Manual Lymph Drainage

Lymphatic Drainage: A Safe and Powerful Treatment for Swelling

We proudly provide the following treatments for swelling and pain:

At the Lewisville Massage Therapy Clinic, we specialize in remedies for swelling.

One time-tested approach to reduce swelling is known as Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)… a method of hands-on treatment developed over 70 years ago in Europe.

This light — but very effective — manner of work helps-

  • Remove metabolic wastes, excess water, and toxins from the tissues
  • Alleviate pain by greatly reducing the pain signals sent to the brain
  • Relax the nervous system and relieve stress
  • Support and enhance the immune system
  • Recovery from injuries, surgical trauma, chronic conditions, and edema
  • Minimize scar formation

Since you may not have heard much about how MLD — with its gentle rhythmical precise hand movements — can reduce swelling and promote healing, here is some useful information for you-

Please click on the links to know more…

What is Manual Lymph Drainage?
Which health problems can lymphatic drainage improve?
What is the cause of swelling?
Who is at risk from swelling?
What is the lymphatic system?
How can I reduce swelling from breast cancer?

What is Manual Lymph Drainage?

Developed in Europe in the 1930’s by Dr. Emil and Estrid Vodder, Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is a safe, effective, and gentle approach to cleansing the body’s tissues that produces a detoxifying effect.

Although the primary result of MLD is to reduce swelling, it can certainly benefit a healthy person as well. MLD has been successfully applied to more than 60 different conditions to treat swelling, pain, and other related concerns.

Scientific studies, as well as vast clinical experience, have supported the effectiveness of MLD. The therapeutic benefits of MLD, evidenced by more than 30 years of research, are well documented.

MLD is widely prescribed by physicians in Europe. Many physicians in the United States and Canada also recognize the benefits of MLD for their patients.

Which health problems can lymphatic drainage improve?

Surgical-Related Issues:

  • Post-mastectomy lymphedema
  • Post-hysterectomy edema
  • Varicose veins/Venous insufficiency
  • Post-surgical swelling
  • Pre-surgery preparation
  • Post-surgery recovery
  • Pre/post cosmetic surgery
  • Post-amputation
  • Post-vein stripping

Ear, Nose and Throat:

  • Sinusitis
  • Tinnitus
  • Meniere’s disease

Other:

  • Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue
  • Toxic Poisoning
  • Scleroderma
Musculoskeletal:

  • Sprains/strains (acute and chronic)
  • Muscle/ligament tears (acute and chronic)
  • Fractures/dislocations
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Tendinitis
  • Neck pain/Whiplash/Chronic pain

Dermatological:

  • Acne/Eczema
  • Leg ulcers
  • Burns/scars

Neurological:

  • Tension headaches
  • Migraine headaches
  • Neuralgia, RSD/CRPS
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Stress reduction

What is the cause of swelling?

Swelling of a body part is called lymphedema — most often an extremity (arm or leg) — resulting from an accumulation of fluids in such proportions to be palpable (one can feel it) and visible. Frequently — depending on the area affected — lymphedema is called “swelling of the knee”, “swollen feet”, “swelling of the hands”, and so on.

Lymphedema occurs when the lymphatic system is not able to perform its function of resorption and transport of the protein and lymph load. Lymphedema can also be produced whenever lymphatic vessels are absent, underdeveloped, obstructed, or damaged.

The condition of lymphedema most often causes a feeling of embarrassment… along with decreased mobility, discomfort, and possibly often-repeated episodes of infection, cellulitis and lymphangitis. This can lead to general depression and a general worsening of the patient’s life and health.

Fungal infections may also be very frequent, and these then place a greater load on the lymphatic system. Severe cases are associated with thickening of the skin, hardening of the limb (fibrosis), leakage of lymph, and massive swelling (elephantiasis).

Who is at risk for swelling?

At risk is anyone who has had a simple mastectomy, lumpectomy, or modified radical mastectomy… in combination with axillary node dissection and (often) radiation therapy.

Lymphedema can occur immediately post-operative… within a few months, a couple of years, or even 20 years or more after cancer therapy. With proper education and care, lymphedema can be avoided or — if it develops — kept under control.

What is the lymphatic system? (Click here to view)

Nutrients entering our bodies are transported by arteries and capillaries to tissue cells which are surrounded by interstitial fluid. The nutrients must pass through this fluid before reaching the cells.

After metabolism, the cells return waste products back into the interstitial fluid for removal by a system of lymphatic vessels. The blood capillaries only resorb gases (mainly carbon dioxide), water (plasma), and small molecular substances.

