History & Mission


Following extensive training in Lymphedema Management, Joachim Zuther founded the Ulmkolleg/Department of Lymphology (University of Ulm, Germany) in 1990 after he received his degree as a certified instructor for Manual Lymph Drainage (Vodder Technique) and Complete Decongestive Therapy (MLD/CDT) from the German Physical Therapy Association. The Ulmkolleg is one of the leading schools for Lymphedema Management in Europe.

In 1994 he formed the Academy of Lymphatic Studies, the first school to offer Lymphedema Certification courses in the Continental United States, according to the European curriculum. Then in 2004, he published the first textbook on Lymphedema Management titled "Textbook for Comprehensive Lymphedema Management".

The Academy of Lymphatic Studies (ACOLS) conducts Certification Courses in MLD/CDT (135 hours), Lymphedema Management Seminars (31 hours), Certification in Manual Lymph Drainage (Vodder Techniques) Courses (40 hours), as well as Advanced Courses in Lymphedema and Wound Management. ACOLS provides these courses throughout the year in the United States. Many of these courses are held in Universities, Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Hospitals and Cancer Centers.

ACOLS also provides in-service lectures to physicians, other health care professionals as well as local lymphedema support groups. ACOLS faculty members are frequent speakers and presenters at National and International Lymphedema Conferences.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Academy of Lymphatic Studies is to promote high professional standards and the continuing professional competence of health care practitioners by promoting the quality and integrity of continuing education to practitioners in the field of lymphedema management.

Our primary objective is to provide the highest quality education in Manual Lymph Drainage and Complete Decongestive Therapy (MLD/CDT) and to advance the availability, quality, use and support of lymphedema management techniques through standard settings, terminology, education and research.

High Quality in Education

Consistent with our Mission Statement, we are dedicated to provide the highest quality education. Direct contact during our certification courses, small groups, highly trained and certified instructors with many years of experience in education and treatment, as well as up-to-date teaching technologies assure a maximum learning experience for participants in our programs.