Occupational therapists Holi Heffron and Candice Yendrzeiwski have opened the first lymphatic center in Northeast Pennsylvania to help people with swelling and inflammation issues.

At Hodi Lymphatic Center in the Gateway Shopping Center in Edwardsville, the certified lymphedema therapists primarily treat people who suffer from lymphedema, a type of swelling caused by excess fluid.

They said lymphedema can occur as a result of a combination of conditions, genetics, medications or other factors and can result in various degrees of swelling in a limb or body part. Inflammatory issues are often related to the lymphatic system, they said.

Heffron said they treat patients who had their lymph nodes removed as well as patients who developed lymphedema after breast cancer treatment, surgeries or traumatic injuries.

“We treat swelling in limbs and legs that had affected their skins creating wounds,” she said. “We also perform wound care at our center.”

Yendrzeiwski said there are a number of reasons people could experience chronic swelling.

“Sometimes it’s injury-related or surgery-related. Cancer patients are at risk for lymphedema because they remove the lymph nodes,” she said. “Usually when there’s a problem with the lymphatic system, there’s swelling.”

When they treat patients with lymphedema, Yendrzeiwski said their focus is to assist with fluid movement.

They perform manual lymph drainage, using a special “Vodder” massage technique to assist with fluid movement, calming inflammation and excreting toxins, Heffron said.

“It stimulates the lymphatic system and decongests the lymphatic system and helps to reroute fluid that may be congested in any area that’s affected,” she said. “We have people who come in who are just interested in a detoxing experience to clean out their systems and basically strengthen their immune systems.”

Prior to opening the lymphatic center, Heffron and Yendrzeiwski served patients throughout Northeast Pennsylvania as occupational therapists and lymphedema therapists in different settings for more than 19 years.

“We felt there was a need for an outpatient center and that it would benefit many of our patients,” Heffron said. “We’ve been quite busy.”

Heffron said the COVID-19 pandemic has not hurt the center because it is a medical facility and they can treat patients but she would like to open more services in the future to benefit patients such as support groups.

The center is following COVID-19 guidelines and requiring people to wear masks. For more information about the center, call 570-938-4634.