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Can Lymphatic Drainage Help with Fibromyalgia?

Can Lymphatic Drainage Help with Fibromyalgia?

Can Lymphatic Drainage Help with Fibromyalgia?

The short answer is, YES! Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions, affecting millions of individuals. Fibromyalgia usually includes a number of symptoms including chronic widespread pain, tenderness and sensitivity to touch in muscles, joints and soft tissue, fatigue and sleep disturbances.

Although fibromyalgia is not life-threatening, it can be extremely distressing for sufferers. In the treatment of Fibromyalgia the main goal is for relief of pain. Fortunately, manual lymph drainage can offer positive results in the relief symptoms.

Manual lymph drainage is a unique therapy that can address pain in a different way. Compared to traditional massage, the pressure applied with manual lymph drainage is significantly lighter, with traction and gentle stretching of the skin and fascia.

The goal of these techniques is to manipulate the lymphatic vessels located in our tissue and fascia. This is significant in treatment because fascia is now considered to be an important factor in relation to managing pain syndromes such as Fibromyalgia.

So what is fascia?

Fascia is a comprehensive network of connective tissue that is found all over the body and contains lots of pain-sensing nerves. There are three layers:

Superficial Fascia, which is mostly associated with the skin; Deep Fascia, which is mostly associated with the muscles, bones, nerves and blood vessels; and Visceral (or Subserous) Fascia, which is mostly associated with the internal organs.

In fibromyagia (and other pain conditions), the brain is mistakenly triggering a ‘fight or flight’ response which then contracts muscle tissue and fascia.

So when we get tight in our shoulders or when we get slightly acidic or dehydrated, our lymphatic system can no longer pick up cellular waste and other debris in your body effectively which forces the waste to build in your tissues.  As this waste builds in your tissues, it becomes more acidic and more inflamed. It is sustained tightness of fascia that can cause pain, generates inflammation and creates knots in muscles known as trigger points.

Several studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of manual lymph drainage (MLD) for the treatment of Fibromyalgia.[1] The rhythmic and gentle skin stretch technique has been demonstrated to show positive results for reduction in pain and stiffness, and improved sleep.

I recommend that my clients try at least two to three MLD sessions to determine if this physical therapy will be of benefit. Additionally learning self care strategies and scheduling ongoing maintenance is recommended for keeping flare ups at bay.

Read to enhance your recovery? Save time and book online. Amanda offers treatments in a private clinic setting in Bangalow, New South Wales. 

For more information visit recoverymassage or call reception on: (02) 8001 6393.

About the Author: Amanda Da- Silva is a Certified Lymphoedema Practitioner and Lymphatic Drainage Specialist working with chronic and acute lymphatic & immune related conditions including: fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Hashimotos, bloating, swelling and fluid retention, Lymphoedema, Lipoedema, breast conditions, and those in need of support for detoxification.

Arm Swelling After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation

Arm Swelling After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation
Lymphatic Health After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation.

Arm Swelling After Breast Cancer Surgery and Radiation

If you’ve recently had surgery to test lymph nodes for cancer cells (biopsy), undergone lumpectomy, mastectomy or radiation to the chest wall and armpit, you may want to think about ways to prevent arm swelling.

After surgery and radiation, lymph fluid may not flow as freely through the lymphatic system as surgery has removed some of the channels that would have carried the fluid. Radiation can close down some of those lymphatic channels also.

Once surgery and radiation are complete focus needs be on supporting your lymphatic system especially in and around the treated area.

Scarring from surgery and radiation can disrupt the flow of fluid however there are several alternative routes where the arm and chest wall drain so lymph fluid may be re-directed to other working vessels.

For this reason it is crucial to work with a qualified Lymphoedema Practitioner, who can design specific treatment plan for your needs, as well as teach you how to establish the best self care practice.

Your Lymphoedema Practitioner can also take a measurement using a device called an L-Dex which produces a Lymphoedema index value that can help determine if you are building up excess extracellular fluid in your at risk limb.

It must be said that Lymphoedema can develop months, or even years after the treatment for cancer, and while there is no known cure – it can be managed.

So how common is Lymphoedema?

According to research by the National Breasts and Ovarian Cancer Centre (2012), conservative estimates suggest that: “At least 20% of patients treated for melanoma, breast, gynaecological or prostate cancers will experience secondary lymphoedema”.

