Karen Small...Creating space for healing and change



Lymph Drainage Therapy

What is Lymph Drainage Therapy?

Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT) is a well-documented, gentle manual technique used to stimulate your lymphatic ("immune") system and parasympathetic ("rest and digest") nervous system. The technique uses very light pressure and subtle wave-like hand movements. The type of lymphatic drainage I utilize was developed by Bruno Chikly, MD, DO, founder of the Chikly Health Institute

Because of its stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system, Lymph Drainage Therapy is wonderful for people who are feeling very stressed. The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for nurturing and rebuilding the body. It is active during relaxation and rest. Activity in the parasympathetic nervous system decreases heart rate and blood pressure and promotes digestion. This relaxed state quiets the activity in the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the "fight or flight" reactions, preparing the body for action. It is active when we are anxious or otherwise emotionally aroused, increasing heart rate and blood pressure. Overactivity in the sympathetic nervous system, common in people who are anxious and stressed, may lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart problems.

Due to its strong influence on the parasympathetic nervous system, as well as the lymph, venous and immune systems, Lymph Drainage Therapy is deeply healing, relaxing, and rejuvenating. Lymph Drainage Therapy can be incorporated within a standard massage session as well as being received alone.

Besides working directly on the lymphatic system, lymph techniques can be used when working with fascia, joint tissues and scar tissues. Tight, sore areas can be "drained", often dissipating the pain and tension immediately, allowing deeper techniques to be used with little to no pain.

What are the benefits of LDT?

  • Immune system stimulation for preventive and therapeutic effects
  • Relief of chronic and subacute inflammation and conditions such as acne, eczema, sinusitis, and allergies
  • Detoxification of the body
  • Relief of some kinds of chronic pain
  • Regeneration of tissue, including burns, wounds and wrinkles
  • Hydrates, tones, detoxifies, and nurtures skin
  • Deep relaxation to aid insomnia, depression, stress, loss of memory and loss of vitality
  • Reduction of edemas
  • Reduce spasms in muscles (involuntary and voluntary muscles)
  • Reduction in the symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia

Who might want to receive LDT?

Everyone can benefit from LDT. Below is a partial list of situations where LDT is especially useful.

  • Someone who is scheduled for surgery or has had surgery, including dental work and plastic surgery
  • Someone who is suffering from sinus congestion
  • Someone with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Someone who would like to minimize scars or wrinkles
  • Someone who is pregnant with minor edema
  • Someone who suffers from headaches or migraines
  • Someone who has had an accident (ex. sprain, fracture, whiplash) and is past the acute healing phase
  • Someone dealing with depression

Who should not receive LDT?

  • You are actively ill with an infection, inflammation or fever
  • You have a serious circulatory or cardiac problem
  • You have active cancer
  • You have lymphedema (unless the practitioner is certified to work with this condition, which I am not)
  • You have other conditions which may also contraindicate this work or may require me to work cautiously in certain areas. Please be honest and thorough when filling out your medical questionnaire.

Before the session:

  • Please drink plenty of water for 2-4 days before the session.
  • Try to eat light, healthy meals before the session to minimize toxic reactions. You may want to avoid processed foods and oily dishes.
  • We'll discuss your medical history to ensure that this is the right therapy for you and that there are no contraindications to the work.

During the session:

  • It is not necessary to disrobe completely; keeping on your underclothes is best. If you choose to remain fully dressed, try to wear an open neck shirt and loose comfortable clothing. You will be draped at all times for warmth and modesty.
  • Communicate with me if you are at all uncomfortable during the session. We can adjust the temperature and add pillows to ease any positional discomfort.
  • Breathing with deep, slow belly breaths will aid the stimulation of the relaxation response and the lymphatic system.
  • Initial session will last about 30 minutes. Later, full sessions can run up to 1½ hours.

After the session:

  • Drink plenty of water (without forcing yourself) to help flush out the toxins.
  • Try to plan ahead to take it easy the rest of the day and get a good night's sleep.
  • You may or may not have post-treatment reactions. You may want to sleep a lot or you may experience sluggishness, nausea or muscle aches. This means toxins are being eliminated from your body.
Feel Better...Peform Better...Sleep Better...Think Better...Be Better

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Wellness is so much more than the absence of illness...
It is a path towards a healthy balance in mind, body and spirit.
Regularly receiving bodywork is a fundamental step along that path.

Karen Small
Licensed Massage Therapist
Westerly, RI

Copyright © 2008 by Karen Small.
All rights reserved.