I’m excited about Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT). It is an original hands-on method of lymphatic drainage developed by Bruno Chikly, MD, DO. I’ve been finding very effective results when I use it alone or combine it with other modalities.
What is the Lymph System?
The lymph system is a part of our circulatory and immune systems. We’ve all heard about the arteries (bringing oxygenated blood to the body) and the veins (bringing de-oxygenated blood back to the heart) but few of have heard about the lymph system’s function. We may have heard about someone’s lymph nodes being enlarged when they are sick (so the lymph is also part of the immune system), but we might not be aware of lymph system’s other function – which is to provide another way for fluids to return to the heart.
The body is basically a big sack of water (that’s why it is so healthy to stay hydrated). The arteries and veins provide circulation throughout the body and the blood in the arteries enter smaller and smaller vessels until they reach the capillaries. Fluid eventually seeps out of the capillaries to provide every cell in the body with nutrition and fluids and provide an environment for waste products to exit the cell. We call this fluid interstitial fluid. The lymph system is part of our immune system and helps to fight off bacteria, viruses and other invaders to the body. The lymph system provides a place for these fluids and waste products to be re-absorbed and eventually destroyed and filtered.
The lymphatic system is the only system that can easily recover trapped toxins around the cells. These toxins can develop as the result of insufficient physical activity, poor oxygenation, diet, excess toxicity, stress, cold, aging and other things such as medications. These toxins are then transported to the lymph nodes for filtration/purification and eventually flushed out through the various organs (digestive tract, skin, lungs and urinary tract).
The lymph system is like our body’s septic system – gathering up all the waste products and filtering them out through the various other systems in the body. Lymph is gathered in small channels below the epidermis of the skin (in the dermis) and continues gathering in larger and larger collectors until it is finally brought to the venous system for filtering. I see the lymphatic system like small rivers collecting debris eventually joining with larger and larger rivers until it joins with the ocean for the ultimate filtration.
How Does Lymphatic Drainage Therapy Help?
LDT is a gentle, subtle technique that works with the body’s lymphatic system to activate body fluid circulation and stimulate the immune system. It also acts on the body’s parasympathetic nervous system to provide relaxation. The result of these actions can include reductions in edemas, detoxification of the body, regeneration of tissue and many other benefits. When using LDT in my practice, I use it either as a whole session or in combination with other techniques – especially after releasing restrictions where I feel there may be an overload of toxins released.