Lymphedema Drainage Therapy

LDT

LDT, a light, noninvasive massage, works by stimulating the natural movement of two to three layers of muscle along the lymphatic pathways---called lymphangions---which in turn drains stagnant fluid, toxins and waste from the blockage, according to an article by Dr. Bruno Chikly, a lymphatic expert who wrote a book on LDT and is quoted on the website massagetherapy.com. This process allows the body to produce more lymphocytes, or cells that work to bolster your immune response. LDT practitioners learn in which direction the body sends the obstructed waste and thus can mimic the body's natural rhythms to facilitate the drainage, or provide relief from chronic pain and muscle spasms.

Technique

Because lymphatic rhythms vary from person to person, LDT works best when a practitioner learns a patient's specific pulsations. In addition, the therapist should apply gentle, firm and steady pressure, and not manipulate the body to do anything it wouldn't naturally do on its own. An LDT practitioner should be gentle enough to move the fluid without stimulating more filtration by the capillaries in the blood. Too much pressure can damage the capillaries and the tissue around the affected lymph nodes.

Contraindications

If you are suffering from an infection or a virus, you should not undergo LDT until your symptoms have resolved. Those with cardiac issues should not get LDT at all, as this therapy can add stress to the heart. Those with circulatory problems also should avoid LDT, as it could induce a blood clot. If your massage therapist notices an unusual lump anywhere on your body, she should refrain from performing LDT and advise you to see a doctor immediately. Finally, those who have experienced trouble with bleeding should avoid LDT, as it can cause a hemorrhage.