What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is an accumulation of fluid (lymph/swelling) in soft body tissues, due to impairment of the lymphatic vessels.  This buildup of lymph results in swelling called lymphedema. 

The lymphatic system carries a clear fluid called lymph, which drains out from tiny blood vessels to lymphatic vessels throughout the body.  Lymph contains water, fats, white blood cells and other components. 

Lymph from tissues and organs, drains into the lymphatic system. It then travels through the lymph nodes where it is filtered, before returning into the blood stream. 

Swelling may be so subtle that you may not notice initially but it can change overtime, potentially leading to larger limbs/fingers/chest etc. 


How do I get Lymphedema? 

Lymphedema can occur when there’s damage or impairment to the lymphatic system. Some of the common way this happens: 

  • Cancer/ Radiation Therapy – When lymph nodes are removed or damaged during breast cancer surgery (and other cancer surgeries) or are treated with radiation. Some of the lymph vessels can become blocked or can disappear entirely. This blockage may prevent lymph from draining the area and will overwhelm the remaining pathways, resulting in a backup of fluid in the body. 
  • Surgery – Lymphedema can occur because of surgical procedures that involve the removal of lymph nodes or damage to the lymphatic vessels. 
  • Infection – Causes inflammation and damage to the lymphatic vessels. 
  • Trauma – Such as burns, cuts, breaks and accidents may damage the lymphatic system and disrupt the flow of lymph. 
  • Congenital Conditions – Some individuals may be born with abnormalities or malformations of the lymphatic system, which can predispose them to developing lymphedema during their life. 


When does Lymphedema appear post treatment? 

The onset of lymphedema can vary depending on several factors, the type of treatment received, and any underlying health conditions. In some cases, lymphedema may develop shortly after treatment, but generally, it may take months or even years to appear. 


What is my chance of getting Lymphedema after my surgery? 

Lymphedema will affect 20-40% of woman that have breast cancer, predominately in the arm they received the cancer treatment. 

Can Lymphedema be treated? 

Yes, lymphedema can be treated, although it is typically managed rather than cured completely. The goals of treatments are to reduce swelling, alleviate discomfort, prevent complications, and improve overall quality of life for individuals living with lymphedema. Treatment approaches may vary depending on the severity of the condition and individual needs, but commonly used strategies include: 


  • Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD): MLD is a specialized massage technique performed by trained therapists to stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage the drainage of excess fluid from the affected area. This gentle, hands-on approach can help reduce swelling and improve lymphatic function.
  • Compression Therapy: Compression garments or bandages are worn on the affected limb to apply external pressure and promote the movement of lymph fluid. Compression helps prevent fluid buildup and reduces swelling.  
  • Exercise: Physical activity, can help improve lymphatic flow, muscle strength, and joint mobility. 
  • Skin Care: Proper skincare is essential for individuals with lymphedema to prevent infections and minimize skin-related complications. This includes keeping the skin clean, moisturized, and protected from cuts, scratches, and other injuries. 
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Making certain lifestyle changes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding prolonged periods of immobility, practicing good hygiene, and protecting the affected limb from injury, can help manage lymphedema and reduce the risk of exacerbating symptoms. 
  • Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT): CDT is a comprehensive treatment approach that combines various strategies, including MLD, compression therapy, exercise, skincare, and patient education. This multidisciplinary approach is often considered the gold standard for managing lymphedema. 


Here at Wellness House, we are able to help manage your Lymphedema. We are privileged to have Emmanuelle Ravez who is trained in Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Combined Decongestive Therapy. To book with Emmanuelle please click here. 


Fu MR. Breast cancer-related lymphedema: Symptoms, diagnosis, risk reduction, and management. World J Clin Oncol. 2014 Aug 10;5(3):241-7.  

Petrek JA, Senie RT, Peters M, Rosen PP. Lymphedema in a cohort of breast carcinoma survivors 20 years after diagnosis. Cancer. 2001;92:1368–1377 

Dr. John Hall Chiropractor

Dr. John Hall Retirement

December 2023 sees an end to a long and wonderful chapter. Dr. John Hall will be ‘hanging up his activator and retiring from chiropractic practice after 63 years serving patients from Viet Nam to Ecuador and for the last 33 years, here at Wellness House in Westboro. He and his wife Penny will continue to volunteer and serve their church, their community and their family. Dr. Hall is not the pipe and slippers type! Dr. John Hall Chiropractor

Open Sign of Wellness House


Open Sign of Wellness HouseAs per the government of Ontario mandate for health care facilities, facemasks are still required to be worn within our clinic until further notice. We still ask that patients wear a 3 layer disposable mask. If you do not have your own, one will be provided to you upon entry. We thank you for continuing to monitor for covid symptoms and for continuing to fill out our screening questionnaire.

