Deborah Parkes MCSP HCPC reg CLT MBLS
I am originally from Northern Ireland and achieved my BSc (Hons) degree in Physiotherapy at the University of Ulster in Jordanstown. After qualifying I carried out rotations through a variety of different areas within hospital and community settings, including musculoskeletal, respiratory, neurological, oncology, care of the elderly and more. I also worked for a time as Physio for a local Irish league football team!
After looking after Lung and Prostate patients based in Belfast City Hospital I had the opportunity to develop and instigate a Breathlessness Service in Northern Ireland and I wrote a chapter dedicated to Lung Cancer for a Rehabilitation book which was published and is still available. The Lymphoedema Service in Belfast was led by Physiotherapists so it wasn’t very long before I started to develop an interest in this area. I began to become fascinated by how integral our lymphatic system is and what we could do to help improve and control an impaired system.
In 2004 I attended the Lymphoedema Certification Course at the Földi Clinic in Germany which provided me with an in-depth knowledge of the anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of the lymphatic system, including the skill set necessary to begin to treat lymphoedema.
This became my full time role a few years later when I moved to the Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham into a team lead position developing a new lymphoedema service within the county. This provided me with the opportunity to work with internationally renowned specialists in the lymphoedema field and to treat a wide variety of patients often with very complex presentations and needs.
After moving to Somerset, at the beginning of 2014 I started working for a local lymphoedema service based in St Margaret’s Hospice in Taunton, where I currently work three days a week.
My clinic in Cheddar has been set up to continue my love of massage (or MLD) in treating lymphoedema and allows me to use my clinical reasoning and physiotherapy background to improve all movement within the affected area, whether that be restriction due to lymphatic impairment or restriction due to fascial of functional tightening.
As a Physiotherapist the element of “touch/hands on approach” is really important to me and massage is fundamental to the development of the profession itself all those years ago. I’m very excited about the future as lymphoedema diagnosis and treatment is ever changing and I love being a part of it.