Lymphatic Drainage Massage (also known as Manual Lymph Drainage) is an effective and relaxing treatment that is gaining more exposure over the years since its discovery by Danish doctors back in the 1930s.
The lymphatic system runs in parallel with the circulatory system (blood) to allow the blood and surrounding tissues to effectively remove waste and toxins. To function optimally, the lymphatic system depends on the contraction of smooth muscles, pressure of surrounding tissues and body movement.
Lymphedema (swelling of the lymph/fluid retention) can occur after surgery or radiotherapy where lymph nodes/vessels are removed or compromised. It has been reported in a recent Cochrane Review entitled “Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Lymphedema following Breast Cancer Treatment” (2015) that:
· More than one in five patients who undergo treatment for breast cancer develop breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL).
· Breast cancer related lymphedema was found to have a negative impact on comfort, function, and quality of life.
· Supported the intervention of Manual Lymphatic Drainage.
· Manual Lymphatic Drainage was found to be safe and effective (especially when used in conjunction with compression bandaging).
· Manual Lymphatic Drainage was more effective in reducing volume of lymphedema than compression alone; and reduction in the feeling of heaviness and, a reduction in pain.
Lymphedema can also occur due to inactive/sedentary lifestyles and/or an injury/trauma amongst other causes. The main areas where lymphedema can pool is in areas such as the thighs, knees, ankles, belly and arms.
Our experienced remedial massage therapist at Albert Park Physiotherapy, Emily Loveless, has studied Lymphatic Drainage Massage. She has been treating clients with lymphedema with excellent results.
If you have any questions regarding your lymphatic system or would like to book in a time with Emily to benefit from this effective treatment, please contact us on 9690 5858 and make an appointment. Emily is available at Albert Park Physiotherapy on Thursday or Saturday.
Ezzo J, Manheimer E, McNeely M.L, Howell D.M, Weiss R, Johansson K.I, Bao T, Bily L, Tuppo C.M, Williams A.F, Karadibak D. Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Lymphedema following Breast Cancer Treatment (Review). The Cochrane Collaboration. (2015)