WE ARE OPEN – January 14th New Provincial Government Regulations

Dear Friends,

We are happy to announce Wellness House will remain OPEN for your care during the Ontario stay at home order starting January 14th, 2021. 

As regulated healthcare providers, our services are deemed essential. Rest assured; we will continue to enforce all enhanced COVID-19 safety protocols in accordance with governing regulations.

Please continue to arrive no earlier than 3-4 minutes prior to your appointment. This allows us to control the traffic in the clinic to keep everyone safe. 

As a thank you for your support during this difficult year we will continue to take names until the end of January for our Thank You Draw. All patients that have come into the clinic since March 2020 are entered into the draw to win one of 4 prizes.

  1. 2 Week Membership at 9Round 30 minute Kickbox Fitness
  2. 2 Week Membership at Reform, Health and Fitness
  3. Local Westboro Retailers Gift Basket
  4. Local Westboro Retailers Gift Basket

Thanks to the following local gyms for their generous donations:


There will be no interruption to currently scheduled appointments.
We hope that the New Year is treating you well.

Dr. Peter Wise, Dr. Nicole Fournier, Dr. John Hall, Dr. J’aime Goguen, Lang, Popie, Helen, Silvana, Jessica & Amanda.

Holiday Hours

Well, well, well, what a year eh?

As we call a wrap on 2020, it has truly been a rollercoaster. While we have all had our own challenges to overcome in these difficult times, we hope that the worst is now behind us and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Thankfully, there is positive news around the world, and we will survive this, with vaccinations starting to roll out, water being discovered on the moon, and the use of cotton candy machines to make N95 masks. Hopefully, those masks will also have the flavour!

Our Holidays Hours

We are closed for the holidays from Thursday, December 24th through Sunday January 3rd, and will resume normal business hours on Monday, January 4th.

We will only be available for emergencies over the holidays and have set aside some time on December 29th and 30th to see those emergency patients who are unable to wait until the new year. If you end up needing us, please email: info@wellnesshouse.ca. We will not be answering the phones, but will check our messages and will call you once we have received your email.

A Big Thank You!
We want to express a heartfelt thank you for your continued support during this challenging year. We very much appreciate each one of you! We recognize how difficult this year has been for everyone and it means the world to us that you have put your trust in us.

As a small gesture, we will be holding a draw for two local gym memberships and two gift-baskets, filled with wonderful things that we have put together from local area businesses.

We would like to recognize two local fitness studios that have donated memberships:

They are absolutely fantastic and I highly urge you to check out their websites by clicking on the links above. Perhaps this could be a great way to start your New Years Resolutions?😉 Both are less than 400m from our clinic!

If you have been into the clinic post-shutdown (since June) we will automatically enter your name in the draw, one ballot per treatment! The draw will take place January 31st 2021. Good luck to everyone; there is still time to come into the clinic and have your name entered into the draw!!!

Feeling stressed out with too much going on? Try this easy 14 minute video on progressive muscle relaxation.
We look forward to continuing to serve you as we move into the new year. Please be assured of our diligence to follow heath and safety protocols. We hope that 2021 will end in celebration and that this pandemic will become a thing of the past. Until then, stay safe, and from all of us here at Wellness House, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Dr. Peter Wise, Dr. Nicole Fournier, Dr. John Hall, Dr. J’aime Goguen, Lang, Popie, Helen, Silvana, Jessica & Amanda.

Stop Sign

Updated clinic protocols for patient safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

After 76 days, we are officially open!

Wellness House is happy to announce that we are gradually reopening as of TODAY, June 1stThere is a lot of information to share so please read to the end, it’ll only take a few minutes (promise!). 
What’s covered?
Appointment rescheduling, new clinic protocols video and COVID-19 Refresh Intake Form. 

Appointment Rescheduling

Throughout the week we will be contacting all patients with cancelled/rescheduled appointments during the closure for new appointment times. We appreciate your patience during this time. 

Online bookings will not be available immediately as our practitioner schedules will be fluid over the next few weeks. 

If you require immediate care, don’t hesitate to contact us on 613.722.7799 to book an appointment. We have designated spots available starting today.

