Kate a lady with primary lymphoedema of the lower limbs wrote to PhysioPod to offer her feedback on owning a DEEP OSCILLATION PERSONAL

Kate says it is often said that Lymphoedema is more of a psychological disability than a physical one and she feels this is a very accurate way of describing how it has affected her. She is now much more positive and delighted that the therapy has provided benefit in her lower legs which now show no signs of swelling and also in other areas of her body, which she hadn't thought were affected by Lymphoedema.

arm lymphoedema


DEEP OSCILLATION® applied via gloved hands from therapist or via applicator as self treatment to the areas affected by Lymphoedema


Hi Julie,

I wanted to offer some feedback for my experience with the personal machine so far. I have been so pleased with the results, and they have gone beyond any expectation I had previously thought, and to think I am only just getting started is really exciting. Just a couple of years ago my leg shape was very typical of someone suffering with lymphoedema in the lower limbs. I had no real calf/ ankle definition and my feet remained constantly puffy. With this, tightness in the skin due to the swelling has often been very uncomfortable, especially during the summer months. I would also show signs of pitting on my lower legs when pressure was applied. I have now been using the machine most days for the last few months and combined with gentle exercise I feel I own a whole new pair of legs.

I now have almost completely no signs of swelling in my lower legs and the lymphoedema has been isolated to my feet where it was first diagnosed when I was born. Not only has the machine brought incredible results to my legs it has changed my upper body areas in ways I had previously thought were not affected by my lymphoedema. By concentrating heavily on my neck and under my arms I have reduced swelling and improved the quality of the skin that have previously been affected by acne due to the build up of fluid in these areas. I used to experience severe pains under my arms and by clearing these areas daily with my machine I now have no pain or swelling.

I have previously suffered from bad spots on my face, chest and back, I had put this down to my teenage years and hormones, however since using the machine all these areas have improved beyond recognition. The machine has not only given me legs I never thought Id be able to have, it has improved my overall wellbeing, in both the physical and mental sense. Growing up as a teenage girl and looking different has proved difficult at times and has lead to many years of hiding myself away and not putting myself in situations whereby I might have to expose my legs.

Denial of the condition has always been easier and has meant never really facing up to my condition. I read that lymphoedema is more a psychological disability than a physical one, and I feel this is a very accurate way of describing how it has affected me. It has previously reduced my confidence, prevented me having a relationship and ultimately lead to periods of feeling mildly depressed and alone. I feel strongly that if I had had more support and direction towards MLD and the deep oscillation machine, many years wouldn’t have been wasted in this way.

I now feel there is hope that I can achieve things and do things most people take for granted on a daily basis. I would love to become involved with supporting the machine and increasing awareness. My Lymphoedema nurse I feel has not been encouraging of MLD or this machine which I feel is tragic, and meant I stumbled across it many years after I could have. I have also learnt through facing up to the condition how support for younger sufferers is minimal. I was wondering if you knew of any directions I could take in becoming more involved with the machine, I know most MLD therapists and people using the machine have a nursing back ground, do you know of any roots in? I have also been back to have my legs measured since using the machine and I have decreased the volume of fluid in my legs significantly and so far have lost a diameter of 10cm around each calf, I am due another appointment soon and believe this figure will be even more encouraging.

Thank you for your time, Kate.


What is DEEP OSCILLATION and is it proven to help Lymphoedema?

DEEP OSCILLATION® is a patented electromechanical therapeutic procedure using resonant vibration of the tissue with DEEP OSCILLATION® equipment from Physiomed, Germany. A special design makes it possible, using electrostatic attraction and friction, "to produce mechanical vibrations in treated tissues of the body, not only at the skin on the surface but also in deeper tissues" (Brenke and Siems 1996). Schönfelder and Berg (1991) refer to a "penetrating vibration and pumping effect deep into the tissue". The frequency can be varied in the range from 5-250 Hz. The treatment applicator and the patient are connected to the equipment (voltage source). A vinyl film between the applicator and the patient functions as a dielectric. This results in a weakly conducting capacitative layer between the contact surfaces. In action, pulsed electrostatic attractions draw the tissue to the applicator and release it at the rhythm of the chosen frequency. The therapist sets the pressure gradient, speed and direction of the movements. The patient can treat himself if appropriate. The treatment procedure is characterised by minimal external mechanical effects, which allows it to be used in cases of acute pain, fresh injuries and in treatment of wounds. Numerous pilot studies have demonstrated pain reduction, minimisation of oedema and anti-fibrotic effects. It is commonly used for the treatment of Lymphoedema (Jahr, S., Schoppe, B. and Reißhauer A. (2008) Effect of treatment with low intensity and extremely low frequency electrostatic fields (Deep Oscillation®) on breast tissue and pain in patients with secondary breast lymphoedema. J. Rehabil. Med. 40, 645-650). For other study references see section References above)

What is Lymphoedema?

Lymphoedema occurs when the lymphatic system does not work properly. This results in the long-term swelling of part or parts of the body. It can can be classified as Primary or Secondary, depending on the cause. It may be present at birth, develop at puberty or in mid-life. Secondary lymphoedema may occur following treatment for cancer, surgery, radiation therapy, recurrent infections or trauma.

What happens in the body when Lymphoedema is present?

When the lymph nodes or vessels are blocked the lymph fluid is unable to pass through them, the extra tissue fluid cannot then drain away normally and it builds up. This causes (oedema). Although not reversible, (because the causes cannot be reversed) an early diagnosis is very helpful for managing its progression.

What type of massage is advised?

Manual Lympathic Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which the practitioner uses a range of specialised and gentle rhythmic pumping techniques to move the skin in the direction of the lymph flow. It is a specialised massage technique designed to stimulate the flow of fluid and reduce swelling and must only be performed by a qualified practitioner. DEEP OSCILLATION® can be combined with MLD techniques. To read a list of practitioners combining the two therapies for effective results please click here

Simple Lymphatic Drainage (SLD) massage (including deep breathing exercise) is performed by the sufferer. The SLD technique is taught to sufferers by MLD & Lymphoedema Practitioners. It is vitally important that sufferers and relatives are taught the correct technique, in order to push the lymph fluid and its contents in the correct direction of flow. Self treatment can be combined with DEEP OSCILLATION® using the DEEP OSCILLATION® Personal SPORTS - to read more testmonials click here

Further Helpful advice for Lymphoedema sufferers can be read at the Macmillan website, at MLD UK and The British Lymphology Society (BLS)

Controlling and managing symptoms - self care can greatly help improve quality of life:

Making changes to diet following advice from a practitioner

Keeping to a healthy weight and avoiding smoking.

Wearing properly measured compression garments

Performing remedial exercises which are designed to activate the muscles in the limbs to improve lymph drainage

Regular skin care routines to prevent infection and injury

Qualified Lymphoedema Practioners offer MLD and Decongestive Lymphatic Therapy (DLT) which will include:

Multilayer lymphoedema bandaging (MLLB) and compression garments to move the fluid out of the affected limb.

Lymphoedema Kinesio taping - a special stretchy tape is applied directly onto the skin. It gently lifts the top layer of skin, allowing the superficial lymph fluid to flow more easily. (Combined with bandaging/and or compression).

Skin care and exercises.