About manual lymphatic drainage
In a normal individual, blood enters the body cells via arteries, and after supplying the body cells with oxygen and nutrients, it leaves via veins. In this process, some of the fluid entering the does not leave via veins and stays in between the cells. This fluid is called lymph, and should be normally transferred back to the heart via a system of vessels called the lymphatic system. If this system gets damaged for any reason, it results in excessive accumulation of lymph in the body, and the body gets swollen. This condition is called “Lymphedema.” Manual lymphatic drainage is used to address this condition.
Manual lymphatic drainage is also helpful after trauma or sports injuries. Several athletes experience internal wounds or bruises due to direct blows from a competitor or fall and may develop swelling. Manual lymphatic drainage should also be added to the treatment regimen for better recovery in these scenarios.
Lymphatic drainage procedure is focused on assisting the lymph flow in vessels and stimulate the lymphatic capliarries which are rerouting the stagnant lymphatic fluid. It is a specialized technique and should not be confused with a traditional massage.
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Manual Lymphatic Drainage treatment
Manual lymphatic drainage is usually performed while the patient is laying. The light, skin stretching kind-of massage technique is used to help draining the excessive lymph present in different body parts. It includes various stroke techniques are used in manual lymphatic drainage like stationary circles, scoop, pump, and rotatory techniques and deep breathing is performed before and after the session to open deep lymphatic vessels. The duration of the treatment depends on the stage of the lymphedema.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage Techniques
Different strapping and taping techniques are also used to manual lymphatic drainage. One of them is kinesiology taping or K-taping. These sticky tapes are applied by trained professionals or therapists at the lymphedema site. This tape lifts the skin during the movement and allows lymph to move towards other areas.
Manual lymphatic drainage is also combined with other therapies like compression therapy, manual exercise therapy, fascia mobilization. The effectiveness of manual lymphatic drainage is observed in many patients by taking circumferential measurements (known as the girth method) at different body sites with the help of a measuring tape. This reveals whether the size of affected part of the body is getting smaller or not.
In research done by Ezzo J, it was found that manual lymphatic drainage is safe and provides additional benefits to compression bandaging for swelling reduction.
Another study by Cho Y suggests the use of manual lymphatic drainage therapy to reduce arm lymphedema in patients with axillary web syndrome after breast surgery.
If you have any of these conditions and are looking for the treatment of lymphedema in Southampton, visit PhysioCraft.