An upcoming lymphoedema information day in Tamworth will give a Gunnedah massage therapist the chance to learn more about how she can help her clients.
Simpatico Massage Therapies' Sally-Anne Hall said it was "great" that the annual event on March 21 was being held in a rural area in Lymphoedema Awareness Month.
Mrs Hall said she was looking forward to hearing from world-renowned medical researchers and other health professionals.
The therapist is trained in lymphatic management techniques and uses these methods to help Gunnedah residents manage their lymphoedema.
In her words, lymphoedema is "a progressive chronic condition that it results from insufficient transport of fluids and proteins from a limb or an area of the body".
"This then results in an accumulation of protein-rich fluids in the tissue spaces, which presents as swelling," she said.
"Lymphoedema will continue to progress if untreated."
Mrs Hall said she began training in lymphoedema management in 2017 and has become a member of the Australasian Lymphology Association.
"I guess my journey started when I started doing oncology massage. I knew a lot of my oncology clients had lymphoedema and I wanted to be able to help them more," she said.
But lymphoedema isn't just an issue for cancer patients - there are many other causes. The condition can manifest after trauma and operations, or from immobility, chronic infection or cellulitis. People can also be born with lymphatic issues.
"I think probably more people have lymphoedema than is commonly recognised," Mrs Hall said.
Now is the best time to care for your body.Sally-Anne Hall, Simpatico Massage Therapies
The therapist said early detection and management was key to comfort.
"People don't realise they can actually do something about it and it is easy to manage if it is recognised early or diagnosed early on," Mrs Hall said.
"If they have an area that looks bigger than normal or bigger than the other side, or tightness in jewellery, their shoes or clothing, but haven't put on weight, it's really important to go and see a doctor and a lymphatic therapist.
"Now is the best time to care for your body."
Mrs Hall said exercise and good skin care were important and she demonstrated other methods to clients that they could use at home including compression and self-lymphatic drainage.
"I really like to demonstrate for people the things they can do at home so they can manage lymphoedema at home and I like to show people how to do self-lymphatic drainage at home."
Mrs Hall uses manual lymphatic drainage to reduce swelling
"Manual or medical lymphatic drainage is a very gentle massage technique that stretches the skin in order to move fluid from an area of oedema/swelling to lymph nodes and areas where the lymphatic system is working sufficiently," she said.
Mrs Hall trained in the fill and flush technique overseas last year and is "really excited" about the positive effects she's seeing in her clients.
"I went to UK to learn the fill and flush technique because they have proven that the technique works for lymphoedema," she said.
"It's really encouraging to see the difference that this technique can make for reducing lymphoedema in my patients in conjunction with other management strategies."
- The Lymphoedema Information Day will be held on March 21 at the TRECC in Tamworth.
- For more information, visit the Lymphoedema Support Group Tamworth NSW on Facebook.