The lymphatic system must drain the interstitial fluid of everything else. This includes the water (plasma) not resorbed by the venous reflow… plus unusable or waste matter such as proteins, bacteria, long chain fats, dust (from coal and glass), dyes, dead cells and cell parts, mutant cells, etc.

These substances are considered to be the Lymph Obligatory Load (LOL). Once the LOL enters the lymphatic system it is called lymph. Lymph is then transported through the lymphatic system to lymph nodes, where it is filtered and cleaned before returning to the blood circulation system.

Since the lymphatic system has no pump (heart) of its own, movement of lymph is accomplished through a combination of forces… including good diaphragmatic breathing, arterial pulsation, skeletal muscle contractions, and peristaltic (intestinal) contractions.

If the lymphatic system fails — or is impaired due to surgery, radiation, disease, or trauma — swelling can occur in the interstitial spaces, increasing the distance between capillaries and cells.

When proper drainage does not occur, cells are exposed to an undernourished and toxic environment.

Disease can be the result.

How can I reduce swelling from breast cancer?

These recommendations are for the breast cancer patient who is either at risk of lymphedema or has developed lymphedema. The following instructions should be reviewed carefully and — if necessary — discussed with your physician or therapist.

  1. Absolutely do not ignore any slight increase of swelling in the arm, hand, fingers or chest wall (consult your doctor immediately).
  2. Never allow an injection or a blood drawing in the affected arm(s).
  3. Have blood pressure checks on the unaffected arm.
  4. Keep the edemic arm, or at risk arm, spotlessly clean. Use lotion (Eucerin, Nivea) after bathing. When drying it, be gentle but thorough. Make sure it is dry in any creases and between the fingers.
  5. Avoid vigorous, repetitive movements against resistance with the affected arm (scrubbing, pushing, pulling).
  6. Avoid heavy lifting with the affected arm. Never carry heavy handbags with over-the-shoulder straps.
  7. Do not wear tight jewelry or elastic bands around affected fingers or arm(s).
  8. Avoid extreme temperature changes when bathing, washing dishes, or sunbathing (no sauna or hot tub). Keep the arm protected from the sun.
  9. Avoid any type of trauma (bruising, cuts, sunburn or other burns, sports injuries, insect bites, cat scratches).
  10. Wear gloves while doing housework, gardening or any type of work that could result in even a minor injury.
  11. When manicuring your nails, avoid cutting your cuticles. (inform your manicurist).
  12. Exercise is important, but consult with your therapist. Do not over exert an arm at risk; if it starts to ache, lie down and elevate it.
    Recommended Exercises: walking, swimming, light aerobics, bike riding, and specially designed ballet or yoga. (Do not lift more than 12 pounds)
  13. When traveling by air, patients with lymphedema must wear a compression sleeve.
  14. Additional bandages may be required on a long flight.
  15. Patients with large breasts should wear light breast prostheses (heavy prostheses may put too much pressure on the lymph nodes above the collar bone). Soft pads may have to be worn under the bra strap. Wear a well-fitted bra that is not too tight and with no wire support.
  16. Use an electric razor to remove hair from axilla. Maintain electric razor properly, replacing heads as needed.
  17.  Patients who have lymphedema should wear a well-fitted compression sleeve during all waking hours. At least every four to six months, see your therapist for a follow up. If the sleeve is too loose, most likely the circumference has reduced or the sleeve is worn.
  18. Warning: If you notice a rash, blistering, redness, increase of temperature or fever, see your doctor immediately. An inflammation of infection in the affected arm could be the beginning of lymphedema of a worsening of lymphedema.
  19. Maintain your ideal weight through a well-balanced, low-sodium, high-fiber diet. Avoid smoking and alcoholic beverages. Lymphedema is a high protein edema, but eating too little protein will not reduce the protein element in the lymph fluid; rather, this will weaken the connective tissue and worsen the condition. The diet should contain protein that is easily digested, such as chicken and fish.

Unfortunately, prevention is not a cure. But as a breast cancer patient, you are in control of your ongoing cancer checkups and the continued maintenance of your lymphedema.

Are you ready to reduce swelling and relieve pain?

Call or email us now to schedule a session-

It’s easy to book your appointment with the massage therapist of your choice!

Call: 469-767-9881

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Send an email.

Either way, we will do everything we can to accommodate your preferred day and time of choice.

Whether you’re in pain — or simply want to feel better — we understand and want to help you in any way possible.

We look forward to hearing from you soon!