Lymph Drainage Therapy

The lymphatic system is stimulated by muscle movement, and therefore, LDT is a manual method that acts upon lymph vessels and nodes to encourage lymphatic flow. This gentle, rhythmic technique works deeply with the lymphatic system to rid the body of toxins, infection and excess fluid. It aids the body during detoxification, treats edema and lymphedema, reduces cellulite and inflammation, and stimulates organs to function more effectively. In addition, LDT can assist in rerouting fluid from an impaired site following injury, surgery or lymph node removal.

Complete Decongestive Therapy is the only successful treatment for lymphedema and incorporates manual lymph drainage, compression, skin care, and exercise to reduce lymph in the swollen limb(s), maintain the change, and improve quality of life for lymphedema patients. Many cancer patients who have been treated with lymph node removal/disection, radiation, chemotherapy and/or surgery either have lymphedema in the affected/related extremity or are at risk for developing lymphedema. Patients who’ve had a node removed and/or radiation treatment are considered Stage 0 lymphedema; it is possible for lymphedema to onset directly after treatment or at any point in one’s life thereafter.

To prevent lymphedema, these patients need to modify certain behaviors: avoid needle pricks and IV’s in the affected limb; blood pressure should be taken on the unaffected side; avoid extreme temperatures (like hot tubs or very hot showers) and sunburn; take care to prevent infection and avoid bug and animal bites on the affected side/limb; do not receive  massage on the affected limb and quadrant unless it is absolutely necessary (frozen shoulder for example); and exertion with the affected limb should be moderate – see a lymphedema specialist for advice, exercises, treatment and compression garments that may help prevent the onset of lymphedema.

My studies with LDT began with my initial massage therapy certification in 2004-05; I learned the full-body “Vodder Method” of Manual Lymphatic Drainage. Subsequently, I have been certified through level III with The Upledger Institute in Dr. Bruno Chikly’s ( method of  Lymph Drainage Therapy. And August of 2010, I completed an evaluated 135-hour certification course with the Academy of Lymphatic Studies and achieved certification as a lymphatic therapist in Manual Lymph Drainage and Complete Decongestive Therapy. My education and experience span 11 years. I work with clients with many health issues that may benefit from this modality: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, lyme disease, MS, edema, injury/bruising, headaches, digestive issues, pre- and post-surgery, liver detox, and etc. I have assisted in the prevention and treatment of lymphedema in the post-treatment of cancer, for example, and have treated clients with edemas as well as scarring.

For more information about Lymph Drainage Therapy and also the risk and prevention of lymphedema following cancer treatment, see the links on my Resources Sub-Page. To empower yourself, read Joe Zuther’s blog:

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