resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
The Clinical Versatility of Milk Thistle (Part 2)
Evidence is growing that the silymarin complex of flavonolignans from milk thistle can impact serum ferritin and iron overload in various clinical circumstances.
Treating Pain: The Hypermobile Coccyx
When I write about the coccyx, I recognize that I am talking about a relatively small subset of patients. When I write for Dynamic Chiropractic, I am trying to reach 60,000 chiropractors.
Yo San University Helps Make LA Communities Healthier
An element of healthcare training often overlooked is the residual benefit to communities served by Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) schools nationwide.
Percussion Therapy: An Experiment
My study of qi began more than 20 years ago — long before my study of TCM, points or pathways. It all started with an awareness in my hands and physical manifestations in the way of blockages while working on clients.
Forgotten Options for Musculoskeletal Health
Challenges with musculoskeletal health are of tremendous concern for many people today.
Window of the Sky Points
The acupuncture points known as Window of the Sky are a modern creation. There is no reference in Chinese medical texts for an acupuncture point category called Window of the Sky.
From Antiquity to Modernity: Huang Qin Tang at Yale Medical School, Part 1
Traditional Chinese medicine is a coherent medical system with several unique characteristics: it originated almost 3,000 years ago; in its area of origin, it has been practiced without interruption since its inception.
Diet, Nutrition and the Context of Risk (Part 1)
Food and supplement safety is a topic that often comes up when I speak to chiropractors for CE relicensing, even when it is not the advertised subject.
How to Humanize Your Content to Create Stronger Relationships
Content marketing is about building relationships, whether that is through updates on social media, offers on your website, blog posts, email campaigns, or even printed material. Now days a business needs to make a human connection.
Changing the Cultural View of Medicine
Many hospitals in the U.S. are incorporating integrative clinics that include Traditional Chinese Medicine. Cleveland Clinic has led the charge for adding a traditional Chinese herbal medicine clinic to their existing acupuncture program.
Taking Another Step Toward a Secure Future
In 2008, the Council on Chiropractic Guidelines and Practice Parameters (CCGPP) released a literature review on chiropractic care for low back disorders.
The Roots of Insomnia
One of the most common clinical presentations is insomnia. Next to digestive disorders, sleep disorders are one of the most common complaints the clinician will encounter in daily practice.
Lab Rats (Roaming the Streets)
The title of this article is an accurate description of American consumers (regardless of age) in the modern era.
Is There a Neurological Basis and Correction for Macular Degeneration?
Macular degeneration, aka AMD (age-related macular degeneration), is a common eye disease and a leading cause of blindness in people age 50 years and older, according to the National Institutes of Health National Eye Institute.
East Meets West
Gung Hay Fat Choi. Welcome to the year of the Monkey. There will be fireworks for both January and February this year. What great celebrations.
Do Doctors Lie to Patients? (Do You Lie to Yours?)
In a previous column ["When Patients Lie (Bribe or Flatter)," Oct. 1, 2015], I discussed the issue of patients lying to doctors, and the many reasons why this can occur.
Interprofessionalism: What it Means and Why You Should Care
Interprofessionalism in education and in practice is a growing trend across health care in the United States. The idea that team-based care and collaborative practice can improve health care has been around more than 50 years.
Chiropractic Around the World: WFC Country Reports December 2015
The following country updates are reprinted with permission from the December 2015 World Federation of Chiropractic (WFC) Quarterly World Report. Information is excepted for space and edited to DC-specific style guidelines.
Ethics: The Glue That Holds Us Together
Kudos to the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM) for creating a code of ethics for the nationwide profession and for deciding to make courses in ethics a requirement for certification renewal.
RAND Study Recruiting DCs
Dr. Ian Coulter, RAND / Samueli chair for integrative medicine and senior health policy researcher for the RAND Corporation, has issued a call for participation, recruiting doctors of chiropractic for a practice-based research study that will examine "the impact of evidence, outcomes, costs and patient preferences on the choice of treatment for chronic low back pain and neck pain."
The MRI: What to Do With the Results
As I wrote in my previous article on this topic, it is my goal for you, the doctor, to be an expert in interpreting MRI images yourself; and to be able to independently make decisions based upon a combination of clinical presentations and findings, followed by the MRI images.
Enhancing Performance in Cross-Fit Athletes
Cross-fitness centers are expanding in number and increasing in popularity. To remain relevant to this growing portion of society, practitioners need to learn about the exercises and injuries common to this group.
Asking the Insurance Rep the Right Questions
One of the first or last questions a potential patient often asks is: "Do you take insurance?" An ill-informed or optimistic, "yes" can result in delayed or non-payment. Instead, just say: "Let me check if you are eligible first."
