Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage - The Therapy of the Future. VIEW FROM THE HEALING CENTRE
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Manual Lymph Drainage Massage
- The Therapy of the Future

Beneficial Manual Lymph Drainage Massage

What conditions respond well to Manual Lymph Drainage Massage?


This information is not from a manual or book, this is my own experiences of using MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage) on patients at The Haven Healing Centre. If you know of anyone who has any of the conditions below, I would invite you to use the email link on the left where you can tell a friend about our services.

Headaches: This is something that is ongoing as I write this, and is the actual reason why I am writing this article. The success of MLD on headaches has been astounding and I am happy to recommend it to anyone suffering recurring or persistent headaches.
I want to describe 3 case studies spaced out over the last 6 months. These case studies have to be seen in the context of the persistence of these headaches. I'm not talking about occasional headaches; these are people who wake up everyday with strong, persistent, oppressive, life altering headaches. They do not appear to be work or life stress related, but there may be an element to that.

All have been under the care of a doctor in their own health centres and have gone through the usual plethora of drugs, starting with paracetamol, codeine (i.e. co-codamol), aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, as well as triptans, (which are used for migraine type headaches) such as almotriptan, eletriptan, naratriptan, rizatriptan, sumatriptan, zolmitriptan and ergotamine. Persistent use of these remedies can lead to medication headaches; that is, headaches brought on by the over use of medication.

Case Study 1: Is a gentleman in his 80's who has suffered with headaches for years. He asked if there was anything I could do for him using massage, Spinal Touch, or one of the other therapies that I practice. My initial reaction was to use Spinal Touch, in case there was a postural imbalance contributing to some cervical nerve dysfunction, but on taking a history, I recommended Lymphatic Drainage Massage.
We began weekly treatments. The rational for this came a.) From the work I am doing with CFS (chronic fatique syndrome) patients (see article below), and b.) because anyone taking large amounts of medication are going to have the residue of this lying around in their cells and lymphatic system. The body must class this as a waste product and do it's best to neutralize it and clear it out of the system.

Week 1: The gentleman came back and reported that, "I didn't have a headache the next day, but then it came back and stayed for the rest of the week".
Week 2: The headaches became intermittent, "I'd get a headache one day and it was gone the next, then it came back, on and off like that for the week". So we were up to 2 to 3 days of headache free days.
Week 3: "The headaches only come every couple of days". I asked if he felt we were making progress? His wife was over the moon to see him having pain free days, and "Yes" he felt we were making progress.
Week 4: "I'm headache free for at least half the week".
Week 5: "I only had a headache for 3 days last week, but it went by about dinner time". (I asked him to keep a strict diary of these times)
Week 6: "I've been free of any headache whatsoever for 6 days out of 7". We had to miss a week here due to holidays.
Week 8 (treatment 7): It's now been a fortnight since the last treatment. "How have you been since I saw you last?". "One day of headache since I saw you last, but it wasn't the pounding type of headache, it was just a dull ache in the top of my head".
This work is still ongoing, but I anticipate this patient coming, first fortnightly for a few visits and then monthly, then bi-monthly to keep an eye on his condition in a palliative way.

Case Study 2: This is a lady in her 40's who spends a lot of time at altitude as part of her job, either on a ski slope or in an airplane to get there, and also a lot of time at sea, as she regularly sails from Spain to Italy across the Med (I'm in the wrong job, I gotta tell you! Only Kidding). Unless you take all your food with you, I guess you have a great deal of variety to eat, and part of her problem was also tummy troubles and occasional, but fairly regular, urinary tract infections.
What we eat becomes part of who we are in a physical way, and much of the time what was going into her system was making her feel unwell. You have to wonder if that toxicity is building up and causing the headaches. Regular treatments were difficult because she was away so much, but we managed to treat several times in a week during the times when she was home on leave, and this happened over several months.

