How Lymph Drainage Therapy Works With Constant Change


Moment after moment, beat by beat, everything is changing, everything is new. Moment after moment, new universe, new you.

You are not the same person who read the previous sentence. This is The Law of Constant Change.

One representation of this Law of Constant Change in the body is the "Silent Wave," a term used to describe the function of the Lymphatic system, constantly moving, constantly renewing us.

The proper function of the lymphatic system is critical to our bodies' ability to drain stagnant fluids, detoxify, regenerate tissues, filter out toxins and foreign substances, and maintain a healthy immune system.

How and Why Decongestive Therapy Works

To understand how and why decongestive therapy works, we need to first understand exactly how the lymph system is made up.

Generally, the lymph system is comprised of “channels” that go throughout our body and are connected by lymph nodes. However, it is also comprised of an unbelievable network of lymph capillaries under and through the layers of our body. This almost microscopic network collects fluids and channels it into the lymph vessels to be filtered through the lymph nodes and eventually carried out of the body.

In lymphedema, because of an impaired lymph system, fluid collects in the interstitial areas (tissues) between cells. This fluid is composed of proteins and electrolytes and even includes the liquid of blood plasma. You normally have about 15 quarts of this fluid in your system. With this condition, this liquid doesn't move as it should and eventually the affected areas swell from the excess fluid, the whole system becomes “clogged.”

What is Decongestive Therapy?

Decongestive therapy is a manual therapy technique that helps unclog the system. It gently moves this fluid in the direction of normal body flow so that it can be eliminated. By unclogging the system, the tiny network of lymph capillaries are able to help move the fluid.

Types of Lymph Drainage Therapy

There are two popular schools of thoughts for manual Lymph Drainage Therapy.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a unique, therapeutic method of stimulating the movement of fluids in the tissues. The gentle, rhythmic, pumping, massage movements follow the direction of lymph flow and produce rapid results. It assists the cutaneous lymphatics in picking up and removing not just fluids, but all the waste products, protein particles and debris, from our system. It also is successful in breaking fibrosis and fibrotic areas of a lymphedemas limb.

This treatment was created and developed Danish therapists Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife, Estrid, in the 1930's and was introduced in Paris in 1936. They are also credited with creating a specialty of medicine called Lymphology.

Comprehensive Decongestive Therapy (CDT) is used primarily in the treatment of lymphedema and venous insufficiency edema. It is a combination of MLD, bandaging exercises and skin care.

CDT may also involve breathing exercises, compressive garments, dietary measures or topical applications and use of physical factors like vibrations or oscillating movements. In the April workshop at 2nd Story yoga, we'll practice self- and partner- LDT simple techniques, some yoga band as and elements of Flamenco to stimulate the lymph flow.

A frequent indication for CDT is lymphedema caused by irradiation or surgery due to cancer. It can relieve edema, fibrosis and the accompanying pain and discomfort.

The Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) approach, developed by Dr.Bruno Chickly DO, offers some major advantages.

The LDT uses gentle manual maneuvers to detect the specific rhythm, direction and quality of the lymph flow anywhere in the body. From there, the practitioner uses his hands to perform Manual Lymphatic Mapping of the vessels to assist the overall direction of the lymphatic circulation, areas of stagnation, and the best alternate pathways for draining lymph and other body fluids.

In essence, this stimulates the immune system and balance the autonomic nervous system. The results may be:

  • Reduction in edema and Lymphedemas of many origins
  • Relief of chronic and subacute inflammation and conditions such as acne, eczema and allergies
  • Regeneration of tissues (from burns and post-surgical scars to traumatic injuries)
  • Anti-aging effects on skin
  • Detoxification of the body
  • Deep relaxation to aid insomnia, depression, stress, loss of vitality or memory
  • Reduction of symptoms of CFSyndrome and Fybromyalgia
  • Alleviation of cellulite

It is important that only trained therapists, or caregivers/friends provided education by a trained therapist, apply Short-Stretch Compression Bandages or assist in the bandaging process. Compression bandages are essential to the successful reduction of fluid and protein from the affected extremity. It is vital that the bandages be applied correctly, with proper tension and padding.

Also, inform your therapist of any specific difficulties you are having with self-bandaging. Your therapist may have some tips or techniques that will solve your bandaging difficulties. Notify your therapist that your friend will accompany you to your next appointment to receive education regarding bandaging techniques. This also will allow your therapist to allot the time necessary for the education.

We may have never thought of or felt our lymphatic system, we may not really know who we are. But by practicing different practices we may get a taste of something that exists. I'm inviting you to this workshop to explore different ways to ride on this Silent Wave of Change - Manual Lymph Drainage approaches, yoga bandha, Flamenco and more.

In the first part of the class , we will learn simple protocols from Manual Lymph Drainage of head and lower extremities for detoxification and minor pathologies.

In the second half, we'll practice LDT for upper body, head and face, examine the differences between edema (swelling) and lymphedema and learn strategies for preventing and coping with them according to current consensus and new tendencies in lymphedema treatment and care. And of course, we will practice proper exercise and dance movements for prolonging the effect of LDT.

Sign up for the class .

For more information on current research and tendencies in Lymph Drainage approaches use these sources: