Lymphatic Massage

Manual Lymphatic Drainage

What is manual lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic massage is a very light, manual therapy, that may stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid. Bryan Hill is a Registered Massage Therapist, who has participated in 160 hours of post-graduate training in the Dr. Vodder method of manual lymphatic drainage (MLD). The lymph massage technique uses a slow, light, repetitive pressure to move fluid. It is very calming to the nervous system and should not cause pain. Down regulation of the sympathetic nervous system may help to release muscle tension. MLD promotes fluid exchange in the tissues of the body. This action bathes them in nutrients, while removing waste metabolites, thereby promoting greater health on the cellular level.

What manual lymphatic drainage it for?
Lymphatic massage is beneficial for many conditions that involve swelling and inflammation. Depending upon the cause of swelling, lymphatic massage may be part of a long term, maintenance program or discontinued once swelling has resolved. Treatment may also involves educating clients about a variety of self-care strategies that require regular practice. The frequency of treatment for manual lymphatic drainage varies depending upon the condition that is causing the swelling. Treatment duration is longer than traditional massage due to the slow application of the technique. This pace is necessary for it to be most effective. An MLD massage may be specific to one area of the body or more encompassing and holistic.

For acute injuries, and to assist healing of surgical interventions, such as hip or knee replacements and cosmetic procedures, a series of consecutive daily appointments will present the best opportunity for healing. For chronic conditions the frequency will depend upon what other interventions are employed.

Who can do manual lymphatic drainage?
Bryan is certified by the Dr. Vodder School International as a Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapist level 3. He has participated in 160 hours of training involving both theory and practical application. As a certified lymphatic therapist is able work with both intact lymphatic systems and those with surgical or congenital impairments. The Dr. Vodder method of MLD is recognized as post graduate training by the College of Massage Therapist of British Columbia. It is also recognized by the Lymphedema Association of North America LANA

Want to know more about specific MLD protocols? Read on...

Is manual lymphatic drainage relaxation massage?

Swedish massage, as you would find at a spa, uses oil to glide over the skin with varying pressure. Manual lymphatic drainage is a dry technique that uses skin stretch and extremely light compression to stimulate lymphatic flow. Manual lymphatic drainage is calming to the sympathetic nervous system, our flight or fight mode. The light touch of MLD should not stimulate pain receptors, as may happen in Swedish massage. Many clients have remarked about the relaxing effects of MLD, and how it helps them to feel at ease. When the sympathetic nervous system is inhibited the body engages in parasympathetic activities, resting, digesting and healing. MLD employs very rhythmical movements that are repeated. The patterns of MLD let the brain and spinal cord down regulate their level of alertness, it helps the body and mind feel safe. Relaxation is a skill that can be learned, but it still requires regular practice. For the ultimate in relaxation massage, monthly 90 minute treatments are recommended.

Is manual lymphatic drainage a good massage for detoxification?
Manual lymphatic drainage may promote fluid exchange within the intercellular space. That is the space from which the cells of the body receive essential nutrients for healthy functioning. It is also the space into which the cell of the body release waste metabolites. This is the start of a detoxifying massage, at this cellular level, MLD is assisting cellular health. Efficient waste removal and delivery of nutrients creates an environment that is optimal for healthy cellular functioning. The lymphatic system is the pathway for cellular debris. When the cells of the body have been irreparably injured their component parts are removed via lymphatic vessels. The waste metabolites and cellular debris are transported to the liver and other organs for processing. What can not be recycled is sent to be removed through the organs of excretion. For the best detoxifying results, a monthly 2 hour treatment is recommended. The effects of a detox massage can be amplified with consecutive treatment; four days of 90 minute MLD treatments is recommended for a more complete systemic cleanse.

Will manual lymphatic drainage help my joint replacement operation?
Joint replacements are often accompanied by pain and swelling. MLD may not visibly reduce swelling, but it may help to promote healthy tissue around the injured joint. Healing may be quicker and involve less scarring when MLD is employed In conjunction with surgical interventions.Severely injured joint may not tolerate the heavy pressure of regular massage. However the light touch of MLD is pain free, yet still effective. Are you scheduled to have a knee replacement? Is there a hip replacement in your near future? Once you have your surgery date contact Bryan to book your MLD appointments. The recommended massage treatment protocol for joint replacement surgery is 4 consecutive days prior to surgery and 4 consecutive day after getting out of the hospital. The duration of your treatment will vary depending upon which joint is being replaced.

