5 Articles

Manual Lymphatic Drainage can help with Fibromyalgia

Manual Lymphatic Drainage can help with Fibromyalgia

Manual Lymphatic Drainage can help with Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, affecting millions of individuals. Fibromyalgia usually includes a number of symptoms the most prevalent being chronic widespread pain, tenderness and sensitivity to touch in muscles, joints and soft tissue, fatigue and sleep disturbances.

Although fibromyalgia is not life-threatening, it can be extremely distressing for sufferers. In the treatment of Fibromyalgia the main goal is for relief of pain. Fortunately, manual lymph drainage can offer positive results in the relief symptoms.

Manual lymph drainage is a unique therapy that can address pain in a different way. Compared to traditional massage, the pressure applied with manual lymph drainage is significantly lighter, with traction and gentle stretching of the skin and fascia.  The goal of these techniques is to manipulate the lymphatic structures located in the subcutaneous tissue and fascia. This is significant in treatment, as fascia is now considered to be an important factor in relation to managing pain syndromes such as Fibromyalgia.

So what is fascia?

Fascia is a comprehensive network of connective tissue that is found all over the body and contains lots of pain-sensing nerves. There are three layers:

Superficial Fascia, which is mostly associated with the skin; Deep Fascia, which is mostly associated with the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels; and Visceral (or Subserous) Fascia, which is mostly associated with the internal organs.

In fibromyagia (and other pain conditions), the brain is mistakenly triggering a ‘fight or flight’ response which then contracts muscle tissue and fascia. It is sustained tightness of fascia that can cause pain, generates inflammation and creates knots in muscles known as trigger points.

Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of manual lymph drainage (MLD) for the treatment of Fibromyalgia.[1] The rhythmic and gentle skin stretch technique has been demonstrated to show positive results for reduction in pain and stiffness, and improved sleep.

I recommend that my clients try at least two to three MLD sessions to determine if this physical therapy will be of benefit. Additionally learning self care strategies and scheduling ongoing maintenance is recommended for keeping flare ups at bay.

About the Author Amanda Da- Silva is a Licensed Remedial Massage therapist, Certified Lymphoedema, and Manual Lymphatic Practitioner.

Amanda incorporates techniques such as manual lymphatic drainage, myofascial release and somatic techniques for for musculo-skeletal dysfunction and pain.

Amanda is available at two locations:  Thirroul and Port Kembla

Save time! Book online!

Harmony Naturopathics – Thirroul:

Tel: 02 4268 1928

Alchemy Health – Port Kembla:

Mob: 0400 777 802

Amanda Da-Silva






[1]     Effectiveness of different styles of massage therapy in fibromyalgia: A systematic review and meta-analysis Susan Lee King Yuan* , Luciana Akemi Matsutani, Amelia Pasqual Marques  University of Sao Paulo, School of Medicine, Department of Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy, Rua Cipotanea, 51 e Cidade Universitaria, CEP: 05360-160 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil


Thrive During Cancer Treatment with Oncology Massage

Thrive During Cancer Treatment with Oncology Massage
Thrive with Oncology Massage

Thrive During Cancer Treatment with Oncology Massage

Oncology massage is an approach to massage therapy based in both compassion and specialised massage treatments to help people manage their experience with cancer. Oncology massage can play an important role in your cancer journey and is now recognised as an integral part of standard care.

Many people report positive affects from treatment and the research is showing much evidence in support of the benefits for Oncology Massage. Benefits include improved relaxation, sleep, and immune function as well as relieving anxiety, pain, fatigue and nausea.

Oncology massage therapists are trained to help people where they are in their experience with cancer, and create specialised treatment plans to support those during this time. Treatment plans are tailored according to the client’s needs which incorporate a range of cancer- related issues from the physical, psycholo-social and emotional aspects of cancer.

Personal goals for seeking treatment are also a focus during the session and can vary from respite offering a relating experience in the midst of what is going on, to more physical aspects such as relief from nausea, pain or peripheral neuropathy.

Many clients report that taking time out for massage offers help with getting through the remainder of their cancer treatments.

To learn more about Oncology Massage visit:

About the author: Amanda Da- Silva is a Licensed Remedial Massage therapist, Certified Lymphoedema, and Manual Lymphatic Practitioner specialising in treatment for;

  • Bodywork during cancer treatment: chemotherapy and radiation
  • Restricted movement after surgical procedures
  • Scars and adhesions after surgery
  • Mastectomy aftercare
  • Lymphoedema management
  • Fibromyalgia

Amanda is particularly passionate about using integrative techniques to help clients manage the symptoms of cancer treatment, and can work with you through all stages of chemotherapy and radiation to improve quality of life.