The result of her MLD treatments was, during the time she was home (in the UK), her headaches would respond to treatment very well and would soon dissipate, her urinary infections would clear up and her tummy would settle down. This would be maintained during flights and the first few days away on a new assignment (which kind of tells us it's not jet lag). This cycle seemed to repeat over and over, but the time at home which was headache free was, I think, very much appreciated.
It has become something of a feature of MLD, that when you can have treatments fairly close together, you can create rapid and sustained changes in the body that allow the body to function at a much healthier level. I have a theory that the body can only take so much trash and then it overflows. The lymph system is like that. The waste products and toxicity that we produce as a product of lifestyle are dumped on the lymph system to manage and sort out. Normally, this works perfectly and we rarely suffer the effects of toxic build up.
We suffer when life piles on the pressure. Stress, sport, work, family issues, less than nourishing food, lack of exercise, and dehydration, all concentrate the toxins in the body. MLD is the perfect way to help the body cleans itself.

Case Study 3: A gentleman in his 50's with persistent headaches, almost daily, coupled with chronic exhaustion and a bipolar disorder diagnosis. These headaches started around 5 years ago and have now become non-responsive to medication. The bipolar diagnosis came after the headaches wouldn't go away.

This patient came because of back problems and the first couple of treatments were for Spinal Touch and neck and shoulder massage. Encouraged by the response I was getting with CFS patients (see article), which features exhaustion and depression, I offered him a series of MLD treatments at a reduced fee to see if it was possible to make a difference in his life and general health.
There is always a dilemma from a practitioners point of view when faced with a client who comes for one thing, when you know that you have tools in your box which might suit them better. Not that MLD is any good for backache, you understand, but there is always the possibility that the backache is a by-product of the exhaustion, lack of exercise, lack of self esteem and all the other things that culminate in bipolar and headaches.

We have been working together now for 4 months. This might seem like a long time, but it must be seen in the light of recovery here. Headache recovery was fairly rapid and seems to be becoming now, rather routine (are there any GP's reading this?). I don't know for sure, but I am attributing this to the cerebral spinal fluid theory that is explained in this article on chronic fatigue syndrome. His symptoms were so bad that he had to give up driving, but once he felt his energy was returning (another feature of MLD) he felt able to do more at home and to drive more frequently. Eventually, his depression started to lift and with the guidance of his doctor, he is weaning himself off some of the large doses of medication that were a part of his normal day (he used to liken his tablets to links in a chain that tied him to the house).

I think these cases are worthy of some note! I always knew MLD was going to be an important therapy in my practice, but these results far surpass anything I was expecting to see, and I'm delighted that the faith clients are putting in me, following my own recommendation, is paying off for them.

Lymphostatic Edema: So far we've only talked about lymph drainage in terms of reducing the amount of toxicity the body has to cope with because of lifestyle or illness. But Lymphostatic Edema is another problem altogether. Lymphostatic Edema arises due to insufficient natural lymph drainage, or damage to the systems lymph transport capacity (see item 4: my own example here), or removal of lymph vessels in areas where there has been surgical operations, perhaps due to tumour growth. Inflammation, parasites, accidents, radiation or even overly tight-fitting clothes can provoke this kind of edema.

Post-Mastectomy Lymphedema: Breast surgery, even mastectomy, does not inevitably lead to a lymphedema as an immediate or later postoperative consequence. Individual variations in lymph vessel arrangement can delay or reduce the onset of edema over extended periods of time. Nowadays, surgical technique can also play a large part in determining whether lymphedema of the arm, or arms, is likely postoperatively, or not. However, for the most part, whichever technique is used, lymphedema will be determined by the radicality of the surgery and the extent of the operation. Even surgery which is minimally invasive, and therefore least likely to cause edema, can be offset by subsequent radiation treatment, which is known to damage delicate lymph vessels.

One danger is to work to soon after surgery (within about a fortnight), as it is not advisable to push extremity (arm) lymph into the scar tissue area. So it's important to wait until given the all-clear. It is beneficial to keep the limb on the affected side moving, as well as the shoulder, and to embark on a simple and gentle exercise routine. In the older patient, lack of movement can produce a form of rapid onset frozen shoulder, and atrophy in any of the arm muscles will slow down lymph drainage. Conversely, maintaining activity in the arm ensures a rich oxygen supply, increased pulse strength, venous return and muscle flexibility through movement, all of which are important in promoting lymph drainage.

