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.”