MASSAGE THERAPY

Massage therapy was developed to improve the lymph and venous circulation in the lymphedematous limb. Massage can be performed with hands or with the help of automated pneumatic devices such as an intermittent compression unit, Hadomer, or circulator. The pneumatic massage device includes a sleeve and an air control unit; the sleeve envelops the limb and consists of five pneumatic cuffs, and the air control unit supplies compressed air into the sleeve. A method of undulatory massage is used to improve lymph flow. This method involves sequential inflation and deflation of the cuffs. The first cuff is inflated first to a pressure of 80 mm Hg, followed by the second cuff, and the first cuff is not deflated until the third cuff is inflated to prevent the lymph from flowing backward. During this process, the blood flow waves are recorded using a Doppler flowmeter.

No evidence of obstruction of blood flow is noticed during massage therapy; however, the venous flow is significantly improved. The tissue conductivity using the admittance plethysmography has been evaluated before and after the massage therapy. The conductivity of the edematous tissues was reduced almost to the normal value after massage therapy; and this resulted from improved blood flow. The core temperature of the hands was also measured during massage therapy and was almost close to that of the normal arm.65 Significant reductions in upper limb circumferences were also noticed after long-term massage therapy.

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  • Category: Women's diseases