Posts Tagged ‘Manual Lymph Drainage’

Dry brushing is an ancient skin care technique that has been used throughout the centuries by countless civilizations. History also tells us it has been used for many different purposes. Stimulation of the lymphatic system and skin exfoliation being the primary purposes. On the internet you will find claims that have not and cannot be verified promising everything from cellulite reduction to religious experiences. It’s out there and that’s why I decided to write about it. I wanted to try to clear up the fact from the fiction.

Exactly What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is the process of brushing dry skin with a natural bristle brush. The brush strokes are short, quick, and stimulating. Most sources say to start at the feet and brush your way up the fronts, backs, and sides of the legs, up the front, back, and sides of the body, and up the fronts, backs, and sides of the arms toward the arm pits. The neck and chest can be brushed in downward strokes toward the arm pits.

When you first begin dry brushing it may feel scratchy, but you should quickly adjust to the sensation. If you don’t, lighten the stroke. It should feel good, almost like something you didn’t know your skin needed. As you work your way up and around the body you will notice a warm feeling where you have already brushed. Perhaps your skin is a little pinker or darker than it was, this is from the blood flowing into the epidermis. A word of warning to ladies of a certain age, dry brushing can instigate a hot flash.

Why Should I Care About Dry Brushing?

There are numerous reasons you might be interested in trying dry brushing. Stimulating the lymphatic system is a common reason many try this self-care technique. For clients who are suffering from chronic swelling that is not complicated by skin infection and when it is appropriate, I sometimes recommend dry brushing as an adjunct to manual lymphatic drainage. It is a simple, self-care technique that is effective for many and empowers those who sometimes feel helpless in the struggle against lymphedema.

Another common reason you might be interested in dry brushing is to exfoliate dry, flaky skin. The strokes during dry brushing literally brush dead skin cells away. This is known as manual exfoliation and provides the common benefits of skin exfoliation. Manually dry brushing skin gently smooths and stimulates the skin leaving a tingling, fresh feeling and decreasing the chance of clogged pores. It is not advised to dry brush the face, other sensitive areas, or broken or infected skin.

Increasing blood circulation to the skin is another great reason to investigate dry brushing. As a by-product of the manual stimulation and exfoliation of the skin is blood flow. Increased blood flow affects the color and texture of skin by circulating needed oxygen and nutrients, mobilizing cellular debris in the lymphatic system and reducing puffiness. Regular dry skin brushing is said to improve the look of skin. Of course this is subjective and each person will experience different results.

It may take a week or two to really begin seeing results from regular dry brushing. It takes time for the skin to adjust to the increased stimulation. If symptoms such as localized swelling, skin reactions, or rashes occur stop dry brushing. Dry brushing isn’t a panacea for everyone and you can’t know if it is or isn’t for you until you try.

When Is the Best Time to Dry Brush?

The Ayurvedic system recommends dry brushing before you shower each morning. This recommendation permeates the internet and other sources I’ve found and I can understand why. It gives you the opportunity to wash off any dry skin flakes that might still be hanging around after the brushing. And it gives your body time to process the stimulation from brushing. But in my personal experience, it’s ok to dry brush any time during the day or night. I brush when I think to do it. I try to brush every day, but sometimes I miss it if my schedule is crazy. Sometimes I brush twice a day if I’m itchy or unsettled in my skin.

Can You Dry Brush Too Often?

Dry brushing is a mechanical exfoliation of the skin. That means the bristles strip off dead skin cells. If you continue to brush, even lightly, after all the dead skin cells have been brushed away you’ll eventually wear through the outer dermis layer of skin into the epidermis and develop a blister or start bleeding. It would take quite a while to achieve that kind of damage though, but yes, you can dry brush too often. No more than twice a day is a good guideline.

Is Dry Brushing For Everyone?

As with almost everything, there are certain issues you may have that would make dry brushing ill-advised or inappropriate. Broken skin, open wounds, bacterial or fungal skin infections, contact dermatitis, and systemic infection are just a few of the reasons you may want to avoid dry brushing. Most of what I’ve listed here are temporary conditions that will heal and dry brushing can begin or resume. Some conditions such as extremely thin or sensitive skin or lymphedema due to organ failure would make dry brushing a contraindication.

If you would like to learn more about dry brushing, find out if dry brushing is appropriate for you, or get a coaching session on how to effectively dry brush, give me a call! I can even hook you up with a brush if you need one.

Sharon Bryant Sharon at Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is a Certified Holistic Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist!

