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The Benefits of The Chi Machine
A study conducted in the management of secondary Lymphoedema and Venous oedema due to Venous Insufficiency
Professor Neil Pillar - Team Leader Lymphoedema Assessment Clinic Department of Public Health Flinders University and Flinders Medical Center and Amanda Moseley, Research Officer, Department of Public Health, Flinders University, South Australia
The lymphoedema and microcirculatory research group through Flinders consulting, conducts a few selected major clinical trials yearly on products available on the world market which have been seen to have potential in the management and control of lymphatic and vascular disorders and diseases. The following is a summary of our findings of our independently conducted research to assess the benefits of The Chi Machine for lymphoedema and for venous oedema management.
Both of these conditions can result in significantly swollen legs and can greatly affect quality of life and the ability to undertake the activities of normal daily living. Having either condition can be significantly financial and a time burden and can greatly reduce ones productivity and social activity.
The form of lymphoedema we used in this study was Secondary Lymphoedema. This can occur in up to about 30 % of men and women who have surgery and/or radiotherapy. In men it is associated with bowel, prostate and melanoma cancers, while in women its associated with cervical, bowel and other reproductive system cancers. The swelling of the limb occurs because the lymph vessels (which are very delicate vessels that drain fluids and their content from the limb) are damaged or destroyed.
The form of venous oedema that was studied resulted from an obstruction to venous insufficiency stems from disease of the veins, varicose veins or deep vein thromboses. It has been estimated that about 10 - 50% of males and 50 - 55% of females have venous insufficiency. The manifestation of chronic venous insufficiency - venous oedema occurs in about 5% of the adult population. Most patients were generally happy, thus any results achieved in this trial are over and above these and represent a significant treatment/management advantage.
The trial was a controlled one with a normal group of patients and with a two phase program in which the effect of a currently used education and awareness program was tested for their impact against The Chi Machine. All trial planning and statistical analysis was directed by our bio-statistician. Participants were comprehensively measured before they used the machine for a period of 3 weeks in their homes and were measured thereafter at weekly intervals and then at one month after they ha stopped using the machine. We strongly emphasize that the findings can only be applied to The Chi Machine and to its effects on the specific groups tested.
Measurements were made of fluid distribution in the limbs, the size and volume and fiber of the limbs, the impact on quality of life and on how the limbs felt in terms of heaviness, aches, tightness, etc. Patient's blood pressure and pulse and blood picture were assessed. In the lymphoedema group a sub sample were given a pre-post treatment lymphoscintigram (which measures lymph outflow) and those in the venous oedema group were tested with laser doppler to assess oxygen perfusion and oxygenation to the skin.
The Major Findings
It is impossible to go into full details here and you are urged to contact the company for details of the full data release, which is to be published in a number of relevant scientific journals.
This group demonstrated a small statistically non-significant fluid loss as would reasonably be expected. Very interesting however was the maintained significant weight loss of .6kg over the treatment period.
Secondary Lymphoedema Group
This group consisting of men and women showed a significant median limb volume loss of some 330 mls over the treatment period which was maintained to a great extent even 1 month after the trial had completed. Similarly and importantly there were reductions in the amount of extracellular fluids which is a sign that these are being removed from the tissues more effectively - which in simple terms can mean better tissue health. Weight is an important exacerbating factor for lymphoedema. In this trial The Chi Machine resulted in a significant .5 kg weight loss over the treatment period which was maintained one month after the trial. Lymphscintigraphy in some patients showed a very significant improvement in lymphatic transport. Why all did not respond in this way given the other observations remains to be determined. Patients showed significant and very significant improvements in the symptoms associated with their lymphoedema. These improvements continued one month after the trial had finished. In terms of the impact on their quality of life and activities of daily living, 85% of patients indicated satisfaction with the treatment regime, 67% said they now felt they had control over their condition, 55% indicated an improvement in range of movement (very important to be able to properly exercise), 21% indicated an improvement in the ability to sleep and the same percentage indicated a decrease in depression!
Venous Oedema Group
This group also consisting of men and women showed a similar pattern or reduction in limb volume of some 440 mls over the treatment period and a tendency to maintain the majority of this loss (some 340 mls) one month after the trial had completed. Similarly and again very importantly from the point of tissue health was the reduction in extracellular fluids, with this being most pronounced 2 weeks into the trial. Weight also a significant exacerbating factor for venous oedema. Over the three-week treatment period using The Chi Machine there was a significant weight loss of 1.45 kg, which was maintained one month after the completion of the trial. Laser doppler studies showed some changes in skin perfusion, oxygen saturation and hemoglobin levels during treatment but these were not significant.
Patients showed significant and very significant improvements in the symptoms associated with their venous oedema. These improvements continued one month after the trial had finished. In terms of the impact on their quality of life and activities of daily living, 88% of patients indicated satisfaction with the treatment regime, 52% said they now felt they had control over their condition, 68% indicated an improvement in range of movement (very important to be able to properly exercise), 25% indicated an improvement in the ability to sleep and 16% indicated a decrease in depression!
Almost 100% in each group reported tingling after the cessation of each treatment. A number reported more energy and a feeling of well being. Some also reported less fatigue, less abdominal congestion and 34% indicated that their shoes felt looser.
Minor Adverse Effects
These were generally minor but should be noted so that the potential to minimize them through the use of a range of other strategies can be invoked while still gaining the range of benefits from the machine.
The adverse effects were some additional pain and knee soreness in 28%, slight lower backache in 22%, and increased bowel motion in 7% (which we see as positive), an increase in urination in 22% (which we also see as positive). Some larger patients reported that they would be more comfortable with wider spaced ankle supports and with a softer ankle mold.
It is without doubt that The Chi Machine has the ability to play a key role in the home based management of chronic secondary lymphoedemas and venous oedemas in both men and women.
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