Australia Pacific Lymphology Conference 2016

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This joint meeting of the Australasian Lymphology Association and the International Lymphoedema Framework provided the opportunity for a rich  and diverse conference program.

Highlights for me were the keynote and plenary speakers who reminded us of work done by early lymphologists, reinforced what we know about the lymphatic system and demonstrated experimental imaging that gave us a peek into the future of MLD referrals.

I really enjoyed Marlys Witte’s workshop on medical ignorance, the importance of recognising what we don’t know and asking questions.

I was able to deliver 2 papers from the PhD research.

Presenting 3 A reliability study on the tissue tonometers which showed that all three are reliable devices to use in the Myanmar Study.

RS title slide


And some preliminary results of the Myanmar early detection study showing that there is a difference in the asymptomatic legs of young people in Myanmar who are infected with LF compared to uninfected controls.

LFED title slide

This is a  link to the pdf of the presentation.

PDF of the Early Detection Presentation


On the last day there was a ‘Hot Topics’ panel session which turned out to be not so ‘hot’ since everyone agreed that MLD is still an effective and necessary component of lymphoedema management. I tweeted it via @Jan-MLD 

I delivered two post conference workshops on Lymph Taping

Malou tapedApplications for Lymphoedema

Three hours of basic taping techniques, theory on the physiological effects of the tape and correct stretch and placement for seroma and unilateral arm lymphoedema


Lymph Taping in the Tropics – Three hours of exploring the tape as an alternative to compression. Participants attempted to tape their own hands as a glove replacement.

some what not to dos with taping
Malou’s hand with some of the taping designs we were trying
taping Darwin 2016
Thank you Malou for assisting me the whole day ….
…. and for helping to cut tape the night before
sunset at Mindil
It was lovely to be in the tropics again







Who’s training you???

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Since becoming an accredited Instructor with Vodder Schools International I have received numerous emails and questions from people wanting to know about ‘other’ training programs.

I can’t comment on the content or quality of any other courses but there are some facts that prospective students should be aware of.

Recognition of your qualification
If you are planning to treat people with lymphoedema then you should only consider courses which are recognised for entry to the National Lymphoedema Practitioner Register (NLPR). The NLPR is an assessed register which means that everyone on it has undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications suitable for lymphoedema management.

The NLPR is managed by the  Australasian Lymphology Association which is the peak body for lymphoedema therapists in Australia and New Zealand. You can read more about the ALA and the NLPR at

ALA Home page


Benefits of listing on the NLPR are:

  • Access to client services. Some institutions such as DVA now require the therapist to be a member of the NLPR in order to provide rebates. Most garment schemes also have this requirement.
  • Validity of your services. Because the register is assessed it is used and trusted and by health professionals who want to refer patients

What technique is being taught?
There are two primary techniques used for lymphatic drainage.

  • Lymphatic effleurage. Performed with a flat stroking movement. It acts like squeezing a tooth paste tube. You clear the fluid inside the lymph vessels by applying a light pressure along the lymph pathway.
  • Manual lymph drainage (MLD) which is a very precise movement of the skin in a circular direction. This triggers a reflex in the lymph vessels which increase their pumping activity. It is like turning on the vacuum cleaner, the increased movement in the vessels will ‘suck’ the fluid from the extracellular space into the distal end of the lymph vessel. This increased lymph motoricity has been shown to last for several days after the treatment.

"Stationary Circles" The foundation technique in MLD. The skin is stretched in a circular pattern with and increasing pressure and then passively returned to a zero phase. This precise pressure (imagine the weight of a couple of coins resting on the skin) and movement of the skin is what activates the lymph vessels to pump harder.“Stationary Circles” The foundation technique in MLD. The skin is stretched in a circular pattern with an increasing pressure and then passively returned to a zero phase. This precise pressure (imagine the weight of a couple of coins resting on the skin) and movement of the skin is what activates the lymph vessels to pump harder.

What other conditions will I be able to treat?
People with lymphoedema often have complex needs – frozen shoulders, knee and hip replacements, carpal tunnel etc. Any increased inflammation in the body will exacerbate lymphoedema, and the symptoms of these conditions seem to be exacerbated in the lymphoedema limb. Only the Dr Vodder course provides training in drainage of all deeper structures such as joint capsules, skeletal-muscular attachments and trigger points.

And what most people don’t realise is that you can use these same techniques to treat everything you might have previously treated with deep remedial techniques. With MLD you will get a better result faster without pain for the client and without stressing out your own body. Sounds too good to be true right? Have a look at some of the case studies on the Facebook Page

Quality in training is a key component of the Vodder School philosophy    

and I am proud to be accredited by them to teach this important technique. The courses offered by Vodder Schools International meet and exceed the Australian Lymphology Association (ALA) Training Guidelines for Lymphoedema
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The Vodder School also offers a review class to keep therapists current with clinical practice and research on an international level. Practical trainers accredited by the school (like me) undergo an intensive 4 – 8 week training program at each level and must pass stringent practical and theory exams. Instructors must also renew their accreditation annually.

This ensures that every instructor is completely up to date with latest research and clinical practice and to maintain a high standard of technical expertise. Lymphoedema assessment and theory is taught by internationally recognised academic and medical experts in their field. In Australia this is often Professor Neil Piller.

A biography of all instructors can be viewed at