Two clinic Locations: Port Kembla and Thirroul, NSW

Online booking available:

Port Kembla:

Mob: 0400 777 802

Harmony Naturopathics – Thirroul:

Tel: 02 4268 1928

Arm Swelling After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation

Arm Swelling After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation
Lymphatic Health After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation.

Arm Swelling After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation

If you’ve recently had surgery to test lymph nodes for cancer cells (biopsy), undergone lumpectomy, mastectomy or radiation to the chest wall and armpit, you may want to think about ways to prevent arm swelling.

After surgery and radiation, lymph fluid may not flow as freely through the lymphatic system as surgery has removed some of the channels that would have carried the fluid. Radiation can close down some of those lymphatic channels also.

Once surgery and radiation are complete focus needs be on supporting your lymphatic system especially in and around the treated area.

Scarring from surgery and radiation can disrupt the flow of fluid however there are several alternative routes where the arm and chest wall drain so lymph fluid may be re-directed to other working vessels.

For this reason it is crucial to work with a qualified Lymphoedema Practitioner, who can design specific treatment plan for your needs, as well as teach you how to establish the best self care practice.

Your Lymphoedema Practitioner can also take a measurement using a device called an L-Dex which produces a Lymphoedema index value that can help determine if you are building up excess extracellular fluid in your at risk limb.

It must be said that Lymphoedema can develop months, or even years after the treatment for cancer, and while there is no known cure – it can be managed.

So how common is Lymphoedema?

According to research by the National Breasts and Ovarian Cancer Centre (2012), conservative estimates suggest that: “At least 20% of patients treated for melanoma, breast, gynaecological or prostate cancers will experience secondary lymphoedema”.

It is important to remember that lymphoedema usually develops gradually over time, so it is important to recognise the early signs and symptoms.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • A feeling of heaviness, tightness or fullness in the limb on the affected side
  • Swelling and/or pitting (pitting– If you press your finger to a swollen area and it leaves a dimple that doesn’t go away after a few seconds this is referred to pitting oedema).
  • Ache, pain or tension in the arm

If you have recently under gone surgery and radiation or have concerns about persistent swelling and Lymphoedema please feel free to contact Amanda on the details below.

About the Author   Amanda Da-Silva is a Qualified Remedial Massage therapist, and Lymphoedema Practitioner specialising in Oncology Massage and Mastectomy Aftercare.

Amanda Da-Silva

Save time! Book online!

Harmony Naturopathics – Thirroul:

Tel: 02 4268 1928

Alchemy Health – Port Kembla:

Mob: 0400 777 802

Lymphoedema! Are you At Risk?

Lymphoedema! Are you At Risk?

What is Lymphoedema? Are you At Risk?

In Australia the main cause of Lymphoedema, occurs after treatment for cancer, when lymph nodes are removed from the body by surgery or through damage by radiotherapy.

Lymphoedema is medically defined as a symptom of an underlying malfunction of the lymphatic system.

Lymphoedema is not the same as swelling that immediately follows surgery or injury, as some swelling is a natural part of the bodies healing process. It is a persistent and gradual build up of fluid to an area of the body. For example Lymphoedema may affect the arm after surgery, lymph node removal and/ or treatment to the nodes in the arm pit.

Secondary Lymphoedema can develop months, or even years after treatment for cancer, and usually develops gradually over time.The risk for developing Lymphoedema is higher for people who have several lymph nodes removed, and those who have both surgery and radiotherapy.

Most people who have surgery and node removal will not develop lymphoedema however it is important to self examine potential areas at risk of lymphoedema and be aware of any changes or persistent swelling.

There are some actions that you can take to reduce your risk of developing Lymphoedema or to help the condition from getting worse.

1. Keep active, and also take rest.

It is recommended that you follow a gentle exercise routine. Not all exercise is created equal when dealing with lymphedema. Gentle, low impact and consistent exercise is best. Don’t overexert yourself, start where you are and slowly build up.

Activities such as swimming, walking, yoga, cycling and light body strengthening are considered to be beneficial for reducing your risk of developing lymphoedema.

2. Support Your Lymphatic System

Avoid activities that will put extra strain on your lymphatic system such as

Be sure to wear comfortable clothing, including shoes and jewellery.

Garments that are too tight and cut off circulation can hinder natural lymphatic flow.

Be sure to avoid hot baths, saunas and spas as heat is known to exasperate swelling. Keep cool during hot weather and avoid getting sunburn to the affected area.

3. Skin Care

The skin acts as an important barrier against infection. If the skin is broken bacteria can enter the body and create infection. Infections may cause or worsen lymphoedema in the affected area.

Tips for skin care include regular moisturising of the skin to ensure that it has supple, natural coconut, almond oil or Jojoba oil are considered the best.

Be sure to clean any scratches, cuts and grazes immediately using an antiseptic solution, followed by an antibacterial cream and cover the area with a clean dry plaster.

