Lymphatic Drainage Therapy
By Tracey Baroody, CMT
Our lymphatic system is responsible for many important functions within our physiology; maintaining balanced fluid proportions in and out of cells, regeneration of tissues, filtering out foreign substances and ‘debris’ in the body, and transportation of hormones and immune cells. If the lymphatic system is compromised you will experience edema (swelling). Usually the ‘hydraulics’ naturally repairs with no assistance but there are situations where manual therapy is needed to drain the fluid and kick start proper lymphatic flow. Surgeries, old or new injuries, lack of movement and laser treatments can stress the lymphatic system and cause it to be sluggish.
LDT therapists are trained to assess and then amplify with their hands the subtle rhythm of the lymphatic wave. This light stroke helps re-activate a stagnant flow, and swelling is often noticeably reduced after just one session. In most cases, just a few sessions will promote the lymphatic system into proper functioning on its own, with no further treatments necessary.
Since the body’s immune system is cued by the lymphatics, LDT improves functioning of our immunity. Additionally, as various cells die within our bodies, their debris is carried away by the lymphatic system. LDT is a therapy that will be necessary after node dissections in breast cancer patients. The technique can be taught and then used as self-care for anyone needing continual lymphatic maintenance. Wide ranges of practitioners are able to practice LDT. Among them; massage therapists, doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, dentists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, nurses, naturopathic physicians, lymphedema specialists, and aestheticians.
The positive results achieved from LDT include:
- Stimulation of fluid circulation to eliminate edemas (swelling) from surgery or traumas
- Deep cleansing of the body; regeneration of tissues from burns and scars; rejuvenation and anti-aging effects
- Stimulation of the immune system for prevention of illness; relief of chronic and acute inflammations such as sinusitis, acne, eczema and allergies
- Deep relaxation to help in cases of insomnia, stress, and depression
- Stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system to relieve chronic pain, and provide reduction in the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
Lymphatic massage is a very light technique with a powerful effect. Many clients say it is the most relaxing style of bodywork they have ever received. Your session might include specific work to an injury or surgery site, or in some cases might be a full body protocol. Clients nervous about touch because of a history of chronic pain or even abuse, find this technique non-threatening, soothing and therapeutic.
Whether you are looking to boost your immune system, need relief from an edema that remains after surgery or laser treatments, Lymphatic Drainage Therapy is a wonderful style of bodywork.