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The Basics Of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

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The Basics Of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

For many patients dealing with a blockage in the lymph system, regardless of the cause of the obstruction, the pain and discomfort of the condition is a very real concern. For these patients, the answer to the swelling and edema may be found in the techniques used in lymphatic drainage therapy.

The most commonly used treatment option in lymphatic drainage therapy is MLD. MLD stands for manual lymph drainage and includes the use of carefully designed techniques to manually stimulate the lymphatic system and move excessive fluids out of the affected area of the body.

The Four Strokes

There are four different strokes used by a therapist in lymphatic drainage therapy. The pattern of strokes and then rest in the therapy enhances the natural response of the body to the manipulation, moving the lymph from the area of swelling through the body where it is processed and eliminated.

The four strokes and their effects include:

1. The Stationary Circle – here the surface of the skin is gently stretched in an oval shape by the fingers or the entire hand of the therapist. This can be completed with one or both hands and is focused on the lymph node groups. The stretching stimulates the lymph system under the skin, assisting in the removal of the fluid.

2. Rotary Technique – this technique is used on the major areas of the body and larger body surfaces. The hand and the fingers are used to create an elongated circle or elliptical shape in a continual motion.

3. The Scoop Technique – this includes the use of the entire hand in a spiral motion. A the same time the wrist is moved to create a scooping like movement over the skin’s surface. This is also done continually and usually on the parts of the body furthest from the core.

4. Pump Technique – the palm and the tips of the fingers are used to create a circle of pressure on the skin. This, like the scoop, is often used on the arms and legs.

During lymphatic drainage therapy there is only a very light pressure applied. This is very different than massage where more intensive pressure is required. The pressure is just enough to create the stretch of the thin layer of the skin and not to manipulate or reach the underlying muscle layer. This provides ideal stimulation for the lymph system and effectively manages the swelling for the patient.

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