edema

Lymphatic Drainage by Vera Lovewell, RN, LMT

Lymphatic System
by Vera Lovewell, RN, LMT

The lymphatic system is so important to our health. It plays a vital role in balancing our body’s fluid distribution. The lymph system is also a major component of our immune system. It aids in filtering bacteria and toxins out of the body and assists the body to fight infection.

As with any system of the body, there are things we can do to optimize its function. Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a central pump (heart) to move fluids. It depends on the pumping action created by the movement of muscles; so exercise and activity are important to the functioning of the lymph system. The muscle movement of the diaphragm is a major mover of the lymph; therefore, good deep breathing is important.  A good balanced diet that maintains a healthy weight is also important. Treat yourself well and you’ll treat your lymph system well.

Unfortunately, despite good effort, not everyone is blessed with a healthy lymph system.

Whether it is residual damage from a surgery or a traumatic injury, or a genetic trait, some people experience an insufficient lymph system that causes chronic edema in their  leg (s) or arm (s); lymphedema. Many people are never adequately treated. In the USA manual lymph drainage wasn’t really practiced until the 1980’s – 90’s. Manual
lymphatic drainage and complete decongestive therapy can treat this problem, reducing the edema and supporting the lymph system.

Lymphatic drainage is beneficial to many people. It is used to reduce lymphedema caused by dysfunctions or impairments of the lymph system. It assists with the edema and healing of chronic leg wounds often found with venous statis/peripheral vascular disease.  Manual lymphatic drainage reduces the chronic inflammation suffered by people with various forms of arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other autoimmune diseases. And, it is also beneficial to the healthy population who desire to detox their bodies and give a boost to their immune systems.

Manual lymphatic drainage is a very gentle massage technique that encourages the flow of lymph from the extremities back toward the body’s center and to the circulatory system.  Decongestive therapy is the wrapping done with special bandages after manual lymphatic drainage treatments. It helps maintain the flow of lymph and furthers reduction of edema.

It’s an exciting field that is beneficial to many people and I’m happy that it can now be offered at Twin Ponds Integrative Health Center.

If you have a need for Lymphatic Drainage or Complete Decongestive Therapy, please
call 610.395.3355

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