Archives for posts with tag: Vodder

I figured it was time I “came out”.  The truth is, I don’t just work on the physical body.  I’ve always been a little different to most people and I have kept that side of me separate from my work for all these years.  Or so I thought.

I’d always thought that if I said to my lymphatic clients that actually, I was working with them on an energetic level as well physically they would think I was nuts and never come back.  Then I had it pointed out to me (gently) that if I thought my clients didn’t realise it on some level I was deluding myself.  You see, my clinic probably looks a little different to most.

I like crystals.  There, I said it and now it’s in the public domain!  And I have lots of things  that might look a little different scattered around.  And I use energy sprays and sound and cards.  Who did I think I was kidding?

But make no mistake, I am very much working on the physical body and using my Vodder training to treat the many different conditions I see in the clinic … Lymphoedema, Lipoedema, autoimmune conditions, general oedema, pain, surgical swelling.  It is not an either/or situation.

Here are a few photos to show you what I mean.

And a link to a quick listen of my crystal pyramid, one of my favourite tools.

This is just an introduction, a coming out of sorts.  I’m going to write a few more blogs about what some sessions with me look like so you can get more of an idea.

I feel very strongly that we need to be treating the whole person, not just the symptoms we are presented with.  I’m sure most therapists feel this way as well, I’m just not sure how many are able to use all their different techniques freely.

Let’s start a dialogue – got questions?

I’m just back from a week in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia having attended the 2016 Asia Pacific Lymphology Conference.  I’ve made a very short video giving a few highlights for you to view  here.  I’ll be working on a few blog posts over the coming weeks to talk about what I learnt at the Conference.  I’m still processing all the information – my brain hurts!



I had a new client on the weekend.  Her daughter had called a week before to check that I had experience working with breast cancer and of course I was able to reassure her that I did.  On Saturday she came with her mother who is visiting from Germany.

Mum had breast cancer in January 2013.  She had a mastectomy, no radiation or chemo and is on Tamoxifen.  Here’s the clincher … she’s been having MLD in Germany every week since her surgery!  In Germany MLD is provided on Medicare, free of charge.  My goodness, wouldn’t that be nice here in Australia – that is the way it SHOULD be.  That way the risk of developing lymphoedema is minimised significantly.

I have to say I was a little nervous – here was someone who has had a lot of MLD, in a country where it is a way of life.  To me it would be a test of my abilities and in my own head I was worried that my technique wouldn’t be up to what she received in Germany (even though I get fantastic results and am totally convinced by the efficiency of the training I have received).

Daughter stayed in the room during the treatment as Mum spoke no English and she was avidly watching the process.  I could see that after I had created pathways away from the affected axilla to the unaffected side and down to the nodes in her groin and started on her arm, she had questions.  So I explained how we cleared the arm, moving fluid out from the midline to the outside of the arm, away from the armpit, then moved it along the outside of the arm up to the neck area.


Photo courtesy Google Images,

At this stage, she translated for Mum what we were talking about and Mum’s response was that I was being much more thorough than anything she had in Germany!  In Germany they don’t seem to create pathways down to the groin, certainly not to the level that I’ve been taught.  And the arm work is much more intricate than what she has had before.  And she loved being turned on her side and having work done to move the fluid away from the armpit and towards the deep nodes lining the spinal column.

It was a lovely confirmation on just how effective Vodder treatment is and I’m so pleased that I took the time last year to requalify in the technique.

A listing in the NLPR is the bees knees in the manual lymphatic drainage world.  For those not in the know, NLPR stands for National Lymphoedema Practitioners Register and it’s a listing on the ALA (Australasian Lymphology Association) website.  Getting a listing on this website is one of the many reasons why I upgraded my skills this year and it has been a process to get there (and I’m not quite there, but almost … I think).  Click here to read about the NLPR on the ALA website.  Professionals, particularly in the oncology world, point patients to the NLPR to find therapists so it is vital to have a listing, it adds credibility to your practice.

On the Monday after I finished my Vodder training I sent off my paperwork to rejoin the ALA (I had let me membership lapse last year).   I had a call from the ALA to give me a refund of part of my membership fee as I had sent in the full amount for a full membership, but as I’m not a physiotherapist I can only be an associate member, silly me, I did know that from years ago but it slipped my mind.  I kept checking to see if my name was listed on the register but after two months I decided to write an email checking to see how long it would take.  As I finished sending my email I received one from my trainer, Jan, who was frustrated that none of us who completed the training had put ourselves on the register.  Isn’t timing amazing?  I quickly forwarded her the email I had just sent and shortly afterwards received a reply from the ALA that pointed out that membership to the ALA and listing on the NLPR were two completely separate things!  Oh, ok.  Not one of the fifteen of us who were eligible to join had worked that out.  Hmm.

