Ask the Professionals: Manual Lymphatic Drainage

What is swelling you ask? I think we can all say we have experienced swelling at some point in our life. Whether it was when you were pregnant with your first child, sprained your ankle or following a surgical procedure. There are many reasons why and how the body develops swelling.
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The lymphatic system is the bodies sewage management system.  It is a network of tissues, vessels and organs that are in charge of regulating fluid (lymph) within our body. Lymph is a pale-white fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system. Lymph is responsible for filtering out microbes, organic waste and debris.

Edema or swelling, is a result of increased fluid within the body’s tissues. There are two distinct types of Edema:

Dynamic Edema: when the lymphatic system is healthy but there is an increase of fluid caused by a secondary impairment such as injury, venous insufficiency, heart failure, and pregnancy among others. This is edema that is low in protein and high in water content. 

Lymphostatic Edema: when the lymphatic system itself is impaired it cannot keep up with normal lymph volume which then results in edema. This can be caused by surgical damage to the lymphatic system, radiation, abnormal development of vessels and more. This edema is high in protein which can lead to fibrosis. 

Lymphedema is one of the most common forms of edema and is caused by a compromised lymphatic system which cannot transport and/or form lymph.  Lymphedema is classified in several ways, such as:

  1. Primary vs Secondary

2. Acute vs Chronic

3. Benign vs Malignant 

4. Stages of Severity 

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a gentle, non-invasive manual technique that stretches and torques the skin in a specific manner to help encourage lymph flow.  MLD can be applied to orthopedics, burns, dermatological issues and much more. Along with MLD, bandaging/compression, skin care and remedial exercise are also ways of treating and managing edema. 

Our RMT Jaimee Clarkson is certified in Dr Vodder Level 1 Manual Lymph Drainage and can provide primary care for those experiencing dynamic edema. It you are experiencing swelling or feel manual lymph drainage can help you or want to learn more, reach out to our clinic at 705-788-1480 and book an appointment with Jaimee to help start your MLD journey.

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