Pre- and Post- Surgical Applications of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy
Regeneration of lymphatic vessels:
Begins after 24 hours
Maximum regeneration attained on day 14, by comparison maximum venous regeneration occurs by day 12.
Local lymph edema may occur in the wound during and after scarring.
Pre-Surgery Benefits of LDT
One to three LDT sessions are recommended.
Prepares tissue for surgery
alleviates existing edema, may allow surgery to be scheduled sooner
stimulate the immune system: accelerates production of lymphocytes
induces a state of relaxation, promotes parasympathetic response.
Post-Surgery Benefits of LDT
Performed as soon as 24 hours after surgery. Normally 2 – 8 Sessions
Alleviates post-surgery edema and bruising
helps stimulate reroutes
alleviates spasms (promotes parasympathetic response)
detoxifies, helps reverse buildup of toxins secondary to effects of medication and immobilization
stimulates fluid circulation; promotes urination
stimulates immune system and helps prevent post-surgical infection
improves skin regeneration and wound healing and optimizes scarring process
may help to prevent the formation of hypertrophic or keloid scars.
Chikly M.D., D.O., Bruno. Silent Waves: Theory and Practice of Lymph Drainage Therapy, I.H.H. Publishing, Scottsdale, Arizona, 2002. pg. 311.
Mya Breman, L.C.S.W., L.M.T., CST-D
Lymph Drainage Therapy Achieves Mini Face-Lifting Effects
The application of lymphatic drainage to the face and neck is proven to achieve a number of positive esthetic effects. Incorporated in a massage therapy session, it can provide clients added benefits that include softening of wrinkles and scars, along with enhanced skin quality.
One of the chief ways that lymphatic drainage works to accomplish these results is by improving veno-lymphatic circulation, which aides in the removal of tissue toxins. Lymphatic flow can stagnate for many reasons, such as swelling, lack of physical activity, stress, fatigue, emotional shock, age or food additives. If lymphatic circulation slows down, the regeneration of cells becomes less effective. This condition allows toxins and proteins to accumulate around the cells, causing a decrease in cellular oxygenation and tissue regeneration. Any blockage to the free flow of lymphatic fluid accelerates the aging process and opens the pathway for numerous physical diseases to develop.
By working to remove blockages and promote fluid circulation, lymphatic drainage is an invaluable tool in bolstering the health of the body’s tissues, the strength of the immune system, and the general state of a person’s well-being. Because the body’s peripheral lymphatic vessels can be easily drained, the practice is a standout esthetically for its ability to regenerate skin tissue, improve skin hydration and tone, and relax facial muscles.
Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT), in particular, is an original method developed by Bruno Chikly, M.D., D.O. (hon.). LDT enables therapists to achieve the above results efficiently and in a short period of time. LDT’s unique characteristic is its breakthrough method for detecting and connecting to the specific rhythm, direction, depth and quality of the lymphatic flow. Recent scientific discoveries on the physiology of the lymphatic system verify that these enhancements to the drainage process provide the precise rhythm and pressure needed to optimally activate lymph flow.
The pressure used with Lymph Drainage Therapy is unusually light—one ounce maximum pressure per square centimeter. The application differs from other drainage practices in that the therapist works with both hands positioned flat on the client. He or she then uses all the fingers to simulate wave-like
movements. This action prompts small muscular units located along the walls of the lymphatic channels (referred
to as “lymphangions”) to activate the flow of lymph. Since the rhythm used emulates alpha-brain waves, clients are brought into a deep state of relaxation in the process.
The response to LDT is often
obvious after the first application. The
client attains a special glow, indicating global rejuvenation
of the skin’s appearance and the alleviation—or at times disappearance—of small wrinkles. Improvement in swelling, particularly of the lower eyelids, may also be noticed.
The application of LDT on swollen lower eyelids—or under- eye bags as they’re usually called—can be addressed like any other swelling. This is not merely a wrinkle, but may involve the sagging of tissue (ptosis). When it is too advanced it is almost irreversible, but LDT still can improve it in several ways. By applying LDT to detoxify the tissues, the technique helps them to regenerate. The quality of the skin changes as does the appearance, alleviating the swelling. It should be noted, however, that advanced cases of lower eyelid swelling also could be signs of some general health problems, such as stress, sleeping disorder or poor diet that should be addressed.
The LDT sequence for the face takes between 15 and 35 minutes to perform. It is important to follow the order as it is taught and to be watchful during the first two or three sessions for a possible detoxification reaction in the client. This protocol can be applied once or twice a day, or one to three times a week for optimum results.
Incorporating Lymph Drainage Therapy in the massage therapy session can add a dynamic new dimension to the therapeutic process—one that offers the client the welcome benefit of mini face-lift effects, and the therapist the advantage of a technique that is both highly effective and less tiring to apply.
A new study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience shows the positive effects of manual lymphatic drainage massage on the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is the part of the autonomic nervous system that makes the body react under stress producing the fight or flight response. This response helps the body deal with emergencies by releasing hormones, including epinephrine (adrenaline), into the blood stream causing a number of physiological effects such as increasing the heart rate, dilating the pupils, constricting blood vessels, and inhibiting digestion.
The study which was designed to investigate the effects of manual lymph drainage massage therapy on the cardiac autonomic tone was conducted on 32 healthy male individuals and found “that the application of Lymphatic Drainage was effective in reducing the activity of the sympathetic nervous system.
The fight or flight response initiated by the sympathetic nervous system is critical in our survival and is very effective in increasing our ability to defend ourselves or to escape from dangerous situations. However, in cases of chronic “mental” stress, the sympathetic nervous system remains active, suppressing the parasympathetic nervous system (the rest and relax part of the autonomic nervous system). This creates an unhealthy state in the body and can lead to many disorders and symptoms associated with chronic stress.
Lymphatic drainage therapy is a gentle massage in which the therapist uses special massage strokes to accelerate and enhance the flow of lymphatic fluid. Your lymphatic system is a network of vessels and fluid located just below your skin. Its main function in the body is to remove toxins from your system by absorbing them into your lymph then transporting them to lymph nodes where they are purified. If the toxin is a bacteria or virus your lymphocytes and natural killer cells will attempt to destroy the invader before it spreads.
LDT has long been proven to enhance the immune system by studies conducted in the University of Miami School of Medicine and others. It is also believed to directly affect the parasympathetic nervous system making the massage a very relaxing experience to most clients. This new study shows that MLD also affects the sympathetic nervous system directly and could possibly lead to MLD being used as a treatment for post traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder, and other conditions in which the sympathetic nervous system is involved in the disorder.
Massage therapy is becoming part of the main stream medical community and is moving further away from its classification by some as “alternative medicine” with each new study published. Medical massage therapies, such as Lymphatic Drainage, can and are being used by millions of Americans to treat a growing variety of disorders. Doctors often refer patients for massage therapy, because they know of it effectiveness and lack of side effects, despite the fact the most medical insurance companies still do not pay for this branch of medicine.
Perhaps someday insurance companies will start paying for medically prescribed massage therapy thereby enabling millions more patients to experience its benefits and avoid the long term use of unwanted medications.
For more information see:
International Journal of Neuroscience. 2009;119(8):1105-17. Effects of manual lymph drainage on cardiac autonomic tone in healthy subjects. Kim SJ, Kwon OY, Yi CH. Department of Physical Therapy, Kangwon National University, Kangwon-do, 245-711, Republic of Korea.