So.  I duly filled out the paperwork, attached all the required documentation and paid the additional fee.

And I waited.

And Eureka, on Friday I got a certificate from the ALA confirming my listing on the NLPR!  Yay.  Here it is.  I’m still not up on the website so I presume it will be listed in January (as that is when the certificate is current).  Small steps.

NLPR registration certificate

NLPR registration certificate

It’s funny sometimes how you have a run of one thing or the other.  Obviously in my practice I see a lot of ladies who have been through cancer treatment of some form or another, but I use my lymphatic drainage for other conditions too and in the last three weeks I’ve had four clients come through with balance, migraine or sinus issues (or a combination of all three).  It’s as if they were waiting in the wings until I had finished my Vodder training.

Manual lymphatic drainage can be used to treat a number of different conditions, not just lymphoedema.  I learnt some new techniques at the Vodder training which involve working on the hard and soft palate of the mouth (the roof of the mouth).  I know that sounds horrible but it’s actually very relaxing and beneficial.  After clearing the neck fully and the lower part of the jaw, the roof of the mouth is cleared using one finger (with a finger cot on to keep things sterile!) with very light pressure.   Working with the hard/soft palate is beneficial in treating migraines, ear conditions (including balance issues), sinus and even post stroke.  After clearing the mouth the rest of the face is treated using special techniques for the nose, eyes and ears, depending on which are affected.


Hard and soft palate.
Photo courtesty of google images,

I had a new client come in who was initially diagnosed with Meniere’s Disease (for more info go to  Later they changed the diagnoses to migraines.  He has lived with headaches and dizziness for most of his life.  We were taught a protocol for both those conditions, in fact, the treatment for both is remarkable similar.  I’m not sure he remembers much of what happened, he was asleep in five minutes.  It’s quite disconcerting having someone sleep while your finger is in their mouth – I coped with that.  When I was working on his eyes (literally) he decided to do a snore and wake himself up which made me jump and almost bash into the wall behind me.  Once I stopped shaking from the fright I finished off the rest of his face while he fell straight back asleep.  He’ll be in for his third treatment this week so we’ll see how he’s progressing.

At the other end of the spectrum I had a new client who is seven years old and who has been plagued by sinus all her life.  She was very patient with me and coped very well with the mouth work (I did bribe her with a gift of her own finger cot at the end).  Poor thing, as if having a finger in your mouth wasn’t bad enough I then cleared her ears thoroughly which includes me sticking my finger right at the base of the ear canal.  I did clear my last client’s ears too but he slept through it all so it wasn’t an issue at all.  I think she’ll be more comfortable at the next visit seeing as she’s experienced it all now and knows what to expect.

Then an old client came in who has been a bit dizzy.  Can I point out here by the way that all have been to the doctor to check for underlying issues.  We’ve done a couple treatments (along the same lines as the other two clients) and she was off for further scans on Friday, so I’ll find out how she’s going next week.

And one of my favourites was my good friend Annie’s mother.  She’s 81 and the most elegant lady I know, other than my mother who looks good in a house dress!  She had a car accident a couple months ago and since then has been feeling a bit dizzy (but on the plus side her metal heart valve doesn’t make as much noise when she’s relaxing!).  So again, very similar treatment with the hard/soft palate work.  The only problem of course is that she has a plate with dentures on it covering the roof of her mouth.  Tact and decorum is part of my work.  When it came time I turned around to put on my finger cot and she removed her plate and when I finished I turned around again and like magic it reappeared.  Then she said “do I talk too much” (Annie, are you crying with laughter yet?) and promptly fell asleep for the rest of the session.  She has a follow up this week so we’ll see how she feels.

I know I haven’t given miraculous results here, everyone’s a work in progress.  I just wanted to share another application for manual lymphatic drainage that perhaps you weren’t aware of before.  There are so many others, but we can save those for another day.


Well, here it is, my certificate showing my certification as a Vodder therapist.


My certificate

It has been an amazing four weeks.  I have learnt an incredible amount, met some amazing fellow students and without a doubt some amazing lecturers, whom I’ve named and given links to in previous blog posts.  I need to mention at this point the wonderful Sheryl who was in the background helping with organisation and giving us encouragement the whole way through – Sheryl has been a Vodder therapist for many years and her insight throughout the course was invaluable (and I have to mention also her calm and lovely touch, a beautiful addition to the team).  Thank you Sheryl.


Vodder graduates, Sydney 2013

The last few days were pretty intense, with each of us having to perform some of the techniques on Koby, our lecturer (poor Koby, 16 people with nervous, clammy hands all trying to keep calm and do our best), a bandaging exam and a pathology exam.