Integrative Medicine Can Shape the Profession
As the AOM profession struggles to define the role of "integrative" medicine within their practices their schools and organizations, students, faculty, alumni and administrators at schools wrestle with discussions of how much, where, how, and what to "integrate."
November, 2013, Vol. 13, Issue 11
Lymphatic Pump Techniques Improve Immune Function
By Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor
Contributed by Derek R. Austin, MS, CMT, Jolie Haun, PhD, EdS, LMT, and M.K. Brennan, MS, RN, LMBT
Do you know that lymphatic pump techniques (LPT) can enhance your massage practice? Immune response is central to maintaining health.However, health can be compromised when there is any delay in the immune response to a pathogen. Lymphatic flow is a key component in facilitating the immune response. Techniques that focus on lymphatic flow are effective adjunctive therapy in acute infection, as well as immune support.
Exercise, passive movement and manipulative techniques have been shown to increase lymph flow. Osteopaths have historically used osteopathic lymphatic pump techniques (LPT) to improve lymphatic circulation, reduce edema and combat infectious disease. However, until recently, there was no scientific evidence that LPT enhances function of the lymphatic and immune systems.
Lymphatic pump techniques may be familiar to readers, as these techniques are commonly used to treat edema. This month's Massage Therapy Foundation research column summarizes two recent reviews on the lymphatic and immune effects of lymphatic pump treatment. The first article, by Lisa Hodge and Fred Downey, "Lymphatic Pump Treatment Enhances the Lymphatic and Immune Systems," was published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine in October 2011. The second article, by Lisa Hodge, "Osteopathic Lymphatic Pump Techniques to Enhance Immunity and Treat Pneumonia," was published in the International Journal of Osteopathic Medicine in March 2012.
Lymphatic pump techniques, also known as lymphatic pump treatments, affect the lymphatic system and are a staple of osteopathic manipulative medicine. Leukocytes traveling in the blood and lymphatic system perform an important role in the body known as "immune surveillance," searching for foreign bodies that will trigger an immune response. Thus, it is important that the flow of lymph not be restricted, as it is in lymphedema. Skeletal muscle contraction, intestinal peristalsis and respiration are already known to increase lymphatic pressure and flow. Additionally, LPT may enhance lymphatic and venous drainage, improving immune surveillance during times of infection.
Despite slowly mounting research evidence, the question remains: Is LPT helpful for infection? Small sample sizes limit the validity of pilot studies that suggest LPT can enhance innate immunity in patients with acute infection and healthy individuals. Though we often refer to human studies to give guidance on effective treatments, laboratory-based animal studies (often referred to as "basic" or "bench" research) also inform the mechanisms and efficacy of modalities such as LPT. Animal studies have demonstrated that abdominal and thoracic pumping increase thoracic duct flow in dogs and rats.
These animal studies point toward lymphatic pump treatments enhancing the uptake of lymph into the lymphatic system, thus increasing the immune function of this system. Previous research on anesthetized dogs by Hodge and her collaborators has shown that four minutes of abdominal lymphatic pump treatment may increase the flow of immune cells from both the innate and adaptive immune systems. That research showed LPT can mobilize white blood cells and other immune cells from GI tissue into lymph. Other research on dogs has found similar results whereby LPT to the abdomen mobilizes immune cells from the mesentery, though the effect sizes and clinical relevance are less well-established.
The lymphatic flux, or molecules per minute of lymph collected, of additional inflammatory mediators such as interleukins and cytokines, are also enhanced by LPT when measured during four minutes of LPT, when compared to the time immediately pre-LPT and 10 minutes post-LPT. Also, LPT improves thoracic duct leukocyte flux without increasing mean arterial pressure, at least under the condition of anesthesia.
More recent research in Hodge's laboratory has focused on a rat model employing LPT to the abdomen at a rate of one compression per second for four minutes. As in dogs, LPT in rats temporarily increases lymph flow and concentrations of immune cells, suggesting that LPT boosts immune surveillance. LPT releases mature, activated lymphocytes, including IgA+ and IgG+ B cells into both thoracic and mesenteric lymph. However, this canine and rodent research has only looked at abdominal LPT due to technical difficulties with performing thoracic LPT in the controlled experimental setting, so the effects of thoracic LPT in these animal models is still unknown.
However, thoracic LPT has been shown in a few studies to enhance antibody response in humans. Hodge points out the need for further experimentation to clarify the differences between abdominal and thoracic LPT.