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BrokenFingerI was recently approached by a client with this question about massage and broken bones. My initial reaction was, “No way!” But then with a little more thought and research I reasoned that while it would be nice (and much cheaper, less painful, easier, and great for business!) to rub away a break, massage therapy can indirectly help the healing process when bones have been broken.

How Massage Helps Broken Bones

Let’s talk about the healing process for a minute. It starts as we breathe oxygen into our lungs. Our lungs allow the oxygen to dissolve into our bloodstream. Blood then delivers the oxygen to our cells. After the cells have used up the oxygen, they spit out all the by-products of the healing process into the interstitial fluid between cells. The lymphatic system then sweeps them up and transports them through the lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes and eventually out through your eliminatory system. This is a gross oversimplification of the miracle of life, but you get the gist.

Applying the healing process to broken bones it would look something like this. Cells and all the things they make up, muscles, tendons, bones, etc., heal when they are bathed in oxygen. So in order to heal, blood (and oxygen) must reach cells in the area that has the fracture. That oxygen must get used up in order for healing to occur and the lymphatic system has to do its job taking out the trash to keep the area from swelling and squeezing out the possibility for fresh, oxygenated blood to enter. Thus, it only makes sense that the goal of massage therapy in respect to help heal broken bones is to promote and restore optimal blood and lymphatic flow to the area of injury.

What if you have a broken bone and you’re in a hard cast?

You might think massage therapy can’t help, but lymphatic drainage can help reduce swelling and decongest the region around the fracture even when you’re in a cast. Sounds crazy, but it’s true. Certified manual lymphatic drainage therapists are trained to ramp up the lymphatic system. And a busy lymphatic system reaches parts of the body that the therapist can’t touch thus reducing swelling, removing cellular debris and promoting healing. So even if you are in a cast, a massage therapist certified in manual lymphatic drainage can definitely help you along your healing journey.

After you’re out of the cast massage therapy can help in a more direct manner. Muscle atrophy, stiffness and sub-functioning joints can all benefit from an appropriately tailored massage. Delivering a good dose of blood and oxygen via massage and lymphatic drainage to the injured area will be one of the best things about breaking a bone (after the cast coming off, that is).

What you can do to help heal broken bones

  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods – This gives your body the nutrients and building blocks to make the needed repairs
  • Move as much as you can within the guidelines of your medical advice – Get your blood moving so your cells can do their jobs and get you fixed up, also movement helps combat stiffness and gets you going faster and easier after the more restricted healing period
  • Breathe deeply in a clean air environment – Give your blood plenty of good oxygen to deliver to those hard working cells
  • Meditate! – Since you’ve been forced to slow down physically, why not take some time to give your brain a break too?

What to watch out for

  • All massage therapists are not lymphatic drainage therapists. Find someone who is certified in manual lymphatic drainage. This is important.
  • Massage therapists claiming you don’t need to see a doctor for a suspected broken bone. Run/hobble away!
  • Any other ridiculous claims. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

And so now you know how massage can and can’t help when you’ve broken a bone.

Be well, my friends!

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage Therapy is a Certified Holistic Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist!

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MLD Certificate

I just wanted to take a moment and relish in the accomplishment. I am now a

Certified Holistic Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist

Wondering what that is?

Well, I am now certified to perform MLD in the Vodder Method on adults, children, pregnant women, athletes, and individuals needing pain, palliative care and hospice support.

The list of issues MLD is indicated for is long and growing every day with extensive research being conducted in the field.

The biggie is for relief of edema (swelling), but MLD also offers benefits for a host of other situations that fall under both medical and cosmetic labels. Everything from headaches, sinusitis, and Bell’s palsy to acne, rosacea and anti-aging treatments.

If indicated, I am also certified to bandage and educate clients on self-bandaging techniques as well as measure and fit for prescription and athletic compression garments after MLD results have been achieved.

I’ve put together a page with packages and pricing for MLD because it is different from my standard massage rates.

Call today to discuss whether Manual Lymph Drainage might be right for you.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Newest Certified Holistic Manual Lymph Drainage Therapist!

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So I was just looking at my calendar and trying to figure out how to get all of this information out to my public. I figured the easiest way (for me) would be to list it all out for you. You know how I like a good list, so here goes. Hope to see you at some of these events!

February 22nd – Jake for King!

As many of you know I am heavily involved in the Carnegie Carnival as a member of the Crewe O’ Ye Crooked Goat. This year we have nominated the fine and wonderful Jake Reed for next year’s Carnival King. We are sponsoring a fund raiser and silent auction to help Jake win. Come on out and party with the pirates!

February 22nd & 23rd – MLD Certification Finals

Unfortunately I won’t be at the Pirate Party and Fundraiser because I’ll be in Birmingham completing my Manual Lymph Drainage certification course. I am regretting missing the party, but am so excited about finally earning my certification for MLD!

