Five years ago, Luis López Montoya was a university student finishing his studies in physical therapy when he received a scholarship to study lymphatic therapy at the Universidad de Guadalajara, México.
“To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect,” Montoya says. “I was young, and I didn’t know a single thing about lymphedema and its implications in the world.”
Curious and eager to explore new areas, Montoya accepted the scholarship. At the Universidad he received comprehensive instruction on lymphedema and classic decongestive physical therapy, and was soon treating his first patients.
Most of Montoya’s patients were those with breast cancer related lymphedema. As the volume of their affected limbs decreased and the patients felt better, Montoya became motivated by their hope. He began to consume whatever he could about lymphedema and its treatment, from peer-reviewed articles to books and publications. “I became a kind of lymphology junkie,” Montoya says.
Montoya’s interest went beyond investigative curiosity, however: “In México, not many healthcare professionals care about lymphedema. It is a massive black hole in attention,” he explains. “So I decided to be prepared to face new cases with better tools to offer treatment.”
He continued to grow as a professional, focusing on the conservative treatment of lymphedema while still studying and attending lectures and conferences. Throughout his reading, Montoya noticed a name that kept popping up in the research articles: Godoy.
“This called my attention and I thought, ‘Why is this man being quoted or referenced in a lot of articles around the world?’” says Montoya. “And the quest began.”
The Doctors Godoy
There are two Godoys: angiologist and vascular surgeon Dr. José Maria Pereira de Godoy and his wife, occupational therapist Dr. Maria de Fátima Guerreiro Godoy. Motivated by the challenges faced by underprivileged populations living with lymphatic diseases, the Godoys dedicated themselves to the treatment and research of lymphedema and together developed a breakthrough in the clinical treatment of elephantiasis that not only introduces new techniques, but new tools as well.
Their method, known as the Godoy Method, involves both manual and mechanical lymph drainage; cervical stimulation; passive exercises using electromechanical devices; myolymphokinetic activities; and compression. Custom inelastic stockings and sleeves made of grosgrain are the main form of compression used, however bandages and elastic stockings are also utilized during and after treatment.
These therapeutic components can be used in different combinations according to the patient’s individual needs and clinical stages; this flexibility allows the treatment to be tailored according to cost and time as well, making it more accessible to patients who are otherwise marginalized from treatment.
Watch Montoya demonstrate the Godoy Method and its incredible results in this must-see video:
Headquartered in São José do Rio Preto, São Paulo, Brazil, the Godoy Clinic offers training in the Godoy treatment method. Training is also available at accredited centers around the world, where certified professionals and technical representatives use this method with significant results at all clinical stages.
Putting it into practice
Montoya, whose training was based in classical complete decongestive therapy and Vodder techniques, struggled to understand this new treatment approach at first. “I must confess that I was very skeptical about all this,” says Montoya. “But I think I am an open-minded professional, and all my prejudices went away when I discovered all the scientific research they have developed with Godoy Method.”
As soon as Montoya learned the Drs. Godoy were coming to México, he knew he had to meet them and become certified in the Godoy Method. And so he did.
A few months after meeting the doctors, Montoya traveled to the Godoy Clinic in Brazil, where he experienced a variety of cases and presentations of lymphedema. He returned to Brazil the following year to obtain additional certification and perfect his training so that he could bring the method – and its results – back to México.
At FI Fisioterapia Integral, his physiotherapy clinic in Guadalajara, México, Montoya and his colleagues use the Godoy Method to great effect: “We are attaining outstanding results, specifically in extreme cases that nobody wants to attend, or that are not a good candidate for any kind of surgery,” says Montoya. “We are now attending cases that, before knowing the Godoy Method, I would have thought were impossible to treat.”
Rather than strictly adhere to one treatment modality, Montoya says he adapts the best from classical complete decongestive therapy and manual lymphatic drainage along with components of the Godoy Method depending on the patient’s needs.
“An individualized intervention is better than a fixed recipe to treat so many different patients, but the Godoy Method is still the mainstay of my interventions, especially for elephantiasic cases,” Montoya explains.
Click to enlarge photos and read captions.
Recently, Drs. Godoy and Godoy visited Montoya’s clinic in México. Montoya himself has been busy presenting at conferences related to lymphedema and lipedema, publishing the second edition of his book, and, of course, continuing to treat patients.
“So,” Montoya says. “This is my story so far.”
“It sounds like you didn’t find lymphedema, but rather lymphedema found you,” I tell him.
“That’s very accurate!” he says. “I like it because it is true.”
What is different about what he does? Clearly he gets results, but I can’t tell what the difference in the systems is. Can you provide more information?
Sure thing! Like you said, many of the components are similar, like the use of compressive therapy, the decongestive exercises, MLD, and skincare. One of the components that’s different with the Godoy Method is the use of a mechanical device that facilitates passive movement of the ankle. The stockings, too, are different in that they are inelastic. The treatment is usually very intensive – about eight hours a day for severe cases, lasting a couple weeks.
I recommend watching the videos included in the post, as Luis walks us through the treatment and demonstrates some of these components. The visuals really helped me to understand what exactly they do and how it helps. There are some explanatory links throughout the article, too, that go more in depth with these details.
Wishing you the best!
What a great article. He is a gifted and dedicated therapist. Thanks again for educating us all with your blog.
Great article of a passionate man who is helping the LE community!
Guadalajara is a beautiful city and coincidentally, Albuquerque just announced that the ABQ Sunport (our airport) is offering direct flights to Guadalajara.
My friends and I are planning a trip there next summer. I would love to meet Luis!
I was blown away by this article and his results. I know there are so many people who do not get treatment because it’s overwhelming and because lots of individual obstacles like health insurance, time, and lack of bandwidth for problem solving. I LOVE that this clinic is doing 6-8 hour treatments daily. It makes so much sense and I hope we get to learn more about the grosgrain compression garments he talks about in the video. I would love to see that up close and try to understand how they work. From a distance it looked like the garment tightens and loosens.
Best of all – his clinic is in Mexico! If anyone goes to this clinic for treatment, I hope they follow up with you and report back results. I am heartened by this therapist. He seems to be taking in people who are suffering the most. Thank you for this story.
What is the device used in the Godoy method? Is this the only difference?
The device, called the RAGodoy Apparatus, is one of the main components and performs continuous passive flexion and extension of the ankle; they also have a similar device for upper extremity lymphedema.
The compression stockings are also unique in that they are inelastic and adjusted as the patient’s volume reduces during treatment. The treatment is pretty intensive and lasts usually 6-8 hours a day for several weeks.
I recommend watching the videos included in the post, as Luis walks us through the treatment and demonstrates some of these components. The visuals really helped me to understand what exactly they do and how it all comes together! There are some explanatory links throughout the article, too, that link out to resources that go more in depth with these details.
Hope that helps!
thankfully there are therapists like this, thank you to those that take this condition seriously and have achieved amazing results for patients.
I loved this article and would like to add that my husband and I moved to Mexico to see Luis and get treatment for my lipedema. His individual treatment has been successful. Totally grateful that he shares both hope and education.
Are you willing to share what average costs are for his treatment? I’m thinking of making the trip as well
Thank you for this blog and the information on Luis Lopez Montoya! The work he is doing is changing lives and as someone living with late stage Lipedema and secondary Lymphedema, I am moved to tears at his desire to help these extreme cases – that desire to learn and treat is moving and so much hope for us in the future.