LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE

It's good for your immunity

More Blog Posts

Stress Management

8 Apr 2018

Cupping

23 Feb 2018

Lower Back Pain

5 Jan 2018

9 Jun 2018

What is it?

The lymphatic system is basically a network of vessels in the body which carry fluid called “lymph” (“lymph” from the Latin Lympha meaning water) [i] which occurs as a result of regular bodily functions where fluid leaks from blood vessels, the lymph system allowing fluids to enter it but not to leave, or, as has otherwise been put our body’s ‘sewage system’ [ii].

 

In providing a collection point for these excess fluids the lymphatic system helps maintain fluid levels in the body, but more critically helps maintain a healthy immune system in concert with lymphoid organs, such as the spleen or tonsils which produce cells and antibodies to aid protection from disease.

Why should i care?

 

Well, and I hate to use the earlier metaphor, but can you think of

anything worse than a blocked sewage system?

 

In addition to the lymphatic system being critical to maintaining

fluid levels in the body, assisting the body’s immune functions,

the lymphatic system plays an important role in absorption of fat

from the intestine. Moreover, some of the direct impacts include;

 

  • glandular fever – symptoms include tender lymph nodes

  • tonsillitis – infection of the tonsils in the throat

  • Crohn’s disease – inflammatory bowel disorder

  • Hodgkin’s disease – a type of cancer of the lymphatic system.

 

Those related to malformation or destruction or damage to the lymphatic system or its nodes include:

 

primary lymphoedema – when the lymphatic system has not formed properly. May present as a limb or part body swelling at birth, or may develop at puberty or later in life

 

secondary lymphoedema – When the lymphatic system is damaged by surgery or radiotherapy associated with the treatment of cancer, when the soft tissues are damaged by trauma, or when the lymphatic system has some other cause of structural or functional impairment.

 

There is a great resource online here if you want to read more –

 

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/lymphatic-system

 

What is lymphatic drainage?

 

Lymphatic drainage is a particular massage technique used to encourage the natural process of lymph drainage to the lymphoid organs around the chest, neck, pelvis and armpit.

 

This is a somewhat advanced technique which requires a specific amount of pressure to target the lymphatic system which sits just below the dermis (which is the target area of a relaxation massage) and just above the muscle (which is the target area of a sports massage).

Coming into the winter season where your immune system really starts to get put to work it is a good idea to help it along the way, whether that means drinking more water or getting a flu shot. A lymphatic drainage is also a good option to consider especially if you have recently had surgery, you are having weight issues, or even just feeling sluggish.

 

Want my advice?

 

Where you are having severe issues with things like weight and trouble with rehabilitation following things like surgery always see your GP first. But, if you are not getting the progress to help you live a happy life, as always, give it a try.

 

References:

[i] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lymphatic_system

[ii] https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/lymphatic-system

[iii] http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx

 
 

STRESS MANAGEMENT

Monthly Maintenance

8 Apr 2018

Stress hits us all at different points in our life. The most important thing is to actually recognise it. Whether it be looking after kids, managing pressure from work, upcoming exams, or physical stress, maybe pushing yourself too hard in whatever your pursuit is.[i]

Identifying stress

Stress can come in different forms, Emotional;

 

  • Becoming easily agitated, frustrated and moody

  • Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control

  • Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind

  • Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed 

  • Avoiding others

 

Or Physical, such as:

 

How do you manage stress?

 

I know it sounds silly but I genuinely believe the best way to manage stress is to find a way to smile, for me that means thinking about activities outside of areas which are giving me stress. Things like going to a movie, inviting people over for dinner, or even going for a run. Switching focus to something totally unrelated to whatever is creating the stress really does help hit the reset button.  

 

Meditation

 

Meditation is one 5 commonly recommended methods for dealing with stress, which include exercise, smiling, sleep, and getting support [i] For me meditation is things like cooking and origami where I can really just switch off and focus on the task at hand. When it comes to exercise, for me it really is just another form of meditation, I recently started swimming and I absolutely love it, I get the blood flowing and just remove everything from my mind.

 

Want my advice?

Monthly Maintenance – it doesn’t matter what it is you are doing, make sure, regardless of whether or not you feel stressed at the time, to take some time for monthly maintenance. That means making sure you find some “you time”. If that means swimming for you as well then maybe see you in the pool!

References:

[i] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987?pg=2

[ii] https://www.webmd.boots.com/stress-management/physical-stress-symptoms

[iii] http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/manage-stress.aspx

CUPPING

What is it?

23 Feb 2018

 

Coming from Taiwan, cupping is something that is as common to daily life as chopsticks and rice. But why is it so common? And why is it now becoming more common in Western society? You might remember the commotion Michael Phelps caused during the 2016 Olympic Games where he stated:

“Perhaps something like this will open up the American public and maybe encourage further research and oversight of cupping as a potential treatment, which will help a lot of people with musculoskeletal pains specifically,” [i]

Origins

While there are different theories as to where it originated, the common consensus is that it originated in China more than 3000 years ago as part of Taoist religious practices. Of course, the fundamental beliefs of Taoism being the balance and harmony with nature.[ii] I really like this idea, and the notion that medicine does not necessarily need to be big pharmaceuticals, but can be more about balance, balance in what you eat, how you look after your body, and your environment.  

 

What does it do? 