New Clinic Protocols
To ensure the safety of patients, practitioners and staff, we have changed significantly the way we operate. Please watch the following 2 minute video to see the added safety precautions and the new flow through the clinic. 

Arriving at the clinic
  • Wait in your car until 2-3 minutes before your scheduled appointment time
  • Come alone unless you are in need of physical assistance or guardian 
  • Bring only wallet, phone, keys – no other personal items handbags etc
Entering the clinic
  • Use the front door off the main street to enter
  • Please wear your mask from home (one will be provided if required, these are very difficult to come by, so if you have one please bring it)
  • Sanitize your hands
  • Front staff with greet you safely behind plexiglas
Entering the rooms
  • You will be instructed to wait in one of our private treatment rooms or waiting room whilst maintaining physical distancing 
  • Place your wallet, phone, keys on the desk, leave your shoes on and have a seat on the table
  • Your doctor will greet you wearing a protective mask 
  • All tables are thoroughly sanitized and have single use face covers for every appointment
  • Rooms are immediately sanitized once you have left
After the treatment
  • When you are finished, make your way to the waiting room and stand on the X, the front desk will be able to assist you with payments and bookings
  • “Tap” method is preferred – we are avoiding cash and cheques
  • Receipts will be e-mailed to you
  • Please sanitize on your way out the back door to our parking lot by following the arrows

COVID-19 Refresh Intake Form

Before your next visit you will be emailed a COVID-19 Refresh Intake Form. We are taking the opportunity to ensure we have the most current patient information on file. Please take a few minutes to fill it in. 

We look forward to seeing you again soon!


stop sign

Please reschedule your appointment if you answer YES to any of the following:
1. Are you presenting with fever, new onset of cough, worsening chronic cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing? 
2. Have you been in close contact with anyone with acute respiratory illness or travelled outside of Canada in the past 14 days? 

3. Do you have a confirmed case of COVID-19 or had close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19? 

4. Do you have any of the following symptoms: Sore throat, runny nose/sneezing, nasal congestion, hoarse voice, difficulty swallowing, decrease smell/taste, chills, headaches (different to your normal), unexplained fatigue, diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea/vomiting
5. Are you over 65 years of age, and experiencing any of the following: delirium, falls, acute functional decline, or worsening of chronic conditions? 

Ontario COVID-19 online self assessment

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call us, our team is here to help guide you through this ‘new normal’.


To breathe or not to breathe?

From our first day, until our last, we have been filling our lungs and breathing non-stop. In an average life span we breath in and out close to 700 billion times… Have you ever stopped to wonder if you have been doing it right? Research has indicated to us that correct breathing improves many things, from injuries, to stress. So,during this pandemic, while our lives are far from normal, let’s take a moment to see if we tend ‘to breathe or not to breathe’ (properly).

How do we breathe?

Answer:  We breathe, thanks to our diaphragm, a muscle in your core that is between your lungs and organs. As we BREATHE IN, the diaphragm contracts and pulls down, the lungs inflate, pushing the chest and abdomen up and out. Then as we BREATHE OUT, the diaphragm relaxes and raises, allowing the chest and abdomen to fall.

Why is it important?

Incorrect breathing causes pain and discomfort. It causes the accessory muscles of your neck to be overused, leading to forward head posture and chronic neck pain. Correct use of the diaphragm helps brace the core, stabilizing the spine during lifting and carrying, preventing injuries. People with chronic low back pain have altered breathing patterns during physical tasks. So, if you have chronic low back pain there is a good chance you don’t breathe right!

What are the benefits of breathing correctly?

  • Reduced stress
  • Decreased mechanical neck pain
  • Decreased mechanical low back pain
  • Decreased pain
  • Improved recovery from injury
  • Strengthening of the diaphragm
  • Less energy is required to breathe, by decreasing your breathing rate
  • Lower oxygen demand

So how do we do it?

We have taken the following summary from the Cleveland Clinic and the full article can be found here: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9445-diaphragmatic-breathing

To begin start by laying down:

1. Lie on your back on a flat surface or in bed, with your knees bent and your head supported. You can use a pillow under your knees to support your legs. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.

Lady breathing

2. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.

Lady breathing in

3. Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.

Lady breathing out

Progress to sitting:

  1. Sit comfortably, with your knees bent and your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
  2. Place one hand on your upper chest and the other just below your rib cage. This will allow you to feel your diaphragm move as you breathe.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose so that your stomach moves out against your hand. The hand on your chest should remain as still as possible.
  4. Tighten your stomach muscles, letting them fall inward as you exhale through pursed lips. The hand on your upper chest must remain as still as possible.

