Products and Treatments
There are several products that people with fat disorders may find helpful:
Pumps - scroll down
Vibration machines - scroll down
Hivamat - scroll down
Acupuncture - scroll down
CVAC - scroll down
Kinesio taping - coming soon
Farrow wraps - coming soon
Endermologie - coming soon
Cavitation - coming soon
Dry brushing - coming soon
To Pump or Not to Pump
Pumps are used to move lymph from the limbs back to the core for processing.
Years ago pneumatic compression pumps (PCP) or sequential pumps were considered harmful due to high uniform pressure and single chambers (the small areas that are filled with air within the garment) forcing debris-filled lymphatic fluid out of the interstitial tissues without breaking it down first. This action damaged the small one-way valves of the lymphatic vessels leaving them unable to close completely and function properly. It would often cause fibrotic cuffs at the top of the leg or push fluid into the abdominal or genital area.
Currently, pumps are utilizing improved technology. They employ variable pressure settings, are specifically designed to use less pressure and they can even cover the trunk area to prevent genital and abdominal edema.
PCPs are not meant to replace Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) therapy, compression garments, or any other prescribed treatments; their purpose is to augment the home treatment. Often, subjective findings are that legs feel lighter, fibrosis is softer, and it is reported that legs have less pain after treatment. One limb receives the focused treatment per session. Your physician and/or therapist will design a treatment plan specifically for you.
To obtain a pneumatic compression pump, you will need a prescription from your physician. Your physician will consider your results after treatment has been completed and compression garments are worn for a period of time to decide on your need for a PCP. Many insurance plans pay for Pneumatic Compression Pumps. Depending on your insurance policy, some companies will cover the PCP at 100% or at a lesser rate. Be sure to call your insurance company for pre approval and a definitive answer on coverage.
Two of the most popular pumps using the current technology are, FlexiTouch and Lymphapress. There are also less advanced pumps on the market that continue to utilize the older technology. The key to safe usage is that the PCP needs to be programmable for light compression, use variable pressure settings and be designed with multiple chambers. These features should maximize the opportunity for a PCP to further break up the debris rich lymphatic fluid into manageable sized molecules that can flow freely through the lymphatic system without damaging the valves. You should do your homework and speak to various vendors regarding the technology they use, their success rates and insurance coverage prior to ordering. Your physician and therapist may have reason for one particular pump over the other for your case, so be sure to open that dialogue.
Find videos that clearly demonstrate what pumps are and how they can be used by searching online.
The Lympha Press has higher pressures, and fewer chambers per side (12), but more chambers than the old school pumps. Pull on and if it’s too big for the limb, a pillow can be stuffed in the area.
Flexi touch has 32 chambers per limb and has lower variable pressures. The Velcro on the Flexitouch is a little harder to don but great for abnormal limb shapes.
Some people with fat disorders find relief from their symptoms – especially pain - by using a vibration machine. The mechanism as to why it may work isn’t fully understood, but it could be as simple as getting oxygen to areas that may not already get enough oxygen. Vibration machines cost between $20 - 10,000 USD so there is a wide range. Many brands exist. The best place to get product recommendations is on one of the Groups. See the exercise page for more information.
Some research on vibration can be found here, but note that since this company sells vibration machines they may only show the supportive research. At least one research paper found that vibration may not be effective and may actually be harmful.
HIVAMAT® is a novel, patented principle of therapy which is based on the effects of an electrostatic field. It opens up unique possibilities of application, which is why it is used with great success in various medical and therapeutic fields.
Acupuncture may be well-tolerated and may work very well for some people with fat disorders, but some people find the needles aggravate the lipomatosis. Before seeking any treatment please consult your physician.
The CVAC Process™ (Cyclic Variations in Adaptive Conditioning™) applies precisely composed rhythm-based changes to pressure, temperature and density of air. These changes in pressure set up waves of tension and resolution, mirroring the pulsatile nature of breathing, muscle contraction and blood flow that can be considered consistent with exercise. During the CVAC process, the air is briefly thinned to create a physiological desire for oxygen which mimics the same inherent effect in exercises that create oxygen debt. Both exercise training and CVAC sessions involve repeated patterns of movement and cycles of tension and resolution, representing a full adaptation cycle. The CVAC process is a type of exercise and may benefit both conditioned and deconditioned people. Many people who have used the CVAC process report a general reduction in swelling and edema. In a study conducted by Dr. Karen Herbst at UCSD on people with Dercum’s Disease, there was evidence found that supports these reports.
FDRS does not recommend using any of these products, nor any specific brands. Please check with your therapist and doctor. Please do your research on the products.