4. Get regular Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

Receiving regular Manual Lymphatic Drainage (or Decongestive Therapy) is a proactive way to ensure that your lymphatic system is being supported, as well as monitoring your risk of Lymphoedema.

During your treatment session your Lymphoedema Practitioner will create an individualised treatment program based on your needs to ensure that your healthy lymphatic vessels are working and that any persistent fluid is redirected.

In addition to receiving a nurturing and relaxing massage your lymphatic Lymphoedema Therapist will take base line and follow up measurements, and will monitor any changes to the tissue of areas at risk.

Your Qualified Lymphoedema Therapist can also teach you self care massage techniques, so you that you may keep a routine in between treatments sessions.

If you have concerns about Lymphoedema or persistent swelling please feel free to contact Amanda on the details below.

If you’re ready to support your Lymphatic Health save time, book online!

About the Author Amanda Da- Silva is a Licensed Remedial Massage therapist, Certified Lymphoedema, and Manual Lymphatic Practitioner.

Amanda is available at two locations:  Thirroul and Port Kembla

Save time! Book online!

Harmony Naturopathics – Thirroul:

Tel: 02 4268 1928

Alchemy Health – Port Kembla:

Mob: 0400 777 802

Amanda Da-Silva

Pregnancy Cankles – HELP!

by Amanda 0 Comments
Pregnancy Cankles – HELP!

Pregnancy is full of new and exciting experiences like feeling your little bundle moving around inside you for the first time. It can also come along with some unexpected changes to your body such as swelling, especially to the ankles and feet.

Swelling can be experienced at any stage of pregnancy and is more likely during the 3rd trimester, around the 27 week mark.

During pregnancy, the body produces more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy and helps prepare the pelvic joints and tissues to open for delivery.

Normal swelling is typically experienced in the hands, legs, ankles, and feet and can become uncomfortable.

You may not be able to stop parts of your body from swelling. But the good news is, you may be able to limit how severe it is, here are 2 things that Lymphatic Therapists know work a treat!

1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

This hands on therapy can be very supportive if you are suffering with tired feet, swollen ankles or aching and heavy legs. It may not be possible able to stop parts of your body from swelling however you may be able to limit the severity of fluid accumulating and discomfort experienced.

It is important to note that sudden swelling of the feet, ankles, hands and face indicate a more serious condition called pre-eclampsia.  Symptoms of pre-eclampsia include high blood pressure and protein in the urine which should be picked up by your G.P. during your check ups.

How Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Help?

MLD is a very gentle specialised massage which works specifically with the lymphatic system in the direction of lymph flow.

MLD promotes optimal functioning of the lymphatic system facilitating the removal of wastes, excess water, toxins and bacteria from the connective tissue – sometimes referred to as the body’s waste disposal system, resulting in reduced fluid retention, swelling, lighter legs and improves the appearance of stretch marks.

It is recommended to book an appointment as early as the first trimester, particularly if you already have swollen ankles, your legs ache and feel heavy or have any circulatory issues or varicose veins.

2.  Dry Body Brushing

Dry brushing is a health practice, which involves brushing over the skin dry, followed by a shower or bath.  It stimulates the lymphatic system and also facilitates the removal of wastes and excess fluid.

This is a safe practice to incorporate into your health and self care routine during pregnancy.

Tips for body brushing:

1. Stroke brush in one upward movement 

2. Brushing upward and towards the major lymph nodes in the body, such as the groin, armpits and base of neck.

3. Work from left to right, which is the natural direction when massaging the body.

Precautions: Never skin brush over inflamed skin e.g. open wounds, inflamed sores, varicose veins, sun burnt skin. Avoid dry brushing the face with firm bristles.

Use a Brush made from Plant bristle eg. coconut husks or from the agave plant provides the best exfoliation and stimulation for your skin. They are the highest quality, long lasting and don’t scratch the skin.

Other tips to manage swelling during pregnancy:

  • Avoid standing for long periods, and do engage in exercise: Walk, swim, cycle
  • Stay cool on warmer days
  • Actively cool down the legs – pour lukewarm or cold water over the legs, from the feet upwards
  • Use cold compresses on swollen areas
  • Rest with your feet elevated
  • Wear medical compression stockings
  • Wear comfortable shoes, avoiding high heels if possible
  • Avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles

If you have any concerns or questions about swelling and/ or Lymphatic Drainage feel free to contact Amanda.

About the Author Amanda Da- Silva is a Licensed Remedial Massage therapist, Certified Lymphoedema, and Manual Lymphatic Practitioner.

Amanda is available at two locations:  Thirroul and Port Kembla

Harmony Therapeutics, Thirroul- For bookings please call 02 4268 1928 or book online at

Alchemy Health, Port Kembla –  For bookings please call 024244 8244 or book online at                                 

Amanda Da-Silva