We could have pulled anything out of the hat … for the bandaging it could have been a simple case of lymphoedema post surgery or it could have been a venous issue (or various other things of course), short stretch or long stretch.  My case scenario was someone with swelling in the lower leg because of a venous issue, so that called for a long stretch bandage to the knee.

For the pathology exam, well, the range of health issues we could have had to deal with was enormous – mastectomies with swelling or fibrosis and arm lymphoedema, or tight scars causing range of motion issues; secondary lymphoedema in the legs post hysterectomy, prostrate cancer, gynaecological cancers; primary lymphoedema in the legs; chronic sinusitis, detached retinas or traumatic eye injuries; tinnitus; Meniere’s Syndrome; facial nerve paralysis; whiplash; migraines; hip or knee replacements; shoulder pathologies; trauma to any joint; venous ulcers; treatment after cast removal after fractures … you name it.  Out of all that, I pulled out a mastectomy with nodes removed from the axilla and radiation with swelling in the arm.

We finished our exams by about 12.30 on Friday and we were given a long lunch until 3pm while Koby collated all our marks.  We trooped along to the food court and all had lunch together then made a dash to the park in Burwood to soak up some of the beautiful sunshine we’d been missing, it was the most perfect day to be outdoors.

Then it was back for photos and results.

This weekend I’ve been playing catch up with all the things I’ve neglected for the last four weeks … the kids, the cleaning, speaking to family and friends, walking around the farmer’s markets and enjoying a coffee outdoors.  It feels strange to be able to sit down and not have to study or practice something, but I’m certainly not complaining!

Really looking forward to putting it all into practice now.

Thanks to everyone for their support throughout, your words of encouragement have really spurred me on.

Three weeks in and I can’t quite understand where the time has gone.  Seriously, I feel like a day went missing this week.  Monday and Tuesday were spent listening to Professor Neil Piller, of Flinders University, talking about some of the conditions that can be treated with manual lymphatic drainage; some of the tests that can be run to see how the lymphatic system is working, which pathways the lymph is using; some of the equipment we can have in our clinics to help us tell what is going on with our clients’ bodies; some of the equipment we can use to help in our treatments; more anatomy and yet more physiology.  I think my brain is going to explode.

On Wednesday we had our first class with Koby Blanchfield, an accredited practical instructor with the Vodder School.  This week it’s all been about treating conditions and bandaging.  The only interruption to the practical work this week was another theory exam on Thursday morning on everything Prof Piller taught us.  Glad to be done with that one.

Here’s a photo of my poor daughter, bandaged up while watching TV on Thursday night.  My kids are very patient with me thank goodness.


Bandaging my daughter for homework – please note the adorable pink bunny slippers in the background! How cute are they?

This weekend’s homework is more bandaging, studying all our basic treatments as well as all the “specials” in preparation for more scenarios next week.  

Maybe I can allow myself a sleep-in on Sunday!

I’ve managed to survive another week.  In no small way thanks to the amazing people I’ve spent the last two weeks with – the ones who have kept me laughing when we all felt like crying.  Day one we were advised by our lecturer, Jan Douglass (, that for the next few weeks we had “no life” – which lead to two of us instantly sticking our hands in the air and singing … “no life, without wife”.  If you’re not into movies then you won’t get the reference – that’s from a movie called Bride and Prejudice, a fabulous adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, set in India (  After two weeks of singing that refrain I just couldn’t resist, I had to watch the movie tonight to celebrate being half way through the course.  And to celebrate passing my first lot of exams.


Vodder Therapy 1 certificate

This week involved a lot of physiology study, a lot of talking about how the lymphatic system works, a lot of practices of sequences, “specials” – special tests and treatment for specific areas that are commonly problematic, like the shoulders, elbows, wrists, hips, knees, ankles, and a fair amount of panic.  On Thursday morning we had our theory exam and this morning we had to pick a slip of paper with two body parts on it and do the sequence for treating the areas – without any notes.  If only you knew the volume of new information we have been subjected to in the last two weeks then you might understand the panic of trying to memorise every sequence for the entire body on top of all the theory.  I had to perform the sequences for the bum and right arm on my “client” and she had to do the nape of the neck and the breast on me.  Let me point out here that all manual lymphatic drainage is done skin on skin, think about it.  I have had the breast sequence done on me three times in the last two weeks, twice by men!  I guess you lose all inhibitions after a few days.

On Monday and Tuesday next week it will be all theory with Prof Neil Pillar (, followed by another exam.  The rest of the time will be spent with Koby Blanchfield ( who will teach us the practical component for treatment of people with impaired lymphatic systems and all our bandaging.

Another week with “no life” … but lots of learning!

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.