The lymphatic system is one of the most important systems in our body. The proper functioning of the lymphatic system is critical to our body’s ability to detoxify, nourish and regenerate tissue, filter out metabolic waste and inorganic material, and maintain a healthy immune system.
What is a Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Lymphatic drainage is a light, rhythmic, manual therapy employed to increase lymph circulation throughout the body. This subtle technique uses a repetitive pumping motion which in part, moves the skin in the direction of lymph flow (the majority of the lymphatic system is just below the skin).
Stretching the skin stimulates the lymphangions to contract more often, improving lymph circulation. Lymphatic drainage is performed in a precise manner to activate lymphatic flow, which, in turn, decreases tissue congestion and stimulates the immune system.
Lymph circulation can be increased six to ten times the standard rate as a result of a single session of lymphatic drainage. The proper functioning of the lymphatic system is critical to our body’s ability to detoxify, nourish and regenerate tissue, filter out metabolic waste and inorganic material and maintain a healthy immune system.
How will I feel after Lymphatic Drainage?
After you are finished with your Lymphatic Drainage session with us, you may feel a bit of an itchy and tingly sensation because of the increased blood flow and movement of the Lymph Fluid throughout your entire body.
With the natural process of detoxification during this process, you may also feel a bit light headed afterwards, so it is important to drink a lot of water to flush out your body. Many people feel very light at their legs once they’re finished, and can continue to their everyday activities right away.
Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage:
Reduced edema and swelling after surgery and other conditions
For some people, especially following surgery, cosmetic procedures, and liposuction, the lymph nodes and vessels can’t keep up with the body tissues’ need to get rid of excess fluid, proteins, and waste. Very gradually, waste and fluid buildup in the tissues of the affected areas; usually in the arms and legs.
What are the stages of Lymphedema?
Lymphedema usually progresses through a series of stages. That’s why it’s important to get help right away, even if your initial symptoms don’t seem like a big deal or they come and go. If you don’t act on early symptoms, the buildup of lymph can cause permanent damage to the tissues under the skin.
According to the International Society of Lymphology, the stages are:
Stage 0 (latent)
There are no visible changes to the affected area, but you may notice a difference in feeling, such as a mild tingling, unusual tiredness, or slight heaviness. You can have stage 0 lymphedema for months or years before obvious symptoms develop.
Stage 1 (mild)
The affected area appears mildly swollen as the protein-rich fluid starts to accumulate. When you press the skin, a temporary small dent (or pit) forms; you may see this referred to as “pitting edema.” Such early-stage lymphedema is considered reversible with treatment because the skin and tissues haven’t been permanently damaged. When you elevate the arm, for example, the swelling resolves.
Stage 2 (moderate)
The affected area is even more swollen. Elevating the arm or other area doesn’t help, and pressing on the skin does not leave a pit (non-pitting edema). Some changes to the tissue under the skin are happening, such as inflammation, hardening, or thickening. Stage 2 lymphedema can be managed with treatment, but any tissue damage can’t be reversed.
Stage 3 (severe)
This is the most advanced stage, the affected limb or area of the body becomes very large and misshapen, and the skin takes on a leathery, wrinkled appearance.
What are the symptoms of Lymphedema?
Typically, with mild lymphedema, which can get worse if it’s not treated, you might notice that the area feels a little bit different; tingly, uncomfortable, achy, or “full”. Also clothes jewelry, or shoes might feel a little tight.
How long will Lymphedema last?
Each person’s symptoms will vary in length and severity, and once you have mild Lymphedema, you are at higher risk for moderate-to-severe Lymphedema than someone who has never had any symptoms.
What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage?
Manual Lymphatic Drainage, MLD, is a therapy that is used to support the lymphatic system to more efficiently rid the body of toxins and excess fluid, and reduce swelling.
During MLD, your therapist uses manual light touch to move excess lymph and fluid out of the tissues and back into the lymphatic vessels. Although often referred to as a type of massage, MLD is very different from traditional forms of massage that rely on deep and rigorous rubbing. MLD is much gentler. Lymphatic drainage is very gentle, is not painful and doesn’t have a stimulating effect. Each session lasts from 45 to 60 minutes. One study showed that the greatest reduction in swelling from lymphedema occurs in the first week of treatment and stabilizes during the second week.
A mechanical device, a pneumatic pump — also called an intermittent pneumatic compression pump — is a machine that has an inflatable sleeve or vest-like garment attached to it, with multiple chambers (like balloons) that inflate one after the other to stimulate the flow of lymph in the right direction. This pump can also be applied to achieve desired results of MLD.
What is Complete Decongestive Therapy CDT?
Also known as Complex Decongestive Therapy; CDT is an individual treatment plan, that generally involves short term Compression Bandaging, MLD, (Manual Lymphatic Drainage), and exercise. CDT is more commonly applied to people in cases of stage 2 and 3 Lymphedema.
Can you have Lymphedema in your neck?
Most Lymphedema occurs in the extremities like hands and feet and arms and legs. It can however occur in the neck and torso.
Can I combine Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage with Acupuncture?
Recent evidence suggests that acupuncture can help reduce the symptoms of Lymphedema. To tonify the heart and circulatory systems, increase the flow of chi, and stimulate the kidneys and bladder, key acupuncture points will be applied to support lymphatic drainage.
Is there a special diet which prevents Lymphedema?
A diet that is high in whole fruits and vegetables and grains and low in animal products as well as sugar and salt is recommended.