resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
June, 2002, Vol. 02, Issue 06
Traditional Massage Therapy in the Treatment and Management of Lymphedema
By Joachim Zuther, MT, PT
Editor's note: Joachim Zuther is the founder and director of the Academy of Lymphatic Studies in Sebastian, Florida. Mr. Zuther received his massage therapy degree in 1982 and his physical therapist degree in 1984, both from the School for Physical Therapy and Massage in Ulm, Germany.He is also certified in manual lymph drainage and is the director of the Lymphedema Association of North America (LANA).
Lymphedema is a common condition caused by a reduction in the transport capacity of the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system in the affected area is unable to respond to an increase in lymphatic loads. Massage therapy increases the amount of lymphatic load and can have negative effects on lymphedema if applied incorrectly.
This article discusses the differences between massage therapy and the techniques known as manual lymph drainage (Vodder Technique) and the proper application of massage therapy when lymphedema is present.
Lymphedema is defined as high-protein edema - an accumulation of water and protein in the tissues, caused by a decrease in the transport capacity of the lymphatic system. Lymphedema may be mild, moderate or severe; most often, it affects the extremities, but can also be present in other parts of the body.
Lymphedema can be classified as primary or secondary. In primary lymphedema, transport capacity is reduced as the result of a congenital malformation in the lymphatic system.6 Primary lymphedema may be present at birth, but more often develops later in life, with or without obvious cause. Secondary lymphedema is more common, and is caused by surgical interventions involving the lymphatic system. Lymph node dissections, radiation therapy, or incisions that disrupt the natural pathways of the lymphatic system affect the ability of the lymphatics to drain lymphatic loads out of the affected extremity. Secondary lymphedema may arise immediately after surgery or years later.
What Are Lymphatic Loads?
The lymphatic system is not a closed circulatory system; it works according to the one-way principle. Its main purpose is to drain from the interstitium substances that cannot be absorbed by the venous end of the blood capillaries. These substances, called lymphatic loads, consist of water, protein, cells and fat.5
What Is the Transport Capacity of the Lymphatic System?
Transport capacity is the highest possible lymph flow per unit of time.4 The relation of the physiological resting lymph flow to the transport capacity of a healthy lymphatic system is approximately 1:10.7 This means that the lymphatic system is able to transport 10 times the volume of the normal amount of lymphatic loads. When primary or secondary lymphedema is present, the transport capacity of the lymphatic system falls below the physiological level of water and protein load (mechanical insufficiency).
Massage Therapy vs. Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD)
The term massage means "to knead" (Gr: massain) and is used to describe forms of "classical" or "Swedish" massage.10 The word is often misused to describe the techniques of manual lymph drainage, which is a gentle, manual treatment technique used in combination with compression therapy, skin care and decongestive exercises. The techniques of MLD are used to effectively treat primary and secondary lymphedema1 and postsurgical and posttraumatic swelling. Migraine headache, chronic venous insufficiencies and edema of other genesis present additional indications. MLD also has a detoxifying effect.
If applied correctly, MLD increases the activity of lymph vessels and moves interstitial fluid; it exerts little pressure on the skin3 and does not cause any increase in local arterial blood flow.
Effects of Massage Therapy on the Skin
The basic strokes used in massage (e.g., petrissage, effleurage, tapotement, vibration and friction) are generally applied with more pressure than manual lymph drainage techniques. The effects of massage strokes are not limited to suprafascial tissues (e.g., the skin), but also cause reactions in subfascial areas such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. Massage strokes can increase local arterial blood flow and venous and lymphatic return, and can also loosen subcutaneous adhesions.
Many massage therapy publications list edema as one of the indications for these techniques.8 This statement, while correct, is often misleading if the distinction between edema and lymphedema is not established. Edema is suprafascial tissues can be caused by various problems, including inflammation or impaired venous return (valvular insufficiency, pregnancy, or prolonged sitting and/or standing). With edema, the lymphatic system remains intact but is overloaded. This condition, called dynamic insufficiency, results in the accumulation of water in the tissues. Massage therapy may be beneficial for some forms of edema, but is contraindicated for others. It should not be applied without prior consultation with a physician.
On the other hand, lymphedema is always caused by mechanical insufficiency of the lymphatic system; water and protein accumulates in the tissues. As discussed earlier, in the case of mechanical insufficiency, the transport capacity of the lymphatic system falls below the physiological level of water and protein load and is not able to appropriately respond to an increase in lymphatic loads.
Negative Effects of Massage Therapy on Lymphedema
Most massage strokes cause an increase in arterial blood flow (active hyperemia) in skin areas where such techniques are applied. Active hyperemia is accompanied by an increase in blood capillary pressure and subsequent increase in ultrafiltration of water in the area of the blood capillaries. This process results in more water accumulating in the interstitial spaces. Water represents a lymphatic load. Due to mechanical insufficiency, the lymphatic system will not be able to manage this additional water load. If massage therapy to lymphedemateous tissues, an increase in swelling may result.
Additionally, superficial lymphatics are extremely vulnerable to external pressure. Traditional massage techniques can cause focal damage to anchoring filaments and the endothelial lining of lymph vessels.2 This possible damage to lymphatics, and the potential increase in arterial blood flow, must be avoided.
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