Lymphoedema and Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Lymphoedema is the term used to describe a swelling anywhere in the body, most commonly the limbs, brought about by an impaired lymphatic system. The condition known as Primary lymphoedema can be present at birth, develop at puberty or in mid life. Secondary lymphoedema can occur following recurrent infections, trauma, surgery or treatment for cancer when some or all of the lymph nodes in a part of the body have been removed or treated with deep radiation therapy. Approximately 25% of those treated for breast cancer in this way will develop lymphoedema of the arm.
However it is brought about, lymphoedema can be an extremely painful condition and can prove to be the most uncomfortable aspect of breast cancer itself. It can affect the quality of life as the swollen limb becomes heavy and cumbersome, the choice of clothes and activities becomes more limited and the very discomfort is a constant reminder of the problem which caused it.
lymphoedema is not curable but there are ways to control and manage the symptoms that can help to improve the quality of life. Management of the condition is most successful when the condition is recognised early and when the person affected has access to a trained lymphoedema therapist who is able to plan an individualised programme of treatment to reduce the swelling and provide long term advice and support in order to keep the swelling under control.
Manual lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a massage and bandaging technique which can bring great relief to lymphoedema sufferers; moving the skin gently over the underlying tissues triggers the musculature of the lymph vessel to contract more frequently, increasing the absorption of excess fluid and waste products. In severe cases this massage may be followed by multi layer bandaging and compression garments.
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) is a complementary therapy which can be helpful for a wide range of issues including physical pain and stress; although it has not yet to be fully researched by the academic community in this country it is in the process of being evaluated in the States by the equivalent of NICE.
Simply stated it is a unique version of needle free acupuncture where well established energy meridian points on the face and body are stimulated by tapping on them with the finger tips whilst focusing on the problem whether physical or emotional. The process is easy to memorise and is portable so it can be done anywhere. It is a simple relaxation technique that eliminates negative emotions and can be used with a practitioner, alone, or in groups and is very versatile.
EFT has been reported successful in thousands of cases covering a wide range of emotional, health and performance issues. Used to help those who have exhausted all conventional modalities in their quest to be free of chronic emotional/physical pain, by resolving unresolved anxiety, fear, anger, grief, depression and emotional trauma, it often works where nothing else has.
Nancy came to EFT as a patient herself and was so pleased with its results that, as a Doctor who believed in traditional and alternative treatments, she would offer it to her patients if she felt it might be appropriate. Its non invasive, non drug, holistic approach fitted with her view that there is much to learn from alternative practices. "Go away and think about this and if you would like, let's give this a try and see what happens." Many of her patients would now vouch for the healing benefits of EFT.
What is The Nancy Salmon Trust?
Shortly after Nancy's death, we, her husband Bill, sister Nicola and parents Chris and Jean, sat talking about her and the deep sense of loss and love that was so apparent from everyone whose life she had touched; we knew from talking to our wonderful vicar that the community was devastated and looking for something positive and helpful to do; we knew that Nancy had been a holistic healer and that she had been so thankful that she was able to get some relief from the lymphoedema; we knew of her dream: we decided that a Memorial Fund would be an opportunity to remember Nancy in a practical way and hoped that if it raised enough money to fund the training of another NHS Manual Lymphatic Drainage practitioner and an EFT therapist too then everyone would feel they had done something towards her dream.
We hurriedly opened a bank account for The Dr Nancy Salmon Memorial Fund and produced an explanatory leaflet.
We were soon aware that through the generosity of those who knew and loved Nancy, the fund was going to exceed all our expectations; the decision was made to seek charitable status in order to maximise the generosity of donors and maintain the Fund's objectives.
With Bill and Nicola’s approval, two of Nancy’s friends were approached to join Chris and Jean as Trustees. At the first meeting it was agreed that Nancy would have preferred a simpler more positive name for her charity and therefore progress is now being made to register the Fund with the Charities Commission as ‘The Nancy Salmon Trust’.
What are the objectives of the Trust?
The Trust, in memory of Dr. Nancy Salmon, dearly loved GP and holistic healer, shall provide financial assistance for NHS and Hospice staff primarily in North Essex and such other areas as Trustees deem appropriate,
1) to improve the physical and mental health of sufferers of lymphoedema:
a) through awareness training for staff regarding current best practice including Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD),
b) through staff education in the theory and practice of MLD.
2) to support patients suffering from stress, discomfort and pain,
a) by increasing staff awareness of the benefits of the complementary therapy known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT),
b) by enabling staff to undertake training in EFT.
3) to support the holistic care and well being of sufferers of chronic disease or malignancy in such ways as the Trustees deem appropriate.
One of the many cards we received following Nancy's death showed a picture of a butterfly and the words of Richard Bach. "What a caterpillar calls the end of the world ........ the master calls a butterfly." We found this strangely comforting.
Another friend had described Nancy as being "effortlessly stylish and beautiful" and therefore the image of the butterfly seemed apt if we were looking for a logo.