Hodge, Downey and a group of collaborators used a rat model of pneumonia to study whether LPT improves lymphatic clearance of pneumococcal bacteria. In this study, 20 rats received four minutes of daily anesthetized LPT, another 20 rats received daily anesthesia and a sham treatment of light touch, and another 20 rats served as controls. Eight days after infection, the researchers found that the amount of S. pneumoniae bacteria in the lungs was significantly reduced in both treatment groups compared to control. Compared to the sham treatment, LPT led to an even higher amount of bacteria clearance.
The treated rats also exhibited fewer immune cells in the lungs, indicating their infections were improved compared to the controls. While this article focuses on the effects of LPT, it is interesting that light touch also had a significant effect compared to control. Light touch is often used as a "sham treatment" comparison group compared to a form of massage or bodywork. If light touch has a therapeutic effect, then it may not serve as a good control or comparison group.
In humans, LPT is used as an adjunct therapy to improve cleansing of the bronchi and trachea, increase sputum production and shorten the duration of cough in patients with lower respiratory disease, such as pneumonia.
The most significant recent research into LPT in humans is the Multi-Center Osteopathic Study in the Elderly (MOPSE). This randomized, double-blind, controlled trial compared light-touch, osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT) and traditional care. The study involved 406 hospitalized elderly patients with pneumonia who were followed for outcomes including length of hospital stay, antibiotic use and respiratory failure or death.
As may be expected with many forms of bodywork, OMT led to a significantly higher report of increased musculoskeletal pain, compared to light touch and traditional care. While the MOPSE intention-to-treat analysis, which includes those randomized to receive OMT who may or may not have actually received it, did not show any significant differences between groups, the results were different for those who actually received OMT.
In that statistical breakdown, referred to as a per-protocol analysis, patients who received OMT plus conventional care had decreased length of hospital stay, duration of IV antibiotics and frequency of respiratory failure or death compared to the conventional care group alone.
Future research may illuminate other interesting benefits of LPT. Another rodent study by Hodge and various collaborators showed LPT partially prevented the development of pulmonary tumors in rats implanted with tumor cells. The amount of solid tumors was reduced by 30% and the number of immune cells, including B-cells, T-cells, NK cells and macrophages in the lungs, increased. Additionally, historical data from the H1N1 flu pandemic of 1917-1918 shows treatment under the care of an osteopathic physician significantly decreased mortality, especially in patients who had influenza complicated by pneumonia. Osteopathic manipulative medicine of this era already included lymphatic pump treatments that have only been studied rigorously in the 21st century.
The way by which LPT enhances immune system function and patient outcomes appears to be through at least two major mechanisms. LPT improves immunological memory, which may aid in the clearance of pathogens and prevent chronic infection. LPT also increases pulmonary trafficking of gastrointestinal immune cells, possibly providing immune protection in the lungs. Despite these benefits of LPT, other studies have had less-positive results. One study showed LPT does not increase serum interferon levels in healthy individuals, though interferon is not normally elevated in healthy people. A clinical trial also showed mild, but significant worsening of lung function in patients with COPD following LPT. Subjectively, however, the patients reported feeling better after LPT. And while LPT has been shown in some studies to enhance the immune-system response to vaccination, it did not increase antibody titers against influenza in a recent human study.
The development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, including MRSA and resistant forms of pneumonia, has led to a serious search for non-antibiotic methods of treating infectious disease. While the research evidence is generally preliminary, laboratory and clinical studies are beginning to show that LPT has a significant immune-boosting effect. It is still unknown what quantitative effect LPT has, especially in humans, and particularly for diseases other than pneumonia. Furthermore, some studies confound LPT with other manipulative medicine techniques that may not be in the scope of practice of massage therapists.
Overall, with research showing significant results when LPT is applied for a duration of only four minutes, it may be an easy technique to incorporate into a massage session with proper training. Of course, some clients may not want their abdomens vigorously pumped. However, the health benefits may convince them otherwise.
These data provide important implications for the application of LPT in clinical practice, particularly when immune effects are a desired outcome. Furthermore, these findings provide a solid scientific basis, including both basic and applied research, to support the use of LPT when making treatment recommendations to clients and patients. These published findings support the field of massage therapy and bodywork in the clinical setting as professionals and research scientists continue to establish the scientific merit of modalities such as LPT.
One of the two reviews discussed in this article is available for free in PubMed Central. To learn more about the effects of modalities such as LPT, you can review the Massage Therapy Foundation article archives, read accepted MTF Research Grant abstracts, or search PubMed for massage therapy studies.
Click here for more information about Massage Therapy Foundation Contributor.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.