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Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Give Yourself the Digital Advantage
When you see this article in the print version of this issue and swear you read it already, don't be alarmed: you probably did. That's because by that time, the May issue will have been available online in digital format for three weeks.
April, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 04
Incorporating Lymphatic Drainage in Facelift Massage
By Rita Woods, LMT
More and more therapists are performing facial massage as a stand alone session such as a facelift massage. Women in their 60s, the typical age group treated in my practice, present with specific issues that should be taken into consideration. First, if they do not receive regular massage and do not have an active lifestyle, they may have sluggish circulatory/lymphatic systems. Second, they may have health and medication issues that impact how, and if, you can proceed with the session. In this column, I'll discuss what you need to know and how to approach the facial lymphatic system in a basic and uncomplicated session.
Areas of Caution
First, some words of caution. If your client suffers from an active infection such as sinusitis, strep throat, tooth abscess or any skin infection, do not proceed. Active head/face infection is your number one contraindication for this work. If, however, they have been taking antibiotics for at least three days, it is generally safe to proceed. Next, if your client has facial swelling of unknown origin, do not proceed. Remember this is for a typical session with a healthy client and no extenuating circumstances. While it is possible to use this work to address blunt force trauma and post-facial surgery, that requires advanced training. Standard massage contraindications also apply even when working on the face alone.
Facial Lymphatic System
Now, onto the treatment itself. You remember from your massage school curriculum that massage increases circulation; it also increases lymphatic flow. That is, massage also increases the release and flow of lymphatic waste. As with any "waste disposal," some form of clearing should be done before adding more waste to the system. (For example, if there is mud stuck in the end of a garden hose, the mud must be cleared out before the water can flow effectively. The same holds true in the body's waste removal systems.)
Unlike the blood circulation in the face which drains in a variety of directions before ending up back at the heart, the facial lymphatic system follows a very exacting drainage path. The right side of the face flows to the right and the left side to the left - with both sides ultimately flowing into submandibular lymph nodes. While there are other locations housing lymph nodes involved with head/face "cleaning," such as under the occiput, the main ones for facelift style work are the submandibular ones. Lymph nodes vary in size from small - about the size of a pin head - to large, about the size of an olive. The ones under the mandible are about the size of a pea.
During a regular full body massage, muscles are warmed and circulation increases. When performing a stand alone face session, muscles must also be "prewarmed" in order to gain the necessary effects. As importantly, submandibular lymph nodes must be stimulated (rubbed) in order to open and enhance circulatory and lymphatic flow. Failure to do so could result in edema and puffiness especially under the eyes, an area prone to sluggish lymph flow.
If your client suffers from bags under the eyes or obvious fluid retention in the face, you may choose to focus more time on lymphatic work until some of the fluid and puffiness has decreased, possibly in one or two sessions. Although it is not possible or practical to teach a facial lymphatic protocol in this format, we can follow some basic steps that will surely help your client. Do not mix muscle work and lymphatic work. The lymph vessels are just under the surface of the skin on the face and are easily flattened by pressing too deeply. While they recover quickly, they need time to do so. A muscle technique to break up adhesions should not immediately be followed by a lymphatic stroke.
Two Key Areas
Two key areas to focus your attention are the submandibular nodes and the terminus. The terminus is where the lymph vessels dump into the circulatory system just before entering the heart. Unlike the rest of the body, the lymph vessels of the face have a straight shot down the neck and into the heart. You want to stimulate this area to prepare it to receive more lymph. This stimulation, while gentle, is more aggressive than work on the actual vessels. The same is true of the submandibular nodes. You will exert a steady and firm pressure, almost in a milking/pumping action, to these nodes. Done correctly, your client will be able to breathe, swallow and speak while you affect the nodes. The tips of your fingers apply pumping pressure on the underside of mandible and your fingers must remain in constant contact with the inner edge of the jaw line. The nodes are tucked up under the inside edge and in some cases can be palpated. Keeping your fingers on the bone will also ensure that you are not encroaching on arteries or veins in the neck.
Steps of Treatment
A typical session would be as follows: 1)Warm the facial muscles using any gentle, non-invasive technique; 2)Gently stimulate the lymphatic terminus which is found below the clavicles and on either side of the manubrium; 3) Stimulate the submandibular lymph nodes by using digital pressure up underneath the mandible bone; then 4) Proceed with your facelift session protocol. Upon completion of the facelift protocol, allow 5-10 minutes for stimulating the lymph flow through the lymphatic vessels. These vessels respond well to light stroking that is almost featherlike. Starting with the region closest to the nodes, apply a light stretch to the skin then follow the movement with a featherlike trailing toward the nodes. Your stroke will look like a 7 or an L. Work your strokes up to the middle of the face with the featherlike trailing toward the nodes. You may encounter some drag if there is lubricant on the face. If so, you can use a cotton ball for the trailing stroke. Cotton balls work well on and around the eyelids.
The combination of the proper facial and/or facelift massage and lymphatic drainage of the face can multiply the effects of facial work. Some of my happiest clients are those who finally get rid of the bag-gage.
I want to thank Charlotte Versagi, lymphatic massage instructor extraordinaire for sharing her knowledge and experience in the writing of this article.
Click here for previous articles by Rita Woods, LMT.
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