New Video Shows How To Do Massage for Leg Lymphedema

Written By Alaina Cyr

The Lymphedema Clinic at Princess Margaret teaches patients tips and strategies to help prevent lymphedema from getting worse. One way to do that is through lymphatic self-massage, a light-touch massage that registered massage therapists help teach patients.

While the clinic offers annual refresher classes and an instructional pamphlet (PDF) for patients to take home, registered massage therapists Pam Hammond and Sylvia Crowhurst thought a video demonstration would be more helpful and easier for patients to follow at home. Curious to learn more about the project, I asked Pam and Sylvia a few questions.

Alaina: Why did you create a video demonstrating lymphatic self-massage?

Pam & Sylvia: Lymphatic Massage is different from all other forms of massage. It should be performed in a specific manner using the correct pressure, direction and speed to facilitate lymph drainage. We wanted to do everything we could to help our patients develop and foster the skills required for the best possible results. The video provides a visual guide and allows patients watch and mimic our hands as many times as they like.

Alaina: Who helped make the video?

Pam & Sylvia: We asked our high school-aged children – Alice Lambert, Kohen Hammond and Kohen’s friend Simon Amaral-Pereria – if they would be interested in filming and editing the video as a part of their required volunteer community hours. They were very eager to get involved because they all knew people who had been affected by cancer and wanted to do something to help.

Alaina: What was the funniest thing that happened as you were making the video?

Pam & Sylvia: We laughed a lot when we were making the video. We all missed lines and cues, and looked and acted very silly at times.

One thing that was particularly funny was trying to keep track of the massage strokes. In the video we give direction to do a specific number of repetitions of each massage. While the kids were totally focused on the sound and filming and Pam on her hands-on demonstration, Sylvia had to silently count the strokes and cue Pam to finish. This cue was often a slight nod or change in facial expression, which sometimes had us laughing in stitches. To get through filming the scene, we had to focus on more serious subjects.

Get a preview of the Lymphatic Self-Massage video by watching the clip on Deep Breathing Technique below. To watch the complete video, visit the Lymphatic Self-Massage page.