Lymph Drainage Therapy

Lymph Drainage Therapy uses a technique called Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT), a gentle massage which encourages the natural circulation of the lymph through the body including compression wrapping (CDT).

Lymph Drainage Therapy was pioneered by Dr. Emil Vodder in the 1930's for the treatment of chronic sinusitis and other immune disorders. While working on the French Riviera treating patients with chronic colds, Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife Dr. Estrid Vodder noticed these patients had swollen lymph nodes. In 1932 they began to study the lymph system, and developed careful hand movements to cause lymph movement. In 1936, after four years of research, they introduced this technique in Paris, France.

Lymph Drainage Therapy is now recognized as a primary tool in Lymphedema management. Therapists receive certification through special classes conducted by various organizations (including Dr. Vodder School International) specializing in MLD/CDT.

Treatment for Lymphedema requires a referral from your doctor as it is a medical condition.

The initial assessment involves measurement of the limbs, to compare volume of the affected and unaffected limbs. It also includes teaching about Lymphedema and the precautions to reduce the risk of infection and/or swelling as well as skin care and exercise.

Treatment is most successful if administered on a regular basis. Treatment along with compression wrapping is provided to reduce volume to the affected limb.

After the limb volume is stabilized, it is essential to be fitted for a compression garment to control the volume. Custom garments are measured specifically for the client and the limb that is being treated. Whether you are fit for a prefabricated or custom garment you should be measured and fit by a certified garment fitter. As a rule, garments need to be replaced every 3 - 6 months to control volume.

Garments should be worn daily but are not for night time use unless it is an actual night garment. There are several options for night garments that can replace the need for self-wrapping and can be ordered and measured by a qualified fitter.

About Lymphedema

Lymphedema is a chronic swelling of a body part caused by an accumulation of lymph fluid. Lymphedema can occur anywhere in the body where the lymph nodes are removed or are non functional. Unlike other edemas, Lymphedema can lead to changes in the tissue such as fibrosis and an increased risk of infection. The swelling can then become more difficult to control. When Lymph Nodes are removed or missing, Lymphedema can happen immediately after a triggering event or many years later. No one can predict if that person will develop Lymphedema or not. Lymphedema causes swelling most often in the arm or legs but also in other areas of the body where the lymph system is compromised. Lymphedema can be present in a small or large amount that is persistent. Normally, 100% of oxygenated blood is sent from the heart to the tissue by the arteries, the veins return most of the fluid, but the remaining fluid is returned to the circulation by the lymphatic system. If the lymph nodes to this limb or body part are removed or missing, the fluid sometimes cannot transfer from this area causing an accumulation of fluid called Lymphedema. Primary Lymphedema is the result of a developmental defect in the unborn child. It is usually unknown but is thought to be the result of a genetic deviation. It can be evident at birth (neonatal), puberty (Lymphedema precox) or after the age of 35 (Lymphedema Tardum). Secondary Lymphedema may occur because of damage to the lymphatic system. This damage may have resulted from surgery, radiation, trauma, infection, obesity, chronic venous insufficiency or a parasitic infection (more common in a warmer climate). As a result, of such an event, the lymph vessels become blocked and are unable to function properly.

Signs and Symptoms of Lymphedema:

Unusual swelling, redness or warmth.
Full, heavy, tight or tingling sensation.
Clothing, shoes, watches or rings might feel tighter.
Decreased mobility in the affected area.

About Me

• My private practise is located in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
• Practising massage since 1993 and Manual Therapy for Lymphedema (MLD) and Combined Decongestive Therapy (CDT) for Lymphedema since 1999.
• Completed the Basic Remedial Massage Course with the Western College of Remedial Massage Therapies Inc. in 1993.
• Certificate of Membership in good standing with the Massage Therapy Association of Manitoba.
• In 1999, I certified through the Dr. Vodder School of North America to provide Manual Lymph Drainage and Combined Decongestive Therapy for the treatment of Lymphedema.

Recertification is required every two years to meet the requirements of the Vodder School certificate. I have recertified every 2 years since 1999 to maintain "good standing" with the Dr. Vodder School of North America. My last recertification took place in June, 2013. Next will be in 2015.
I am a member of the newly founded Lymphedema Association of Manitoba (LAM). LAM is the latest provincial Lymphedema association to be formed in Canada. One of the key people in founding of LAM has been Kim Avanthay who, as the mother of a primary Lymphedema patient, has been a motivating force for the Lymphedema community for a number of years now.
In 2011 along with a patient that has Lymphedema from Breast Cancer, we together started the Lymphedema Support Group that meets once a month to connect with others that have Lymphedema. These meeting are also to provide information and topics of interest to the members.
Along with the support of the Lymphedema Association of Ontario, Edith Mulhall and I have created a brochure about Lymphedema that is available for people with Lymphedema and to provide information to their doctors.

Insurance & Rates

Lymph drainage therapy requires a prescription for "massage therapy" from your doctor. Visits can be covered to the yearly limit of your medical insurance plan.

Please consult with your doctor and medical insurance plan for exact details.

Payment is required each visit by debit card, cheque or cash. If covered by a medical insurance plan, please submit my invoice for reimbursement.

***NEW*** I now direct bill to Blue Cross.

30 minutes
45 minutes
60 minutes
75 minutes
90 minutes
Home visits
$110.00 (less than 20 km)
Home visits
$125.00 (greater than 20 km)

Home visits outside city limits not included.

Please give 24 hours notice if an appointment needs to be changed.

Same day no show / cancellatin / missed appointment is a $50.00 charge.

Contact Me

To schedule an appointment for Lymph Drainage Therapy, or to enquire, call me:

Wanda Guenther
Phone (204) 775-6794 Fax (204) 772-9136
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Or, email me:


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