It is important to remember that lymphoedema usually develops gradually over time, so it is important to recognise the early signs and symptoms.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • A feeling of heaviness, tightness or fullness in the limb on the affected side
  • Swelling and/or pitting (pitting– If you press your finger to a swollen area and it leaves a dimple that doesn’t go away after a few seconds this is referred to pitting oedema).
  • Ache, pain or tension in the arm

If you have recently undergone surgery and radiation or have concerns about persistent swelling and Lymphoedema please feel free to contact Amanda on the details below.

About the Author  Amanda Da- Silva is a Certified Lymphoedema Practitioner and Oncology Massage Therapist. Specialising in Manual Lymphatic Drainage, Breast Health, Mastectomy Aftercare and Breast Cancer Recovery.

Amanda offers both In-Person Sessions (Bangalow clinic) and Virtual Consultation. To book in either an In-Person or Virtual Consultation visit recoverymassage

Or call call Reception on: 02 8001 6393.

Pregnancy Cankles – HELP!

by Amanda 0 Comments
Pregnancy Cankles – HELP!

Pregnancy is full of new and exciting experiences like feeling your little bundle moving around inside you for the first time. It can also come along with some unexpected changes to your body such as swelling, especially to the ankles and feet.

Swelling can be experienced at any stage of pregnancy and is more likely during the 3rd trimester, around the 27 week mark.

During pregnancy, the body produces more blood and body fluids to meet the needs of the developing baby. Swelling is a normal part of pregnancy and helps prepare the pelvic joints and tissues to open for delivery.

Normal swelling is typically experienced in the hands, legs, ankles, and feet and can become uncomfortable.

You may not be able to stop parts of your body from swelling. But the good news is, you may be able to limit how severe it is, here are 2 things that Lymphatic Therapists know work a treat!

1. Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD)

This hands on therapy can be very supportive if you are suffering with tired feet, swollen ankles or aching and heavy legs. It may not be possible able to stop parts of your body from swelling however you may be able to limit the severity of fluid accumulating and discomfort experienced.

It is important to note that sudden swelling of the feet, ankles, hands and face indicate a more serious condition called pre-eclampsia.  Symptoms of pre-eclampsia include high blood pressure and protein in the urine which should be picked up by your G.P. during your check ups.

How Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Help?

MLD is a very gentle specialised massage which works specifically with the lymphatic system in the direction of lymph flow.

MLD promotes optimal functioning of the lymphatic system facilitating the removal of wastes, excess water, toxins and bacteria from the connective tissue – sometimes referred to as the body’s waste disposal system, resulting in reduced fluid retention, swelling, lighter legs and improves the appearance of stretch marks.

It is recommended to book an appointment as early as the first trimester, particularly if you already have swollen ankles, your legs ache and feel heavy or have any circulatory issues or varicose veins.

2.  Dry Body Brushing

Dry brushing is a health practice, which involves brushing over the skin dry, followed by a shower or bath.  It stimulates the lymphatic system and also facilitates the removal of wastes and excess fluid.

This is a safe practice to incorporate into your health and self care routine during pregnancy.

Tips for body brushing:

1. Stroke brush in one upward movement 

2. Brushing upward and towards the major lymph nodes in the body, such as the groin, armpits and base of neck.

3. Work from left to right, which is the natural direction when massaging the body.

Precautions: Never skin brush over inflamed skin e.g. open wounds, inflamed sores, varicose veins, sun burnt skin. Avoid dry brushing the face with firm bristles.

Use a Brush made from Plant bristle eg. coconut husks or from the agave plant provides the best exfoliation and stimulation for your skin. They are the highest quality, long lasting and don’t scratch the skin.

Other tips to manage swelling during pregnancy:

  • Avoid standing for long periods, and do engage in exercise: Walk, swim, cycle
  • Stay cool on warmer days
  • Actively cool down the legs – pour lukewarm or cold water over the legs, from the feet upwards
  • Use cold compresses on swollen areas
  • Rest with your feet elevated
  • Wear medical compression stockings
  • Wear comfortable shoes, avoiding high heels if possible
  • Avoid clothes that are tight around your wrists or ankles

If you have any concerns or questions about swelling and/ or Lymphatic Drainage feel free to contact Amanda.

About the Author Amanda Da- Silva is a Licensed Remedial Massage therapist, Certified Lymphoedema, and Manual Lymphatic Practitioner.

Amanda incorporates techniques such as manual lymphatic drainage, myofascial release and somatic techniques for for musculo-skeletal dysfunction and pain.

Amanda offers both in person  (Bangalow clinic) and virtual sessions. To book in either an in person or virtual session visit to book online.

Or call  02 8001 6393.

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Learn to how support your lymphatic system with Dry Skin Brushing check out this video!

The fundamentals of Dry Skin Brushing

Amanda Da-Silva