Our Massage Therapist is one of only a small amount of Highly Trained Therapists in Durham, Certified to Perform Lymphatic Drainage Treatments
LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE is Essential to Maintain Necessary Body Funtions even if Lymph Nodes are Removed
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Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage which is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph, which carries waste products away from the tissues back toward the heart. The lymph system depends on intrinsic contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph through the vessels to lymph nodes and then beyond the lymph nodes to the lymph ducts which return lymph to the cardiovascular system. Manual lymph drainage uses a specific amount of pressure (less than 9 ounces per square inch or about 4 kPa) and rhythmic circular movements to stimulate lymph flow.
MLD is recognized as a primary tool in lymphedema management. Therapists can receive certification through special classes conducted by various organizations specializing in MLD, or through a complete lymphedema treatment certification course. Scientific studies show mixed results regarding the efficacy of the method in treating lymphedema and further studies are needed. A 2009 meta-analysis of studies in the area of sports medicine and rehabilitation showed best evidence of effectiveness for Manual lymphatic drainage treatment to “enzyme serum levels associated with acute skeletal muscle cell damage as well as reduction of edema [swelling] around broken bones.” A 2013 systematic review of manual lymphatic drainage with regard to breast cancer related lymphedema found no clear support for the effectiveness of the intervention in either preventing limb edema in at-risk women or treating women for the condition.
Up to 25 percent of breast cancer patients whose surgery includes removal of lymph nodes in the area of the armpit eventually develop lymphedema. The condition can also occur in the legs or other parts of the body if lymph nodes are removed in the course of other types of surgery – for melanoma, colon, prostate or bladder cancer, for example – or are damaged by radiation treatment, infection or trauma. Symptoms include swelling and pain near the site of the removed or damaged lymph nodes. Lymphedema can occur immediately after radiation therapy or surgery, or weeks, months, and even years later.
A lymphatic massage session for women who develop lymphedema after surgery for breast cancer starts with light massage on the surface of the skin of the neck. The therapist gently rubs, strokes, taps or pushes the skin in directions that follow the structure of the lymphatic system so that accumulated lymph fluid can drain through proper channels. Lymphatic drainage is very gentle, is not painful and doesn’t have a stimulating effect. Each session lasts from 30 to 60 minutes, and therapy usually is performed once a day four or five times a week for two to four weeks. One study showed that the greatest reduction in swelling from lymphedema occurs in the first week of treatment and stabilizes during the second week.
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