Surgical removal of lymph nodes, radiation scarring, or injury can disturb the flow of lymph. When lymphatic vessels cannot effectively transport fluid back into circulation, the result is swelling, potential tissue damage, and increased risk of infection.
Addressing even mild lymphedema requires consistent, comprehensive treatment including manual lymph drainage, the right compression garments, therapeutic exercise, and skin care. Manual lymph drainage ( lymphatic drainage therapy, MLD/LDT) is at the core of treatment for lymphedema.
If you had surgery or radiation that involved lymph nodes, you should be evaluated for symptoms of lymphedema and learn how to avoid its progression.
Your session may include manual lymph drainage, compression garment consultation and fitting, negative pressure therapies such as lymphatic cupping, gentle myofascial release, fibrotic and scar tissue release, kinesio taping, cold laser therapy.
The right compression garments are essential in treating lymphedema and post-surgical post-lipo swelling.
There are so many kinds of compression and it’s not a case of one-size-fits-all, or of simply buying something at the drugstore. Wearing an ill-fitting garment can actually do as much harm as good. As your swelling reduces, your garment or foam boards need to be adjusted to maintain compression benefits.
When you wear the right compression, it is providing a therapeutic treatment, just as your active manual lymph drainage does.
Post-surgical swelling is caused by inflammation and trauma from the procedure. Internal scar tissue under incisions can hinder lymphatic flow. Channels formed by the liposuction cannula can fill up with fluid and the tissue can become swollen or hardened.
Lymphatic massage* helps move the fluid gently back into the lymph vessels where it belongs. Reducing the swelling reduces discomfort and may speed your recovery. Without lymph drainage therapy, patients are more likely to develop fibrosis, a chronic hardening of the tissue.
Many doctors prescribe lymphatic therapies after liposuction or other plastic surgery procedures to ensure their patients get the best possible results from their procedure and avoid post-procedure lumpiness.
*This is a precise, gentle, advanced form of massage specific to lymph. A general, Swedish, or deep tissue massage is NOT advised for lymphatic recovery.
Integrative bodywork may address the whole person - nerves, muscles, meridians, joints, connective tissue, organ and fluid systems, and the subtle breath of life which animates them. Lymphatic therapy, acupressure, cupping, massage, etc. may be combined.
Craniosacral therapy in its many forms may be thought of as under the integrative bodywork umbrella as it gently helps the body release and unwind old tensions, relieving the stress of pain and dysfunction. It can be profoundly restorative.
After your session, it’s a good idea to take it easy mentally and physically. Take a walk. Write or draw. Enjoy looking at the clouds. Have a cup of tea. Nap. However you do it, allow yourself to rest deeply.
“Bodywork is soul work.” ~ Marion Woodman
Cold laser therapy (photobiomodulation) uses the effect of specific therapeutic wavelengths of light on the cells of the body. Therapeutic lasers emit visible coherent light in specific wavelengths . Coherence is an essential factor in lasers so LEDs are not true lasers since their light is not coherent.
Bundles of light energy pass through the skin and activate light receptors within the cells of the body. In injured musculoskeletal tissue, the light initiates increased microcirculation, reduced inflammation, and enhanced tissue regeneration leading to decreased pain, and increased ease of motion.
The laser can penetrate up to several inches into tissue to promote cellular regeneration at the source of injury, healing faster, and relieving pain without the side effects of injections or pharmaceuticals. Useful for peripheral neuropathy, post-injury pain, joint replacement recovery, reducing fibrosis .