March 1st – Mardi Gras Parade!

Arrrrr… long live Crewe O’ Ye Crooked Goat! If you are anywhere in north Alabama, you really should come see the spectacle! We are defending our first place parade trophy this year and we hear the competition is outdoing themselves. Of course, they haven’t seen our float yet. ARrrrrr!!!

March 14th -16th – AMTA Alabama Board Retreat

Including the word “retreat” is probably the biggest misnomer in history here. It’s really just a two and a half -day long meeting for the Board of Directors to strategize and plan the upcoming year’s activities. Can you say, sore rear end?

March 22nd – Grand Opening Celebration!

The Grand Opening Celebration for our beautiful, new space! We’ll have hors d’ oeuvres and some kind of beverage for you as you see the new place, meet and visit with all our providers. Tiny gifts and maybe even a door prize or two may be involved.

April 5th – Partner Massage Class

The very first Partner Massage Class will be held at Harvest Moon Massage Therapy & Reflexology. RSVP today as space is limited and I expect this class to fill quickly!

So that concludes the list of upcoming activities. In the meantime I’m taking appointments and working to get all the finishing details into the new space. We are still looking for someone to rent our third room. So if you know someone, now would be a great time to let them know we have a lovely space for them to rent. The sooner we get a third, the better.

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Some of you may have already noticed that I’ve updated my Qualifications and Services pages with a new service that I am offering immediately.

The new service is called Manual Lymph Drainage or MLD for short. MLD is a gentle type of massage that promotes the movement of lymph fluid throughout our bodies. Because the lymph system doesn’t have a pump, lymph fluid moves pretty slowly to begin with. Those of us who sit for a living (yes, my hand is up, I’m still at a desk 32 hours a week) it moves even more slowly.

MLD is designed to help unplug and clean out the lymph nodes and then speed up the lymphatic flow through the system. The MLD Institute teaches that MLD therapy can speed up lymphatic output up to 10 times its normal rate.

Moving lymph keeps us healthy and younger by assisting in creating more immune cells, transporting immune cells, and removing cellular toxins and other wastes that are in our bodies from the foods we eat and injuries to tissues.

Who needs Manual Lymph Drainage?

Well, in Europe MLD is very common and is used not only in the medical realm, but for anti-aging and general wellness. So MLD is for everyone who wants to be healthier. It was developed by a Dutch doctor who spent a lot of time treating sinusitis and thought there must be a better way.

Currently in the U.S. it is used to treat edema, for palliative care in hospice patients, to minimize pain, bruising and scarring from surgical procedures and is being studied for use in other conditions too numerous to list.

There are side effects of MLD though, after receiving it you may suffer from a stronger immune system, notice that you may have more energy and find that you’ve lost that swollen, bloated feeling.  🙂

So what can you do to help your lymph system?

Well, obviously you should call and schedule yourself an appointment to get an MLD session, but short of that there are three very accessible things you can do to improve your lymph system.

  1. Eat healthy foods, lots of veggies and greens. Minimize the pretend and chemical-laden foods, they are filled with unhealthy fats and foreign substances that cause your cells to emit toxic sludge that has to be dealt with by your lymph system.
  2. Drink water or decaffeinated herbal teas. I know you’re about to stop reading, but bear with me. Caffeine is one of the things that clogs up your lymph system so minimize it whenever possible. And drink more water. Lymph is made up of 10% water, if you’re dehydrated it’s not moving.
  3. Exercise. The lymph system doesn’t have a pump so muscle movements are basically it for getting the lymph and lymphocytes (immune cells) moving throughout the body.

So what makes you an expert?

By far I am not an expert. I’m still learning and even though I am just one short weekend away from receiving my final certification I still have a lot of studying and learning to do. I do, however, have an expert on speed dial in case we need her.

So far I have been trained on Full Body MLD, LymphLift for the Head, Neck & Face MLD, and Prenatal and Child MLD. I will be writing more about each of those classes and the specific focus for each of them soon.

When I finish my final classes I will be adding MLD for Sports as well as Palliative Care for Hospice MLD. I will also be certified to measure and fit medical and athletic compression wear. So, not an expert, but a humble student who is interested in learning as much as possible and then learning some more from my clients.

I hope you will consider MLD next time you or your loved one are facing surgery, suffering with edema or finishing up chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Call me and we can discuss further how MLD might be able to help.

Sharon Bryant Harvest Moon Massage is Decatur, Alabama’s Newest Provider of Manual Lymph Drainage!

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