustrating.

The even bigger issue is that the ALA (Australasian Lymphology Association – – which is the place to find out all about lymphology, treatment, research, practitioners and education in lymphology – does not recognise the Diploma I received.  As a massage therapist, to be registered as a practitioner on the ALA website (there are different levels of registration – medical practitioners, physiotherapists, nurses and other allied practitioners and massage therapists) they require a qualification in the Vodder or Foldi techniques (whom I consider the ultimate in lymphatic drainage) or in the Casley-Smith technique (another excellent method) or a certificate from the Academy of Lymphatic Studies (I haven’t come across them before).

What frustrates me the most is that I haven’t been able to do any continuing education in lymphatic drainage since I qualified in 2006.  (My diploma consisted of 126 hours of class time and 52 hours of clinic time.)  I decided that seven years is enough, I needed an update.

And the only way I can do that is to redo my entire qualification.  So.  Next Monday I start four weeks of intensive training in the Vodder technique through The Vodder School (  I am excited, even though I have to start from scratch I know that I will learn lots of new things and being able to ask questions from a much deeper level of understanding than the first time round will be immensely beneficial.  And one of the most exciting things is that Prof Neil Piller will be delivering some of the course (  He is considered an expert in lymphoedema treatment in Australia and carries out research in all aspects of lymphology, amongst other things.  It will be an honour to be able to spend time learning and speaking with him.


Image courtesy google images,

What this means for me is four weeks off work. The course runs Monday to Friday, 8.30am to 4.30pm and I’ll be travelling 1.5 hrs each way.  Not sure how I’m going to go with all of that but I guess it’s one day at a time.

But I’m thinking that there may not be too many blog posts during that time, I’ll have to see how much energy I’ve got.  But then again, there may be so many interesting things to pass on that I just have to sit and write about them.  Watch this space.

This is a blog from one of my clients – she has learnt so much along the way and gathered a fantastic team of therapists to help her find her strength back. Hers is the most empowered journey I’ve come across so far. Onwards and upwards!

Intuitive Living

What about lymphoedema? There are so many opinions about what causes this, who will get it, what you need to watch out for, how you can ensure you don’t get it.

I had my sentinel (lymph) nodes (in the chest wall) removed and then in a separate operation, where 18 lymph nodes were removed. This was the most painful part of the surgical procedure – 5 days in hospital, 15 days with a drain and months of pain, discomfort and tingling nerves. Fortunately the nodes were cancer free.

I didn’t even think about lymphoedema, especially because I was slim, until my surgeon said to me, “it would be good if you went to see Teresa Lee”, a lymphatic physiotherapist. I couldn’t get into see her, but I did see her colleague, Carol Morris.

There was so much I didn’t know and hadn’t thought about. The first thing she said to…

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I just had to write about this result.

E is the lovely lady who tried to organise the grant from Bendigo Bank for me to purchase my laser.  She’s been a regular for over three years now, coming monthly to keep her lymphoedema under control and she’s had intensive treatment at Mt Wilga Hospital.  She wears her sleeve daily and bandages herself when she feels the need.  She also exercises regularly.  Lymphoedema is part of her daily life.


This is me demonstrating on my boss how the laser works

E came in to see me last week to try out the new laser.  She’s had laser before at Mt Wilga and found it very benefical.  She was surprised to see the size of my LTU-940, it is a hand held device and so quite small and very portable and the one at Mt Wilga is a pretty big machine.

She’s been having some physio for the last few months, as she has some inflamed tendons in her shoulder but she had not had much relief and last week her physio suggested she get a cortisone shot.  She hasn’t been able to wipe down the kitchen benches or iron or even get into the pool for her aquaerobics. She had a call into her GP to discuss it, because she wasn’t too keen on the idea.  What I felt is that the laser would help both on a lymph and a muscular level – it was certainly worth a try.  She also had some sciatic issues on the opposite side to the arm, so sleeping was impossible as she couldn’t lay on the left because of the sciatica and couldn’t lay on the right because of the arm, so all in all, a very frustrated camper.

So, I laid her on the table and I started working from the top of her arm, three points in a row then coming 2cms down and working another three points in a row and so on down the upper arm.  By the time I got to her elbow she said the pain was almost gone!  At that stage I was able to raise her arm to work in the axilla and down the inside of her upper arm, then down the forearm (her tightest area is down the front of the forearm into the wrist).  We did 30 minutes of laser and one hour of manual lymphatic drainage.  At the end of the sesssion she had no pain!  She was in shock (so was I if I’m honest, didn’t expect such a big result).

The next morning at about 11.30 I got a text from her and she’s given me permission to write it verbatim here …

Hi Lisa, thank you so very much.  I had the best night’s sleep.  I tossed and turned a couple of times that I knew of but no where near the pain that I have had the last few weks.  Woke up at 9.40am and only because the phone rang.  Still feel the problem but so much better with no pain.  So a big thank you.  May need another next week for sanity.

I spoke with her this morning, four days after treatment and she’s still feeling much better.  Still not able to do her housework, but pain levels are way down.  She’s booked in for a follow up later this week.

Loving that laser!

Gee, those aren’t exactly the words you want to hear when you ask a client how they felt after their last treatment.  “It felt really weird”.  Hmm.  Let’s backtrack a bit.

“A” came in for her first treatment in May.  She’d had a lumpectomy in 2012 and eight weeks of radiation.  She’d had some nodes taken but they were all clear.  She’d noticed swelling in her breast right after surgery but had enough on her plate and didn’t give it much thought.  It hadn’t gone down and had got a little worse.  She goes to the same cancer support group I go to and I had given her my business card a while back and she decided to give me a go.

When she came in, she had some pain and stiffness in the shoulder on the side of the surgery that was impacting on her exercise routine so I did some Emmett Technique quickly to release that then went on to the lymphatic work, clearing pathways away from the affected side and showing her how to clear her own nodes and tissue as well.  At the end of the session her shoulder felt better but she seemed a little skeptical about any difference in the fluid in her breast.  We booked her in for two weeks later.

Two weeks later she came and said that her shoulder still felt better but that the breast didn’t feel any different.  We did some more Emmett, but to both shoulders this time so that she would feel more balanced, then went on to the lymphatic drainage.  This time, while I was working, I felt like we had achieved good clearance and she said it felt pretty good.


She came for her next appointment and that’s when she greeted me with “it felt really weird”.  Luckily she followed that up with … “I woke the morning following the treatment and felt my breast and it felt really weird … there was no fluid … it was just breast!  And it felt like just breast for a full week and when it started to get fluidy again I got my husband to clear it away from the breast like you showed me.”  I had to smile, I think her husband clearing her breast is good on so many different levels, not just to move the fluid along but also to empower him to be part of her recovery, not to mention a bit of intimacy.  I think she’s a convert!