Lymphatic Treatments are designed for individuals with swelling disorders; to promote healing from surgical procedures, and to support the bodies immune system . Ellen Falconer is certified in Manual Lymphatic Drainage.
What is the Lymphatic System?
This is an ‘open’ circulatory system and our bodies major protector against disease.
There is a superficial and deep lymphatic vessel system similar to our capillaries, veins and arteries. Its main job is to transport protein molecules, that cannot be transported by the venous system, back to the heart. Lymph nodes filter our interstitial fluids, removing waste, cancer cells, water (2-4 liters daily), fat cells, and bacteria. The lymphatic system keeps our bodily fluids balanced.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is an abnormal ‘pooling’ of lymphatic fluid in the interstitial spaces of our tissues that results from injuries of the lymphatic vessels or nodes:
- from surgical removal of lymph nodes or vessels
- Radiation therapy
- Various blockages of the lymphatic system, such as scar tissue arising from a surgical procedure; trauma; tumors; burns.
- Lack of physical activity
- Aging; CVI or DVT.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)
Manual Lymphatic Drainage, also known as MLD is a gentle technique formulated for individuals with swelling disorders, especially those who are in recovery from surgical procedures, disease, or injuries that have compromised their lymphatic system.
This light technique assists and redirects lymph fluid towards lymph channels that can process and circulate the excess fluid.
Manual lymphatic drainage can be done before and immediately after surgery, allowing tissues to heal more quickly. When fluids are pulled away from the surgical site, soreness and inflammation will be reduced!
Lymphatic drainage can also increase the rate of lymph circulation dramatically (from 2-4 liters daily to over 10 liters).
Self-Care Lymphatic Massage
Ellen can also teach you manual lymphatic drainage techniques that can be integrated into your daily routine. This pro-active approach to your health can lessen the chance of future lymphedema occurrences. Frequent self-MLD can actually promote new lymphatic pathways.
Manual lymphatic drainage can also reduce abdominal discomfort from chemotherapy and other lower GI tract disturbances.
Complete Decongestive Therapy (CDT)
Briefly, as books have been written about this topic, successful treatment of lymphedema requires the use of compression materials: utilizing compression bandaging and compression garments, both of which create a compression gradient in an affected limb, where there is more compression at the distal end of the limb (hand/foot) than the area closer to the trunk. Compression therapy is administered directly after MLD to keep the affected limb from swelling.
Decongestive exercises, performed while wearing compression bandages (as well as with compression garments), will improve lymph circulation.
Compression bandaging is done in concert with lymphatic drainage, to quickly reduce fluid in the affected limb(s). The compression bandages are worn 23 hours a day- the last hour is when the MLD is performed, then the limb is re-wrapped. When fluid in the limb is reduced and limb girth measurements remain static, the limb is then measured for a custom compression garment.
Ellen is a certified garment fitter. And, ready-made garments are also available and can be effective for clients who are recovering from surgery or have sluggish venous and lymphatic circulation.
Both ready-made and custom garments are available. In Balance Therapeutic Massage & Bodywork stocks Juzo brand compression hose and can order custom garments from Juzo, Sigvaris, Elvarex, Jobst, Jovi-Pak and others.
Sessions include an initial consultation to determine your needs and concerns, a preliminary assessment, and a treatment plan to outline your goals, whether it be for one visit or a series of visits. Each client has the opportunity to co-create their session. Communication is essential for trust; relaxation is necessary for healing to take place.