Manual lymphatic drainage Barcelona
What is manual lymphatic drainage?
Manual lymphatic drainage is a massage technique that stimulates lymphatic flow and helps transport lymph from inflamed to non-inflamed areas. It is an integral part of Complex Decongestant Therapy
How does this drain work?
It is a specific massage technique with gentle skin tightening movements. These movements carry lymph fluid from swollen areas in the direction of lymphatic flow and into areas that drain well. This is called “decongestion.”
Manual lymphatic drainage begins in areas of non-inflamed parts of the body to open well-functioning lymphatic collectors, make lymph flow faster, and induce a suction effect. Your therapist will continue with DLM on the inflamed parts of your body to direct the fluid to the open lymphatic collectors. Gentle, rhythmic movements of the skin can also help soften any hardened (fibrotic) tissue.
Deep breathing enhances the positive effects of lymphatic drainage. The so-called “diaphragmatic breathing” helps open deep-seated lymphatic collectors. Therefore, DLM generally begins and ends with deep breathing exercises. By the way, laughing is also a deep breathing technique! In addition to its effect on lymphatic flow, it can also relieve stress, anxiety, or even depression.
Who performs lymphatic drainage?
Only certified therapists should take DLM. They are trained in recognized techniques and have a thorough understanding of the disease. DLM is not suitable for everyone and there are situations, such as infections, where DLM should not be applied. Always consult a healthcare professional first to make sure DLM is right for you.
DLM is a key element of complex decongestant therapy, along with compression therapy, exercise, and skin care. DLM can relieve all stages of lymphedema and also helps soften fibrotic (hard) tissue that can appear in later stages of lymphedema.
What is simple lymphatic drainage?
It is a lymphatic drainage that you can also learn how you can do it yourself. This drainage is one that is performed with simple movements of the hand, also with which the lymphatic fluid can be removed from the affected area. This is called simple lymphatic drainage (SLD). Your therapist can show you and your family members how to do it.
What is mechanical lymphatic drainage?
Mechanical lymphatic drainage can support lymphedema therapy, if appropriate. While Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is performed by hand, mechanical lymphatic drainage is performed with specific devices.
An example of mechanical lymphatic drainage is the “intermittent pneumatic compression” device. It is an electronic pump that fills sleeves, gloves or boots with air placed on the affected part of your body. The device applies a certain amount of pressure for a certain time to transport the lymphatic fluid to the center of the body and reduce the swelling of the affected body parts.
Intermittent pneumatic compression is best suited for less active patients, for example patients recovering from surgery or illness. It is also an option when DLM or conservative compression therapy is not enough to treat your lymphedema.
Devices such as intermittent pneumatic compression devices are only used in clinics, but there are also devices for use at home. When appropriate, your therapist is the one to prescribe such a device. In many cases, your health insurance covers these devices.