Research

In June 2000 a large scale clinical trial began at Flinders University Medical Centre, Adelaide, Australia, looking into the effect of using the Sun Ancon Chi Machine with sufferers of secondary lymphoedema and venous oedema.  The research was conducted by Professor Neil Piller, a specialist lymphologist, with the help of his professional team.

A patient suffering from secondary lymphoedema using the Chi Machine with Professor Piller and Research Officer Ms Amanda Moseley in attendance.

The results were released in January 2002 and we are pleased to report that they are very positive.  

Secondary lymphoedema is characterised by the swelling of the leg(s).  It occurs in men following surgery and/or radiotherapy for the treatment of bowel and prostate cancer and in women following bowel, breast cervical and other reproductive system cancers, where the treatment damages or removes the lymph nodes.  About 30% of all men and women who have these treatments develop some sort of limb swelling.  It is believed that another 30% of these patients have problems such as aches/pain, heaviness and problems with quality of life and activities of daily living. 

Venous oedema occurs when the venous blood system is not draining and/or circulating well as a result of venous insufficiency from disease, varicose veins or previous deep vein thrombosis.  It is estimated about 5-6% of the adult population suffer venous oedema.  A further number suffer from some discomfort of the limbs or problems with quality of life and activities of daily living.

Each patient was allocated a Sun Ancon Chi Machine which they used for 21 days in their home adhering to a particular regime:

Days 1-2, 5 minutes both morning and evening, Days 3-7 8 minutes both morning and evening, Days 8-21: 12 minutes both morning and evening.  Patients returned to Flinders University Medical Centre at the end of each week for a further full assessment.  In addition there was a follow-up assessment one month later to assess the longer term impact of the treatment.  The research encompassed three groups -- a group made up of people with normal healthy legs, a group of people with secondary lymphoedema a group with venous oedema. 

In brief, the results were as follows:

For people without any medical problems...

  • A slight reduction in fluids in the limbs The group experienced a reduction of 45 mls in fluids over the three week period.
  • A reduction in weight The group lost an average of 0.6 kg over three weeks.
  • A reduction in percentage body fat.
For people with secondary lymphoedema due to lymphatic damage and those with venous oedema through venous insufficiency...
  • A significant reduction the limb volume and circumference. Extra-cellular fluid for the group with secondary lymphoedema fell over the three week period. One month after the trial the fluids had risen but not back to their original levels.
  • A significant loss of oedema fluid from the limbs. The group with venous oedema experienced an average volume loss of 440 mls of leg fluid over the three-week period. Fluid levels had increased one month after the trials but they were not back to their original levels.
  • A significant loss of weight Average weight loss for the group with venous oedema was 1.45 kgs over the three week period. This remained stable at the one month follow up. Of those with secondary lymphoedema, average weight loss was 0.5 kgs and this remained stable at the one month follow up.
  • A reduction in percentage body fat
  • An improvement in lymphatic drainage Lymphoscintigraphy showed a marked improvement in lymphatic function.
  • A significant improvement in subjective symptoms Most participants reported a reduction in pain, tightness, heaviness, skin dryness, limb size difference, cramps, pins and needles, burning feeling and temperature difference.
  • A satisfaction with the treatment an an improvement in the quality of life.
85-88% of participants were satisfied with the treatment regime.  There were also improvements with the feeling of control participants had over their condition, range of movement, positive impact on daily life and an increase in the ability to exercise.

Included in the results presented below are the findings from 33 chronic lymphoedema sufferers and 25 with venous oedema.

Changes in Quality of Life and Activities of Daily Living (% showing improvement)

 LymphoedemaVenous Oedema
Range of movement55%68%
Increase in ability to exercise36%56%
Walking up/down stairs27%40%
Improvement in sleeping21%25%
Easier to get dressed15%20%
Positive impact on daily life45%56%
Decrease in depression associated with condition21%16%
Satisfaction with treatment regime85%88%
Feeling of control over condition67%52%

Other improvements reported by the overall group:

Shoes felt looser 34%, higher energy levels 10%, greater flexibility 12%, more relaxed 24%, feeling of wellbeing 16%, reduced abdominal congestion 7% and improved shape of limb 26%.

Please ask for further details.