Orthopaedic Injuries
Motor vehicle accidents, injuries from sport and recreational activities can result in discomfort and inflammation. MLD may help to alleviate pain and assist the body to actively heal itself. Damaged tissue require the delivery of material for cellular repair as well as the removal of damaged tissue and cellular debris. Waste products from damaged tissues are removed from the site of injury through the lymphatic vessels. MLD promotes the movement of lymphatic fluid and thereby creates an optimal cellular environment in which the body's repair processes can take place. The techniques of MLD should not contribute to sympathetic nervous system activation, as deeper massage technique do. And MLD should not put fragile tissue at risk of re-injury. It should be calming and add to parasympathetic nervous system responses. The frequency and duration of treatment will vary depending upon the severity of injury. Bryan will collaborate with you to create a uniquely tailored treatment protocol that fits your lifestyle.

Chronic Pain
When pain is a constant part of your life, regular care can be very challenging. Do you ache just about everywhere? Does nothing seem to help your pain? Breaking the pain tension cycle, even for a brief amount of time, can be a relief. Manual lymphatic drainage is such a gentle and powerful massage technique that may be able to bring a change into the lives of those who suffer chronic pain. The subtle nature of the massage does not stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system. The slow, rhythmic movements of MLD pacify a nervous system that is hyper vigilant. The steady patterns bypasses the conscious mind and helps recipients connect with a healthier, less tense aspect of their body. On a cellular level, the fluid in which all of our cells are bathed, is refreshed with MLD. Frequent repetition of MLD is necessary to reprogram the nervous system, and flush the cells of the body with nutrient rich fluid. Two weeks of daily 90 minute therapy is recommended to begin. Results may vary and the effects may not be long lasting.

Cancer & Secondary Lymphedema

Who is at risk of developing Secondary Lymphedema?

Secondary lymphedema is most prevalent in people who have had lymph nodes removed or undergone radiation treatment as part of cancer treatment. A previously functioning lymphatic system has been irreparably damaged. Some other surgeries may involve damage to the lymphatic pathways and lead to lymphedema. Not all people who have had lymph nodes removed or been treated with radiation will develop lymphedema. As of August 2017 there is no reliable way to predict who will have lymphedema nor methods to detect lymphedema early.

What can be done to prevent lymphedema?

There are a few options to help prevent secondary lymphedema. Education about risk reduction and regular monitoring of the at risk limb are essential to lymphedema prevention and early detection. To gain specific information relevant to your case please make an appointment for a consultation.

What are the signs & symptoms that lymphedema is developing?

Before there are measurable signs of lymphedema there may be symptoms of fluid build up. Early symptoms of lymphedema may include a feeling of heaviness in the affected arm or leg. As an arm or leg increases the volume of fluid within the body parts that support it will have increased tension, tightness or soreness. This may be experienced in the shoulder, neck, hip or low back. Symptoms may include a feeling of stiffness in the joints of the hands or wrist, noticing that movement is slightly different. Rings may be more difficult to put on or take off of the affected hand. Altered sensation such as warmth, coolness, tingling, additional stretch to my also be experienced.

What should you do if you think you are developing lymphedema?

The very first thing to do is go to your doctor to have a cancer recurrence investigated. If you have a history of cancer and are experiencing the onset of lymphedema now is the time to act. Lymphedema is one of the first signs of cancer in post operative cancer patients.

If no active cancer is present there are options to slow the progress of lymphedema. A combination of risk reduction tactics, manual therapies and specific exercises will help lessen the impact that lymphedema will have on your lifestyle. Please schedule an appointment to discuss the specifics of your case. The adage that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is true here. Early lymphedema education and enacting preventative measures will reduce the incidence and severity of further complications and potential progression of lymphedema. If you ignore lymphedema, it will get worse.
If cancer is active treat the cancer as per the suggestions of your medical health professionals. 


Congenital Lymphedema

Lymphedema that results as a birth defect is classified as a primary lymphedema. The lymphatic system is incomplete or insufficient to transport the volume of lymphatic fluid. At present, there is no cure for primary lymphedema. Combined Decongestive Thereapy involves compression garments, MLD, and other self care practices aimed at managing the symptoms and progression of lymphedema. The types of interventions and frequency of application will vary depending upon individual requirements.