DOTmed Home MRI Oncology Ultrasound Molecular Imaging X-Ray Cardiology Health IT Business Affairs
News Home Parts & Service Operating Room CT Women's Health Proton Therapy Endoscopy HTMs Mobile Imaging
Current Location:
> This Story

Log in or Register to rate this News Story
Forward Printable StoryPrint Comment




More This Month in Medical History

We all bleed the same color – the legacy of Dr. Charles Richard Drew Get to know the 'Father of the Blood Bank'

This month in medical history: Handing epidemics Dr. John Snow and the origins of epidemiology

Louis Braille - The world’s knowledge at his fingertips The life of a man who brought reading to the blind

The first (and only) female Medal of Honor winner How a doctor turned Civil War spy left her mark in history

Jonas Salk’s gift to the world Polio was a scourge, his education matched well with what was needed to find a cure

See All This Month in Medical History  

More Voices

With Zap-X, the creator of CyberKnife aims to give radiation a better image Insights from Dr. John R. Adler Jr. on the future of radiosurgery

This year's European Association of Nuclear Medicine congress The Jacobus Report

Q&A with ASTRO president Dr. Paul Harari The biggest event in radiation oncology is fast approaching - are you ready?

What to expect at MEDICA 2018 Interview with Horst Giesen, global portfolio director Health & Medical Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf

Setting a new standard of care in breast cancer detection Insights from Luke Delaney, general manager of Automated Breast Ultrasound at GE Healthcare

How can we make America great? (Part One) The Jacobus Report

The present and future of spectral imaging Insights from Christian Eusemann, Ph.D., vice president of collaborations at Siemens Healthineers North America

Setting the gold standard for Lymphedema treatment

From the February 2014 issue of DOTmed HealthCare Business News magazine
It is hard to believe that the gold standard for treating lymphedema, a condition that occurs when extra lymph fluid builds up in tissues and causes mild to severe swelling, was not developed by a doctor. Emil Vodder, the man who pioneered and standardized the treatment method, was not a licensed medical physician. And yet, in most writings that describe his work and legacy, he is referred to as Dr. Vodder. In all fairness to his admirers — Vodder got very close to obtaining his medical degree, and he did hold a doctorate in art history from Belgium’s University of Bruxelles.

Vodder was born in Copenhagen, Denmark on February 20, 1896. Growing up, he enjoyed learning art history, various languages, and music. While attending the University of Copenhagen, he studied biology and botany, courses that set him on a path to pursue a career in medicine. But just as Vodder was nearing the end of his medical school coursework, he contracted malaria. Although he recuperated, he was not admitted to finish his medical studies. Still, Vodder continued to educate himself about one particular aspect of physiology — the lymphatic system. He read all the research he could find about the mysterious “clear water,” as scientists referred to lymph liquid for centuries.

Story Continues Below Advertisement

OR Tables, Treatment/GYN/Uro Chairs, Transport Stretchers, Hospital/ICU Bed

iMS combines the superior service of Oakworks Medical and advanced manufacturing technology of FAMED Medical Solutions. The goal of iMS, "Connecting Art and Medical Science" goes way beyond product with exceptional CareLink service. Contact us today!

Vodder married a woman named Estrid, who practiced naturopathetic medicine. Together, they moved to the French Riviera in 1929 and worked as masseurs at a clinic. The clinic’s clientele mostly consisted of vacationers from England looking for relief from chronic colds in the sunny region. Vodder noticed that many of his clients had swollen lymph nodes. Based on what he gathered from his research on the lymphatic system, Vodder figured out that his clients’ suffering was connected to the congestion of their swollen lymph nodes. He believed that by applying the right amount of pressure in a set of specific motions directly onto the lymph nodes, he could relieve the congestion and thus bring relief to his clients. Vodder’s hypothesis seemed bizarre to other practitioners, and testing it was considered taboo. Because so little was known about the lymphatic system at the time, clinicians, much less masseurs, were afraid to touch or disturb the lymph nodes in any way.

Despite the medical community’s discomfort with this method, Vodder methodically practiced his technique at the clinic. Over the years, he perfected the practice and helped many people find relief.

In 1933, Vodder and his wife moved to Paris, where he continued to study the lymphatic system. But it would be a while before Vodder’s hard work got the recognition it deserved. “I discovered my method too early,” Vodder said at the time. “No one understands me.” Indeed, it was not until the 1950s that clinicians actually began to take his method seriously.

It was then that a German physician named Dr. Johannes Asdonk saw the validity of Vodder’s technique and provided the first set of indications for lymphedemas, as they are known today. Soon after, Vodder met a massage therapist, author, and educator named Günther Wittlinger, who helped to further popularize the method throughout Europe. In 1967, Dr. Asdonk, Wittlinger, and Vodder founded the Association of Dr. Vodder’s Manual Lymph Drainage, which is still active today.

Vodder’s technique began to spread. The method was taught to therapists and educators, making its way into the classrooms of medical students. In 1972, it was introduced in the United States at a conference in New York. That same year, a Dr. Vodder training center was established in Austria. Vodder’s method has since grown into a widely used and reimbursable physical therapy technique.

Vodder died on February 17, 1986, just days shy of his 90th birthday. Although the treatment he developed is officially known as Manual Lymph Drainage, to this day, it is often simply referred to as “the Vodder Method.”


You Must Be Logged In To Post A Comment

Increase Your
Brand Awareness
Auctions + Private Sales
Get The
Best Price
Buy Equipment/Parts
Find The
Lowest Price
Daily News
Read The
Latest News
Browse All
DOTmed Users
Ethics on DOTmed
View Our
Ethics Program
Gold Parts Vendor Program
Receive PH
Gold Service Dealer Program
Receive RFP/PS
Healthcare Providers
See all
HCP Tools
A Job
Parts Hunter +EasyPay
Get Parts
Recently Certified
View Recently
Certified Users
Recently Rated
View Recently
Certified Users
Rental Central
Rent Equipment
For Less
Sell Equipment/Parts
Get The
Most Money
Service Technicians Forum
Find Help
And Advice
Simple RFP
Get Equipment
Virtual Trade Show
Find Service
For Equipment
Access and use of this site is subject to the terms and conditions of our LEGAL NOTICE & PRIVACY NOTICE
Property of and Proprietary to, Inc. Copyright ©2001-2018, Inc.