Do You Know Why a Lymphatic Massage…

is beneficial for your health? The lymph is like its red brother, blood. It filters foreign matter and removes excess fluid, protein, and waste products from the tissues and transports them to the blood to be circulated and eliminated.

If the lymph didn’t do its job, you would die from protein poisoning within
twenty-four hours.

Unlike the blood, lymph does not have a heart to pump it through the body. It moves along slowly with the help of the contractions of voluntary muscles (a reason exercise is beneficial), squeezes of intestinal muscles, and pulsations of nearby arteries. The negative pressure in the chest cavity provides suction.

External hands-on stimulation helps increase the passage of lymph, especially when it gets backed up.

Lymph collects at nearly eight hundred nodes throughout the body, with two hundred in the neck alone. When nodes become swollen in the neck, armpit, or groin, the areas feel tender.  And, when the ankles, feet, legs, arms, and hands become thick with accumulated fluid, you have edema. Lymphedema also may occur following the removal of lymph nodes due to cancer.

Therapist and doctors report good results for:

  • sprains and bruises
  • puffiness in the face following cosmetic or dental surgery
  • muscular spasms from overuse or chronic tension
  • also figures in the treatment of:  sinusitis, burns, acne, scars, arthritis, emphysema, migraines, tinnitus, trigeminal neuralgia, spinal injuries, and some cerebral disorders

For patients who have undergone such operations as hysterectomy, prostectomy, and mastectomy, clinical evidence indicates that Massage Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) moves fluid when an area can no longer perform this function. If begun before the 5th month of pregnancy, it can serve as a preventive for swelling and stretch marks.

Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center has 4 Lymphatic Massage Therapists.  If you would like to make an appointment, please call 610.395.3355.

“I was introduced to the Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. The massages continue to be very helpful in my recovery and well being.” Mary 

Research by European scientists confirms the effects of MLD. From the book, “Discovering the Body’s Wisdom,” by Mirka Knaster


Control Your Insulin To Resist Cancer

It has been some of my patients, determined to get sugar out of their diets completely, who have gotten me to take a closer look at the sugar-cancer connection.  I’ve never been a big fan of sugar, but, like many people, I have a hard time avoiding it entirely, and always felt like advising people to do so would take away much of their enjoyment in eating.  I’ve compromised, but over time, have edged closer to the no-added sugar (or high-fructose corn syrup) side

Here’s how the sugar-cancer connection is laid out, based on current research

  • Cancer cells do rely on sugar (glucose) to produce energy, but all cells use sugar; cancer cells are no different in that regard except that they use even more sugar than regular cells because they are so “energetic.” It’s high insulin levels that really seem to promote cancer cell growth
  • High insulin levels are most likely to come from insulin resistance, where cells can’t allow insulin to bring glucose into the cell. As a result, your pancreas makes more insulin, until, finally, it poops out and you need to take insulin injections
  • What exactly causes insulin resistance isn’t known, but the big risk factors are the same ones that cause type 2 diabetes: obesity, lack of exercise, lack of muscle, and a high-carbohydrate, high-sugar, excess-calorie diet. Even some nutrient deficiencies, like magnesium, chromium, vitamin D and B vitamins are associated with insulin resistance, and, not surprisingly, a high-sugar diet depletes your body of these nutrients

How does insulin promote cancer?  According to Craig Thompson, M.D., a world-renown cancer researcher, and now, president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, the more insulin they get, the better cancer cells do. Cancer cells rely on what’s called “insulin signaling” to develop, and they can develop mutations to take full advantage of insulin, increasing its influence on the cell.  Dr. Thompson has said he believes that many pre-cancerous cells would never acquire the mutations that turn them into malignant tumors if they weren’t being driven by insulin to take up more and more blood sugar and metabolize it

So the bottom line, as I see it, is how do we reduce insulin resistance and high insulin levels? The same way we control or even reverse type 2 diabetes. Here’s what I tell my patients to do

  • Get regular exercise, both aerobic and muscle-building.
  • Attain a normal body weight, or, at least, a weight at which you can be physically active and feel good.
  • Avoid concentrated sources of sugar, such as soda, sweetened fruit juices and teas, candy, and desserts. Even be careful how much real fruit juice you consume (no more than 6 ounces a day.) Eat fruit instead.
  • Get away from refined carbohydrates such as white flour. Focus on whole grains, beans, lentils, brown rice, sweet potatoes, nuts and seeds, and vegetables like carrots for your carbohydrates. If you think you are intolerant of gluten, don’t eat it!
  • Replenish micronutrients as needed.  You may benefit from supplements of magnesium, chromium, vitamin D, B vitamins and other nutrients found in a multi-vitamin if your diet or absorption ability has been lacking.

By Gale Maleskey, MS, RD