Manual Edema Mobilisation (MEM)

Edema is defined as an accumulation of excessive fluid in intercellular spaces. It is a natural byproduct of the healing process that changes as an injury advances through the stages of healing. Decreasing or managing edema, especially in the sub acute or chronic stage, is of great importance to the therapists at Hand Works Occupational Therapy. Subacute and chronic edema is high in protein and represents an overload of the lymphatic system. If left untreated it can contribute to fibrosis, stiffness and limited range of motion (ROM), all of which can directly impact on your patients’ recovery and functional outcomes.

MEM is a specific treatment theory/technique that targets the lymphatic system through gentle stimulation to facilitate the flow of excessive tissue fluid and plasma proteins away from an area of edema.

The MEM technique consists of diaphragmatic breathing, light skin-traction massage, exercise, pump point stimulation and a self-management program. Techniques that utilise the same principles of MEM such as chip bags, low-stretch bandaging and Kinesiotaping may also be used in conjunction with MEM.

MEM is only one type of edema reduction technique that is offered at Hand Works Occupational Therapy. If you have a patient suffering chronic or subacute edema, please feel free to refer them to Hand Works for assessment and treatment.