POST OPERATIVE INC. LIPOSUCTION
Manual lymphatic drainage for post surgery healing
Manual lymphatic drainage is a noninvasive, nonsurgical therapeutic massage (MLD) which can reduce chronic or acute swelling (oedema) after surgery, whether this be cosmetic surgery such as liposuction or after some other medical procedure including cancer treatment which very often requires the lymph nodes to be removed.
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) can also reduce swelling if you are pregnant and water retention during pregnancy, such as swollen feet. So if you’re asking, ‘how do I treat swollen ankles’ you found your solution.
Another huge benefit to manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is that if you’re suffering with oedema regardless of having had surgery, then you will also benefit from this type of gentle bodywork massage.
Post liposuction is even more of an issue because during the recovery period, you have to wear a compression garment. This is to help move along the fluid and stop a build up, but because the item is tight, it can often also make it a little more difficult for the fluid to drain it if is in the crease of your groin for instance.
Even more severe than the compression garment, is the issue of having those lymph nodes removed. Cancer patients very often really suffer with this, for instance, if you have breast cancer then you'll likely have some damage, but all kinds of cancer can result in invasive treatment therapy and leave your lymphatic system battered and bruised.
There are two disorders that manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is great for. Oedema as we've mentioned above, but doesn't need to specifically come following surgery, some people just have it. And lymphoedema. The details of these are covered here but suffice to say, if they don't come postoperatively then they can often be due to autoimmune conditions.
How do you manually drain lymphatic fluid?
The process does all of this by improving the function of the lymphatic system and improving the lymph drainage of body with a light rhythmic pressure which involves a manual pumping action with your therapist's hands on the skin to assist lymph flow just underneath this tissues which moves fluid which has been sitting stagnant, along our lymphatic system towards our lymph nodes which aid in drainage. This techniques is why it is called manual lymphatic, because of the gentle manual treatment to stimulate natural lymphatic movement (increase lymphatic flow) and encourage the natural drainage. You can see why this is often dubbed as the massage to help with detoxification and also weight loss. Although to be fair, manual lymphatic drainage doesn't actually help us lose weight per se, but by reducing water retention and expelling excess fluid, it can help us lose size.
So, what is our lymphatic system and drainage therapy?
This is an entire internal infrastructure which needs water or movement to extrapolate waste fluid which includes eliminating toxins. This is called your lymphatic system, or lymph. It's a bit like your blood vessels in your circulation, except that your heart pumps the blood around, whereas the lymphatic system, which is also much finer, doesn't have any kind of pump, hence why we need a touch therapy which uses these gentle strokes for stimulation of the tissue which lies just below the surface of our skin.
When we’ve had surgery our body is in trauma and uses this fluid to move along more of the good stuff and then remove the bad. This is why we swell when we have any kind of trauma. So, swelling in itself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Too much is. And it lying stagnant is, but the actual process of swelling is helpful.
So, once we’ve swelled, then we need to drain. And this is where we get the issues because usually when we swell it also means that our activity levels have also reduced. We may also not be drinking as much water e.g. if we’re feeling sick after surgery, and so the fluid doesn’t have the mechanism to move out.
It’s important when you’re having Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) that as it is a manual technique that you move the fluid in the right direction (towards the correct lymph node where that area of the body is meant to drain) otherwise, it's easy to see how if your manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) isn't performed by a qualified, certified, and experienced professional therapist (as your therapists is at Essential Feeling) that you could end up causing more problems than you solve. This is why many care centres e.g. for cancer won't advise self use unless you have been trained in the simple technique.
Benefits of lymphatic massage (MLD)
*Reduces swelling and inflammation
*Helps to prevent lymphoedema which is a risk particularly for cancer patients
*Promotes our immune system and all the knock on benefits of that including detoxify, physical healing and decongestive benefits
How often should I have manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD)?
It depends why you are coming. Consultants will often suggest that you come every few days post operative, including post lipo. But, if you have cancer, then your treatments will normally start every day. over time this reduces to two or three times per week. There is no way to tell how long your course of therapies should be because as with all these things, it's down to how your body responds and what other treatment, and activities you are doing.
Due to the location of the lymphatic system, manual lymph drainage massage (MLD) is especially helpful to the natural drainage of the lymph if your swelling is in any of the following areas:
*Face and/ or neck
*Trunk of your body