 

Essentially cupping (we use dry or fire cupping) provide suction on the skin wherein the impurities are brought to the surface. Typically you will find that where you have problem areas in your muscles the circles will be darker. The reason being is the impurities, blood clots, tears etc in the muscle will essentially stagnate there when the muscle is not used actively or where ongoing issues exist.

 

When should i do it?

 

Cupping is an alternative treatment to remedial massage. If you find that you have ongoing issues that either conventional massage, physiotherapy, or regular exercise do not help, then give it a try. Cupping is a non-invasive way to target deep tissue areas where other options such as acupuncture or hot stone massage are less appropriate. As Michael Phelps responded when asked about the darker round spots:

“That’s where I hurt the most,” he said of the marks on his shoulder. “I have done it before pretty much every meet I go to. I just asked for a little cupping yesterday because I was sore.” [iii]

 

Does it hurt?

 

Absolutely not. Essentially all that happens with cupping is that a slight vacuum is created in the cup as per the diagram below. The cup is then manoeuvred through a particular technique to generate blood flow through the muscle. Whilst the circles may look like bruising, as discussed above, the darker the circles is the representation of problem areas which are in fact representative of the impurities bring brought out of the tissue and to the surface where the body can better manage them out.

 

 

[iv]

My advice

 

If you are not getting relief from other treatments give it a try, it is a non invasive alternative treatment which i have been doing for many years now. 

 

References:

 

[i] https://mashable.com/2016/08/08/what-science-says-cupping-phelps-rio/#.YDT2GtdLkqa

[ii] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taoism

[iii]https://www.reuters.com/article/us-olympics-rio-swimming-phelps-cupping/michael-phelps-purple-blotches-spotlight-cupping-trend-idUSKCN10J214

[iv] https://backinhealthosteo.com.au/the-myths-truths-behind-myofascial-cupping-therapy/

Note: Cupping is not suitable for haemophiliacs - please see your physician for advice

LOWER BACK PAIN

Considering treatment with remedial massage therapy

5 Jan 2018

 

If you are experiencing lower back pain then you are not alone with up to 80% of Australians experiencing some degree of lower back pain at some stage in their lives.[i]

But why?

 

Lower back pain can happen suddenly from a sharp movement, or develop over time due to repetitive movements such as lifting and is often caused by a torn or pulled muscle or ligament.[ii]

 

So what can i do?

 

When it comes to back issues the word no one wants to hear is “surgery”. Whilst modern medicine is more advanced in treating serious back issues surgery than its stigma might suggest, due to its invasiveness and proximity to the spine remains inherently risky.

 

Remedial massage therapy does provide one option which can offer relief to some occurrences of back pain. [iii] Massage therapists work directly with the cellular network in the body. To get an idea about what this network looks like, take a moment to look at the bubbles in your next morning coffee and you will notice the inter-latticed geometry holding the foam in place – this is not dissimilar to your body’s own muscle and connective tissue.[iv]

 

What's so good about remedial massage?

 

The remedial massage therapist’s role is to restore the structural integrity lost due to (particular or general) excessive tension and/or compression in the body’s muscle and connective tissue. Where lower back pain is concerned it can often be as a result of joint space having been compromised, this can result in fascia thickening to support the new, incorrect, posture which results in bones and soft tissue being out of alignment and resulting in issues such as back pain.[v]

 

In slowly manipulating the tissue, bones, and joints around the pain the massage therapist can target the compressed areas and rejuvenate the cellular network to open blood flow and oxygen to areas where pain exists. A good remedial massage therapist will be able to directly identify where the areas of compression exist and knead these out, therefore, in normal situations, you can go directly for a session with a remedial massage therapist, and ideally avoid more rash measures such as surgery.[vi]

 

While it is true that not all remedial massage therapists are created equal, there is evidence to support the benefits of comprehensive remedial massage. Clinical significance was evident in a report by the Canadian Medical Association Journal for those who identified as having lower back pain where after 1 month of treatment;

 

63% of subjects in the comprehensive massage therapy group reported no pain

27% of the soft-tissue manipulation group reported no pain

14% of the remedial exercise group reported no pain

0% of the laser therapy group reported no pain

 

My advice

 

If you find the perfect massage therapist for you in your first session then don’t let them go. If you don’t, don’t be afraid to try a few until you find the therapist who best understands your body. A good therapist will identify straight away the areas which are giving you trouble, whether they be in your lower back or elsewhere and will help you take back control of your life. But remember, do not make the mistake of treating remedial massage as a substitute for the appropriate medical attention where required.[vii]

 

References:

 

[i] https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2009/190/9/back-pain-national-health-priority-area-australia

[ii] https://www.spine-health.com/conditions/lower-back-pain/causes-lower-back-pain

[iii] http://www.medicalwebsite.com.au/blog/remedial-massage/back-pain-remedial-massage-therapy/

[iv] http://www.maa.org.au/Portals/39/Newsletter%2003-16%282%29%20In%20Touch%20March%20Autumn%202016%203.pdf

[v] http://www.maa.org.au/Portals/39/Newsletter%2003-16%282%29%20In%20Touch%20March%20Autumn%202016%203.pdf

[vi] http://www.medicalwebsite.com.au/blog/remedial-massage/back-pain-remedial-massage-therapy/

[vii] http://www.medicalwebsite.com.au/blog/remedial-massage/back-pain-remedial-massage-therapy/

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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