Dr Vodder's Manual Lymph Drainage. A Practical Guide.
Author: Johnson, Gillian
Pub Date: 07/01/2011
Publication: Name: New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy Publisher: New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2011 New Zealand Society of Physiotherapists ISSN: 0303-7193
Issue: Date: July, 2011 Source Volume: 39 Source Issue: 2
Accession Number: 288537996
Full Text: Dr Vodder's Manual Lymph Drainage. A Practical Guide. Gunther Wittlinger, Hildegard Wittlinger, Robert H. Harris. Thieme Stuttgart New York 2010. ISBN 978-3-13-143191-2. Soft cover. 141 pages. RRP: $104 (www.fishpond.co.nz )

Manual lymph drainage is a specialized large-surface massage technique made up of a combination of round or oval, small or large, large area circular motions that move the skin without sliding over it which is designed to stimulate smooth lymphatic flow. This book, a translation of the German edition of the same name, is a compendium of theory and step-by-step descriptions of manual lymph drainage techniques according to Dr Vodder who first developed these approaches in the 1930's.

The book is divided into four main parts. Part 1 is the theoretical section accompanied throughout by a comprehensive set of excellent illustrations and diagrams. The anatomical section includes a detailed description of the lymphatic systems from the structure of the lymph vessels, nodes, pathways and drainage systems along with lymphatic anastomoses which exist between different regions of the body. The physiology of the lymphatic system is also outlined including protein circulation and transport and the physiology of the exchange processes between the interstitium and the function of the lymph vessels. The topic of lymphedema is also covered including its complications and physical reactions. Additional indications for manual lymph drainage such as phlebedema are also described. The theoretical section concludes with a set of questions and answers covering the key principles covered in part 1.

Part 2 outlines the features of manual lymph drainage and underlying physiological principles, indications and contraindications and the effects of these massage techniques. A detailed outline of edema assessment, measurement and recording processes required for documentation purposes are also included in this section.

Part 3 provides detailed instructions of how to apply the manual lymph drainage techniques to individual regions of the body including special techniques and expanded sections for the treatment of secondary lymphedema of the arm and leg. Although detailed images of appropriate hand positions accompany the instructions outlined in this part of the book the editors provide a cautionary note that manual lymph drainage 'cannot be learnt from a book' and that special training is required to master these techniques. Certainly this advice would hold for the novice therapist regarding learning these skills based on the information contained in these chapters alone.

The final section of the book incorporates complementary approaches to manual lymph drainage including skin care, compressive therapy, therapeutic exercises and respiratory therapy and taping techniques. The section on compressive therapy contains useful information regarding the relative applicability of bandaging materials and their indications. The accompanying taping techniques are designed to create a negative pressure in regions of the body that are difficult to bandage.

The book concludes with a historical section outlining the work of Dr Vodder and his personal philosophies underpinning manual lymph drainage. The appendix provides an excellent summary of key website addresses for lymphology and related research and educational sites for lymphedema management and manual lymph drainage courses.

The lymphatic system is often overlooked in rehabilitation therapy and this book fills an important gap within the therapeutic massage literature. The anatomical and physiological sections of the book would be a valuable resource for any educator covering the topics of the lymph system and lymphedema. Therapists who have attended manual lymph drainage training courses or those involved with the management of patients with lymphedema will find this text both useful and informative.

Gillian Johnson PhD, MSc, Dip Phty, FNZCP

Senior Lecturer, School of Physiotherapy, University of Otago
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2011 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.