In 2011 I commenced a Diploma of Remedial Massage developing my knowledge of how tissues, muscles, organs, and tendons work in harmony to keep us functioning as healthy humans. My curiosity for the lymphatic system and lymphatic massage was sparked by a passionate teacher during my studies at Victoria University. This teacher taught me to delve deeper when trying to help people live a more balanced lifestyle. As a long time, sufferer of sinus issues, I instantly felt the benefits of lymphatic drainage by the immediate and long-lasting congestion relief that I still feel to this day. I was immediately hooked on everything related to the lymphatic system and needed to know more!
Kerala, India 2011
I always knew there was more to western styles of medicine and continued my search for likeminded health practitioners with a holistic approach. As part of my studies at Victoria University, I attended many external placements to compliment my clinical experience. Through a mutual contact, I reached out to Dr Manik, who’s career traditionally centred around general medicine and cardiology within the hospital systems in India
Kerala is commonly referred to as “God’s country” and the clinic’s location did not disappoint. The grounds of the clinic are situated within an amazing jungle-like retreat. On arrival, each patient including myself, would undertake a formal health assessment to gather information via lifestyle habits, allergy testing and iridology. Based on the findings of this comprehensive assessment a holistic treatment plan was created that included organically grown foods, mostly in the fields located directly near the retreat, and other health based treatments to reduce the impacts of detected environmental and food allergies. Dr Manik kindly created a treatment plan for me, which was amazing, besides having to omit my beloved two daily cups of coffee.
I spent many hours conducting consultations and participating in treatments (the salt steam bath was one of my personal favourites), with patients who were overwhelmingly happy to have finally found a doctor that approached health from a well-rounded holistically centred perspective. Many of the conversations I had with Dr Manik’s patients centred around what led them to seeking out this style of treatment. Most patients spoke of careers leading to burnout, pressures of family life, and having chronic health conditions.
My Kerala experience was nothing short of amazing, I often reflect on how a holistic and natural approach to treating those patients’ conditions by incorporating many styles of medicine, led to a dramatic increase in the overall health and wellbeing of countless patients, including for my own health.
Hinterzarten, Germany 2012
As I neared the end of my studies, I truly understood the profound importance of a healthy functioning lymphatic system thanks to my experience in India, coupled with an amazing mentor who was very passionate about the lymphatic system and lymphatic massage. This newfound passion urged me to apply to join the Foldi Clinic’s yearly Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT) English run course, taught by Guenter Klose, a former Physical Therapist at the facility.
The Foldi clinic is Europe’s foremost lymphoedema research facility and hospital run by a lovely married couple, Professors Michael & Ethel Foldi. This facility serves an important function of assisting patients from all over Europe manage their severe lymphoedema related conditions to live a more fulfilling life. Without receiving treatment many patients would have been left in such a horrible state that everyday activities such as walking, tying up shoelaces would’ve been nearly unthinkable for some.
The basis of treatment within the hospital was around the CDT model which includes five components of treatment: Manual Lymphatic Massage Drainage, Exercise Prescription, Nutrition, Bandaging and Self Care. Depending on the severity of each case most patients required an eight week stay with a tailored CDT model to meet the needs of each presenting chronic lymphoedema related condition.
Once again, I was extremely privileged to have been trained at a wonderful facility alongside many allied health and medical professionals from all over the world. The clinical placements conducted within the Foldi Clinic provided me with a wonderful start to a new career. Widespread knowledge of the treatment of lymphoedema was in its infancy in Australia when I returned from the Foldi Clinic. As the lymphoedema community continues to expand this also provides more education on the benefits of CDT and how health professionals can access further support for their clients. There is also growing support for more publicly funded facilities to assist chronic lymphoedema patients via Medicare services.
Within a few months my of returning from Europe, I was contacted by RMIT University to assist with the development of manual lymphatic massage and drainage techniques alongside soft tissue therapies across the remedial massage, myotherapy programs and health-based initiatives for NGO’s in Victoria and India.
It is my fundamental belief that everyone should have access to universal health care and that money should never be a barrier. We all want to live a comfortable life where we are free to enjoy the things that bring us joy.
As I transition away from full time teaching to focus more on clinical practice, I look forward to spending more time helping my clients live a more fulfilling life by managing their inner health.