Note: You may notice an increased effort will be needed to use the diaphragm correctly. At first, you’ll probably get tired while doing this exercise. But keep at it, because with continued practice, diaphragmatic breathing will become easy and automatic.

How often should I practice this exercise?

At first, practice this exercise 5-10 minutes about 3-4 times per day. Gradually increase the amount of time you spend doing this exercise, and perhaps even increase the effort of the exercise by placing a book on your abdomen.


(1) De Troyer A, Boriek AM. Mechanics of the respiratory muscles. Comprehensive Physiology. 2011 Jan;1(3):1273-300.

(2) Kapreli E, Vourazanis E, Billis E, Oldham JA, Strimpakos N. Respiratory dysfunction in chronic neck pain patients. A pilot study. Cephalalgia. 2009 Jul;29(7):701-10.

(3) Wirth B, Amstalden M, Perk M, Boutellier U, Humphreys BK. Respiratory dysfunction in patients with chronic neck pain–Influence of thoracic spine and chest mobility. Manual therapy. 2014 Oct 1;19(5):440-4.

(4) Hodges PW, Gandevia SC. Changes in intra-abdominal pressure during postural and respiratory activation of the human diaphragm. Journal of applied Physiology. 2000 Sep 1;89(3):967-76.

(5) Hemborg B, Moritz U, Löwing H. Intra-abdominal pressure and trunk muscle activity during lifting. IV. The causal factors of the intra-abdominal pressure rise. Scandinavian journal of rehabilitation medicine. 1985;17(1):25-38.

(6) Roussel N, Nijs J, Truijen S, Vervecken L, Mottram S, Stassijns G. Altered breathing patterns during lumbopelvic motor control tests in chronic low back pain: a case–control study. European Spine Journal. 2009 Jul 1;18(7):1066-73.

(7) Ahmad AH, Zakaria R. Pain in times of stress. The Malaysian journal of medical sciences: MJMS. 2015 Dec;22(Spec Issue):52.

(8) Kellezi B, Coupland C, Morriss R, Beckett K, Joseph S, Barnes J, Christie N, Sleney J, Kendrick D. The impact of psychological factors on recovery from injury: a multicentre cohort study. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. 2017 Jul 1;52(7):855-66.

(9) Chen YF, Huang XY, Chien CH, Cheng JF. The effectiveness of diaphragmatic breathing relaxation training for reducing anxiety. Perspectives in psychiatric care. 2017 Oct;53(4):329-36.

(10) Ma X, Yue ZQ, Gong ZQ, Zhang H, Duan NY, Shi YT, Wei GX, Li YF. The effect of diaphragmatic breathing on attention, negative affect and stress in healthy adults. Frontiers in psychology. 2017 Jun 6;8:874.

(11)  Tekur P, Nagarathna R, Chametcha S, Hankey A, Nagendra HR. A comprehensive yoga programs improves pain, anxiety and depression in chronic low back pain patients more than exercise: an RCT. Complementary therapies in medicine. 2012 Jun 1;20(3):107-18.

(12) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/9445-diaphragmatic-breathing

Leadership in Health Awards by Ottawa Health & Wellness ONLINE Expo

Congratulations to Dr. Nicole Fournier

Dr. Fournier has been nominated in the category of Ottawa Best Chiropractor in the Ottawa Health and Wellness Expo’s Leadership in Health Awards!

She has been recognized for her work in helping patients achieve excellent results.

Winners will be announced on February 23rd during the online expo, voting ends on February 19th!

Go vote for her by following this link! 😄 

Be sure to vote and support our fantastic team!

Nominated For Ottawa Best Chiropractor Award by Ottawa Health & Wellness ONLINE Expo

Wear Red Canada

This February we’re supporting the Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre here in Ottawa by bringing attention to the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of women in North America.

$10 from every new patient this month will be donated to #HERHEARTMATTERS

You can help by referring a new patient or by sharing this Facebook post to be automatically entered into a draw to win a $200 Gift Card for the Nordik Spa!

Give us a call 613.722.7799 or book online at wellnesshouse.ca

For more information on Canadian Women’s Heart Health Centre please go to their website here.

Below is a short 3 minute video to better explain Women’s Heart Health

❤️ Thanks for your support ❤️