The lymphatic system is the bodies drainage system. It helps maintain the bodies fluid levels by draining lymph that has leaked from blood vessels into surrounding tissues and restores it back into the bloodstream. The lymphatic system drains fluid into our lymph nodes, which are located in our armpits and groin. The lymph nodes contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) that contain antibodies that help fight infection. Therefore the lymphatic system has an important role in the immune response. If your lymphatic system fails to drain these excess protein rich fluids, they can accumulate, cause swelling and potentially increase the risk of infection. This is known as lymphedema.
What causes Lymphedema?
Lymphedema may arise because the lymphatic vessels or nodes have been damaged or were not formed correctly.
Secondary lymphedema is the most common type developing following damage to the lymphatic system. This can occur from one or more of the following reasons:
Cancer treatments (e.g. removal of lymph nodes, following radiotherapy to lymph node groups or with the progression of malignant disease)
Trauma and tissue damage
What is lymphedema massage?
Also known as lymphatic drainage, lymphedema massage promotes movement of fluid through the remaining healthy lymph notes. At Artarmon Physiotherapy all staff are trained in lymphatic massage to increase the efficiency of your lymphatic and circulatory systems. Lymphatic massage is gentle rhythmical massage used to stimulate the circulation of lymph fluid around the body. This assists in the removal of wastes and toxins and the removal of swelling post injury.
It is expected that a lymphatic massage treatment range from 30-60 minutes depending on the condition and the number of body parts being treated. We may also use our special lymph 'pump' machines, as well as cold laser therapy to help increase the effectiveness of the lymphedema massage.
One of our pump machines that helps treat lymphedema
Conditions that benefit from lymphatic drainage:
Swollen limbs due to fluid retention, pre/post surgery or injury
Post-mastectomy or breast cancer treatment
Depression & Anxiety
Hormonal & emotional imbalances
Recurrent infections such as colds, flu, tonsillitis and sinus infections
What to expect on your initial appointment:
Your initial session will involve a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the extent of your condition, develop a treatment plan and establish goals. The massage will be light and rhythmical to stimulate the circulation of lymph around the body.
At the completion of your massage, the physiotherapist may recommend compression garments to continue to assist with lymphatic drainage. If you are interested in receiving a lymphatic massage book online or contact us today!