Lymphoedema and Lipoedema sufferers report their effective findings of self treatment with DEEP OSCILLATION®

Self-management plays an important role in the care of Lymphoedema and Lipoedema in order to reduce and keep swelling and pain to a minimum. Three sufferers have kindly given their accounts of using DEEP OSCILLATION® therapy to maintain their condition between sessions with their MLD therapists. The electrostatic massage system, which permeates an 8cm depth; through skin, subcutaneous fat, muscles, blood and lymph vessels and the connective tissue, is both portable, easy to use and is an effective tool for keeping symptoms maintained.

"As a result of breast cancer twenty years ago I have periodically suffered from Lymphoedema and I started having regular MLD massages in September 2011. I was loaned a Physiopod for four weeks by my therapist over a holiday period and I found it so helpful that I decided to buy my own. I have had my machine for nearly three months now. I use it at least once a day, usually before I get up in the morning. It keeps my Lymphoedema in check between visits to my therapist, and we have now reduced my sessions with her to one a month. The machine is very easy to use and recharge and with its neat packaging is easy to transport when I go away. It can be used for several other conditions as well and I have used it successfully when my husband had a painful back.

I look upon it as an investment for my future and am delighted I bought it"

Liz, United Kingdom.

"I have suffered with Lymphoedema of my leg for twenty years with two episodes of cellullitis that has resulted in painful fibrosis. During this time MLD and bandaging has helped control my condition. However after only three weeks of daily Deep Oscillation the pain has diminished, fibrosis has softened and my ankle shape has returned. The constant battle of Lymphoedema had left me feeling isolated and depressed but I now feel optimistic about the future. The unit is small and easy to use and Julie at Physiopod is always very kind and helpful should there be any queries. I am delighted with this remarkable treatment and hope that in the future more patients will be able to benefit from Deep Oscillation"

Agnes, United Kingdom

"After myself and my mother were diagnosed with Lipoedema last year we found huge benefits from receiving regular manual lymphatic drainage treatments. As good as that is, financially it just isn't possible for us to go weekly. So when the Hivamat was recommended to us a few months ago by a well-respected MLD therapist, we hadn't heard about deep oscillation therapy, and wanted to find out more. We were given a demonstration of her Hivamat, and were so impressed that Mum decided to take the chance and invest in a personal unit for us to both use. We can't begin to say how much of a difference it has made - to come home, use the unit for 20 minutes, and for it to take the heavy, fluidy, feeling out of our legs and arms and more importantly to relieve any pain. Thanks to the Hivamat, we have been able to halve the number of MLD massages we go for. Although it seems so gentle when using it, the massage helps to move a lot of fluid out of limbs. We would have no hesitation in recommending the Hivamat to anyone, especially other sufferers of Lipoedema"

Louise, United Kingdom


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 is Lipoedema?

(Taken with thanks from Wikipedia)

This is a disorder of adipose tissue and it involves the excess deposit and expansion of fat cells in an unusual and particular pattern - bilateral, symmetrical and usually from the waist to a distinct line just above the ankles and unlike the "normal" fat of obesity, lipoedemic fat cannot be lost through diet and exercise. Surgery is highly controversial, and in many cases, can make the condition worse.

Lipoedema usually is triggered at puberty, but can trigger or worsen during or after pregnancy, at peri-menopause, and following gynecological surgery. If Lipoedema is diagnosed early, which currently is very rare, it is possible to prevent a significant expansion of lipoedemic fat cells, and to alert patients to their heightened risk for obesity so they can take appropriate action.
Estimates of the incidence of Lipoedema vary widely, and range as high as 11% of the post-puberty female population.

What is the treatment for Lipoedema?

Treatment is designed primarily to address the secondary lymphoedema part of the Lipoedema patient's condition (as outlined above). This treatment includes a course of manual lymphatic drainage and bandaging by a Lymphoedema therapist, followed by the wearing of custom-fitted compression garments or devices - usually stockings and sometimes biker shorts. Compression prevents recurrence of lymphoedema, and in some Lipoedema patients can reduce the pain of lipoedemic fat. There is no cure for Lipoedema.

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.

  • DEEP OSCILLATION is applied through gloves, the patient holds a small bar to make the three way connection. Applicators are also used by the therapist and for self treatment.

  • DEEP OSCILLATION is used for all types of Lymphoedema and is particularly effective on stubborn fibrosis.

  • The British Lymphology site gives valuable advice to Lymphoedema sufferers and includes a list of qualified Lymphoedema Therapists

  • MLDUK promotes public awareness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) from the point of view of both the patient & potential practitioners. It also features a list of accredited therapists and details of courses for those wanting to become therapists.

  • After breast cancer treatment, such as removal of lymph nodes or radiotherapy to the armpit, about 1 in 5 people will have lymphoedema of the arm. Source: CancerResearch UK