I was asked to give a talk by friends of Tenovus about lymphatic massage. A large part of my work is with clients who have had cancer related surgery and treatment, such as mastectomy, prostate cancer, melanoma, head and neck, gynaecological cancer and other cancers where there is a risk of lymphoedema. The remainder of my clients have had cosmetic surgery or have problems with their immune system. I also work with clients who have had primary lymphoedema. This is a congenital abnormality of the lymphatic system.
When clients come to me a comprehensive holistic assessment is carried out including checking their range of movement and any areas of pain. This includes:
- good skin care to maintain good tissue condition and reduce the risk of infection
- simple self-massage, a self-massage that clients can carry out themselves working on the superficial lymphatic system
- advice and prescription in the use of support garments to reduce new swelling in order to enhance lymph drainage. In some cases multi layered bandaging is needed to restore shape and improving long term results.
I also perform lymphatic massage. This is a specific massage which aids the flow of lymph in the tissues. This action moves the lymph before it enters the lymph vessels, enabling the redirection of lymph to the existing and functioning lymph nodes.
The lymph system is activated by deep breathing!
Deep breathing and exercise can accelerate this cleansing process by as much as 15 times the normal pace. To cleanse your body through effective breathing, remember to breathe deep into the abdomen, like a vacuum. Start with 5 deep slow breathes. This aids the flow of lymph through your body.
- Place your hands on your tummy
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, allowing your tummy to rise, hold for the count of 2
- Breathe out through your mouth allowing your tummy to fall
- Repeat this 5 times
- Have a short rest before getting up to avoid getting dizzy
Jan Thomson BSc, MLDuk, BLS IFPA,MAR