Lymphostatic Edema of the Arm: Arm edema can make life very difficult, whether at work or home. The cause will determine the treatment and sequences, but essentially, we measure the arm circumference first at several places, before and after, to give us a baseline and to show any improvement. Simple exercises to stimulate lymph drainage and to promote the work done, are demonstrated afterwards. These should be done frequently and progressively, in order to avoid muscular atrophy due to inactivity. We are NOT talking about working out in a gym here. These simple exercises are designed specifically to promote venous and lymphatic return.

Lymphostatic Edema of the Legs: Just as any surgical work in the shoulder or chest area can cause arm edema, so operating or irradiating the upper legs, genital or pelvic region can result in lymph vessel damage and subsequent edema of the lower extremities. Whether one, the other or both, leg edema can be painful, affect the gait, sitting, standing and walking are all more difficult with swollen legs. As with all forms of therapy, a careful history is required to determine the triggers of this particular edema. The edema can often be traced back to a cancer treatment, an operation or an injury, even when months or years have passed, a time which we call the 'latent phase', and it will be something very simple that upsets the delicate balance of the systems transport capacity to carry the normal lymph-obligatory load. Things like subsequent injury, temperature, infection and skin conditions can cause the imbalance, and edema forms, exceeding the lymph vessels normal carrying capacity.

Manual Lymph Drainage in Trauma: Injuries of all kinds can be helped by MLD when applied at the appropriate time. I have used this in the area of sports injury when sports massage techinques would have been to strong and perhaps caused more damage than they would have helped. This is the beauty of combining therapy of course. Using what is appropriate, from your wealth of training, to do the best for your patient.

MLD can be indicated in the area of traumatology for:- Hematomas, distortion, dislocation, hip injury, knee injury, elbow injury, diseases of the digestive tract and constipation, diseases of the head, including migraine and headaches (see above), acne vulgaris (common acne), rheumatism, joint arthrosis and many more conditions.

Further reading on this site:
More info on MLD: http://www.distanthealer.co.uk/manual_lymphatic_drainage.htm
Using MLD in CFS: http://www.distanthealer.co.uk/chronic_fatigue_syndrome.htm



My final message to you is this: If you are worried that your edema is getting worse, or if your swollen limb has become chronic, then the sooner you do something about it, the better. Edema is not just a sign of ill-health, it produces more ill-health and early treatment is recommended. Don't wait! The sooner we start treatments, the sooner you are likely to see improvement in your condition. If you live in any of the towns and villages on the left of this article, you are well within a 2-40 minute drive of The Haven Healing Centre, and I'd be delighted to see you.

Please call Phil Chave on 01761 462722 to make your appointment or to talk about a treatment plan structured around your needs.

Don't wait. Make your appointment today. You'll be glad you did!

Best Wishes from Phil
P.S. Manual Lymphatic Drainage is now a huge part of my practice and is getting bigger all the time as word gets around. I would invite you to partake of the benefits of MLD to reduce edema, to cleanse the body, and to promote a higher quality of life. I am constantly amazed at the results of this very light treatment, so light in fact, that most people say it is more relaxing than massage. This is why I call Manual Lymph Drainage the therapy of the future! I have seen how MLD can pull people out of depression and up from chronic fatique syndrome. I have seen people disabled by constant headaches doing things they never thought they'd be able to do again. Go on, give it a try; the number is just above. See you soon. Phil.

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If you have any thoughts on this, please write to me at:
Philip Chave © 2007-

Note: Please be aware that Healing, distant or otherwise, does not take the place of conventional medicine. Always consult a GP for an acute or infectious condition, and problems of an urgent nature. Continue with your prescribed medication. Healing is a complementary therapy that works effectively alongside orthodox/conventional healthcare, thus expanding your treatment options.

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