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Traditional acupuncture in the management of upper body lymphoedema (AMWELL-SL)

Cancer treatments are the most common cause of lymphoedema - a chronic incurable swelling of part of the body – in the developed world. One in three breast cancer patients may develop lymphoedema over the course of a lifetime and the condition is associated with other cancers as well. 

Lymphoedema causes discomfort, disfigurement and distress. In addition to the swelling, there are many other physical, emotional and social consequences which affect the wellbeing of people with lymphoedema.

Our aim is to use acupuncture to improve the wellbeing of people with lymphoedema. We work within the guidelines for best practice for the management of lymphoedema and avoid acupuncture needling on the affected area. This includes avoiding needling on the associated torso quadrant as well as the affected limb(s).

Funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Research for Innovation, Speculation and Creativity (RISC) programme facilitated our initial exploratory research in this area, providing a platform for a developing a design for a randomised controlled trial.

The NIHR RISC funded study (Grant Reference Number PB-PG-0407-10086) has been given the acronym AMWELL-SL and is registered with the UK Cancer Research Network.

The lead researcher for this study was Beverley de Valois.

 

Key publications

de Valois B, Young T, Melsome E (2011) Acupuncture in lymphoedema management: a feasibility study. Journal of Lymphoedema. 6(2) 20-31.
This article is reprinted from the Journal of Lymphoedema by kind permission of the authors and publisher.

de Valois B, Young T, Melsome E (2012) Assessing the feasibility of using acupuncture and moxibustion to improve quality of life for cancer survivors with upper body lymphoedema. European Journal of Oncology Nursing. 16. pp 301-9.
This article is reprinted from the European Journal of Oncology Nursing. Copyright (2012), with permission from Elsevier.

de Valois B and Peckham R (2011) Treating the person and not the disease: acupuncture in the management of cancer treatment-related lymphoedema. European Journal of Oriental Medicine, 6(6), 37-49.
This article is reprinted from the European Journal of Oriental Medicine by kind permission of the authors and publisher.

de Valois B, Young T, Melsome E, Maher EJ (2011) Changing perceptions: using acupuncture in the management of lymphoedema. Journal of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists Spring 2001 pp.63-6.
This article is reprinted from the Journal of the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists by kind permission of the authors and publisher, the Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists. Copyright (c) 2011 Acupuncture Association of Chartered Physiotherapists.

de Valois B, Young T, Melsome E, Maher EJ (2012) Veranderende visie: het gebruik van acupunctuur bij de behandeling van lymfoedeem. Fluvio. 3:4-11.

de Valois B, Asprey A, Young T (2016) “The monkey on your shoulder”: a qualitative study of lymphoedema patients’ attitudes to and experiences of acupuncture and moxibustion (acu/moxa). Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. vol. 2016, Article ID 4298420, 14 pages. doi:10.1155/2016/4298420

 

Other publications

de Valois B (2013) Acupuncture and Moxibustion in the Management of Non-Cancer-Related Lower Limb Lymphoedema: Three Case Studies. European Journal of Oriental Medicine, 7(4) pp 13-21.
'This article was first published in The European Journal of Oriental Medicine, Vol 7. No 4. Autumn 2013.

 

Additional resources – posters

 

Last updated: November 9, 2016