Xerlan and Christopher Deery are extensively trained and experienced working with the lymphatic system. Under the guidance and instruction of Bruno Chikly, M.D., D.O.,PhD, Xerlan and Chris have used their skills working with many issues, and encourage you to investigate working with your lymphatic system.
Importance Of Lymph For Good Health
The proper functioning of the lymphatic system is critical to our body’s ability to detoxify and regenerate tissues, filter out toxins and foreign substances, recover crucial substances that have escaped from the blood, and maintain a healthy immune system. It’s a complex system comprised primarily of lymph vessels and nodes working in cooperation to accomplish these tasks.
Unlike the circulatory system, which uses the pumping of the heart to circulate its blood flow, lymph vessels rely upon hundreds of tiny muscular units, (lymphangions) contracting throughout the body to propel the lymph. These contractions enable the lymph vessels to transport numerous substances (i.e., proteins, toxins, hormones, fatty acids, immune cells) to the lymph nodes, which then can process them.
The action of these muscular units can be hindered or stopped, however, due to fatigue, stress, lack of physical activity, emotional shock, cold temperatures, infections, substantial swelling, age chemicals or food additives. When the lymph circulation stagnates, fluids, proteins, cells and toxins accumulate and cellular functioning is significantly compromised. This opens the way to many physical ailments and may hasten the aging process.
Lymphatic techniques are hands-on techniques designed to activate and cleanse the human fluid system. Its origins can be traced to two traditions in particular: the published research of Frederic Millard, a Canadian Osteopathic Physician (1922), and of Emil Vodder, a Danish Massage Practitioner and Doctor of Philosophy (1932). Over the years, methods based on the discoveries of these two pioneers have been honed, refined and expanded. Today lymphatic techniques are recognized throughout Europe and continue to gain recognition in the United States.
Recent scientific discoveries on the physiology of the lymphatic system verify that these techniques offer the precise rhythm and gentle pressure needed to activate optimal lymph flow. As a result, therapists can achieve profound outcomes in shorter periods of time, and clients find the process more pleasurable to receive.
How Lymph Techniques Are Performed
The process involves the use of subtle manual maneuvers to aid in the recirculation of the lymphatic flow. Specifically, the therapist works with flat hands, using all the fingers to stimulate wave-like movements. The pressure applied is generally around five grams, or the equivalent weight of a nickel. Using this technique, trained therapists are able to detect the specific rhythm, direction, depth and quality of the lymph flow anywhere in the body.
From there, they can use their hands to perform Manual Lymphatic Mapping (MLM) of the vessels to assess overall lymphatic circulation and determine the best alternate pathways for draining body-fluid stagnations. Since every body is unique, there is not a specific protocol or sequence that is ideal for every single person. An appropriate treatment sequence will be agreed upon, according to the results of the MLM and the needs of the individual.
Therapists work with flat hands, using all the fingers to simulate gentle, specific wave-like movements. These subtle manual maneuvers activate lymph and interstitial fluid circulation as well as stimulate the functioning of the immune and parasympathetic nervous systems. This yields not only increased lymphatic function, but also decreased anxiety and percieved stress.
The Benefits Of Lymphatic Bodywork
Due to the nature of the lymphatic system and its role in the body, Lymphatic techniques can prove beneficial in the correction of numerous conditions, as well as a useful tool for preventative health.
In essence, Lymphatic techniques work to activate fluid circulation and stimulate the functioning of the immune system and parasympathetic nervous system. When these actions are accomplished, the results can be:
- Reduction in edemas (swelling) and lymph edemas of various origins
- Detoxification of the body
- Regeneration of tissue, including burns, wounds and wrinkles
- Anti-aging effects
- Relief of chronic and sub acute inflammations, including sinusitis, bronchitis and otitis (ear aches)
- Relief of chronic pain
- Reduction in the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and Fibromyalgia
- Antispastic actions to relieve conditions such as muscle hyper tonicity and some forms of constipation
- Deep relaxation to aid insomnia, stress, loss of vitality and loss of memory
- Alleviation of adipose and cellulite tissue
What can be helped by working with the Lymphatic System?
Simple (lymphodynamic) edema – swelling that occurs despite the lymphatic system’s correct functioning. Examples of this type of swelling is after a bump or bruise, a sprain or a strain.
Complex (lymphostatic) edema – swelling that occurs when the lymphatic system has been compromised. Examples include post chemotherapy or radiation therapy treaments; swelling after abdominal surgery, and swelling after severe acute physical trauma.
Pre- and -Post surgery – Many surgery patients choose to have a lymphatic bodywork session (at the advice of their surgeon) immediately before the procedure, and soon after. Post surgical swelling can be greatly reduced, and, in the case of orthopedic surgery, patients can get greater results from their occupational and/or physical therapy regimens. In the case of cosmetic surgeries, swelling is a side effect that can cause severe discomfort – that lymphatic bodywork can alleviate. Please discuss this option with your surgeon or a member of your surgery team before exploring this option.
Women’s Issues – In many women, Fibrocystic Breast Disease is a factor that causes discomfort. Addressing the lymphatic components of the affected tissues, as well as self care coaching can benefit those women afflicted by this. Sessions are over clothes or sheets, so your modesty is respected.