Massage has been considered from the earliest times as an integral part of one’s wellness. Especially at our current world which is clouded with all societal changes, people’s bodies have been experiencing tumultuous and sometimes arduous challenges. Getting a massage has become a major part of an individual’s quest to somewhat relax his or her own body or even get rid of some illnesses. A massage therapy can improve one’s health through the reduction and elimination of bodily pains, improvement of joint mobility and blood circulation, improvement of lymphatic drainage, reduction of muscular tension, among others. Furthermore, a massage that can now be considered a therapy can be a treatment in chronic and acute conditions. Therapists, those who specialize in different techniques of massage, apply his or her knowledge of physiology and anatomy in treating clients. These techniques can vary and there are a lot of various massage therapy techniques from all over the world. These can come from Southern Americas, European countries, to Asian countries where techniques come in peculiar programs. A massage therapy that is performed by a registered massage therapy can be very beneficial to those stressed working individuals and most especially those who are suffering from different kinds of diseases. Some illnesses and/or diseases that can be eased are anxiety and/or depression, inflammatory conditions like arthritis and bursitis, strains, sprains, stroke, stress and other conditions caused by stress, muscle tension, insomnia, headache, fibromyalgia, gastrointestinal disorders, scoliosis, dislocations, multiple sclerosis, sport injuries, tendinitis, whiplash, cancer symptoms, asthma and emphysema, back, leg, and neck, pain, and many more. Massage therapy can also be a part of palliative care and pregnancy and labor support. To note, there are interesting facts about massage therapy that even date from the early ages up until now. According to studies, a human being’s skin has approximately five million touch receptors or 3000 in just a fingertip alone. With just a healing touch from a massage therapist, there will be a healthy reduction from one’s heart rate and blood pressure. It is even believed that the famed Roman politician and conqueror Julius Caesar takes a massage in curing his epilepsy and also the eccentric Bob Hope likewise did the same. Mr. Hope who was able to live one hundred years had made massage a part of his daily regimen. Last 1996 during the Olympics, bodywork or a massage therapy was for the first time being offered as part of the core medical service in Atlanta. Simple exercises like massaging or pulling gently the ears from the top, middle, and then to the bottom can improve a person’s immune system. There is a specialized massage that can help improve the flow of a lymph throughout the body, thus relieving body aches, pains, and flu-like symptoms. Endorphins, human body’s natural pain killers, can be stimulated through touching and a massage therapy. One of the astounding facts about massage is that a mere 60 minute massage is equivalent to a very relaxing 8 hours of sleep to your body. It is also exciting that a full body massage can be done with the patient having his or her own clothes on, as contrary to other people’s notions about massage. Moreover, as evidenced by Egyptian tomb paintings that show people doing a massage, massage is considered as one of the oldest forms of medical care. A normal massage can be done on a table, a bed, a bench, or even in a couch; it will just depend on the kind of massage that will be performed and whether if it is full body or not. As of this writing, there are 75 massage modalities that are known, common, and practiced all around the world.
In Germany, there is a developed type of massage that is designed to treat lymphedema. Lymphedema is a swelling that usually occurs in the arms or legs and sometimes both. Lymphedema is the result of a cancer treatment; this is the result when there is a removal or damage to the lymph nodes. Lymphedema is a result of fluid accumulation after the lymph nodes are removed, usually after a surgery that is designed for breast cancer. This is all due to the fact that a body’s lymphatic system has to eliminate body waste. This may develop at birth, during early puberty, and also in adulthood. Lymphedema affects all the primary parts of the body, that is, four limbs and other essential parts. The cause of lymphedema is generally not yet known.
Our body has a natural waste removal system that functions like the circulatory process in terms of scale and scope. Body liquids called lymph carry with them wastes, toxins, infections, and other harmful elements of the body to the lymph nodes. In the lymph nodes, these various harmful elements are destroyed. Due to this continuous and hard process, our body’s lymphatic system will be easily, in familiar terms, worn out. It becomes stagnant due to dehydration, stress infection, fatigue, and etc. which in turn will result in the retention of water, chronic pain, fatty deposits, and even cellulite. A languid lymphatic system will be now the cause of various diseases our body has to suffer from. These diseases are chronic sinusitis, upper respiratory problems, throat issues, common colds, pneumonia, and even swollen glands, ankles, and eyes. A cancer treatment for example will leave the lymph nodes having to block the lymph fluids in draining well inside which leads to buildup and then lymphedema. The medical society has yet to find a definitive cure for lymphedema as of the moment. However, through early diagnosis and active care, lymphedema can be treated and managed well.
The symptoms for lymphedema can be quite obvious because these symptoms appear physically unlike other symptoms of other diseases which appear inside the body and then will just be felt by the patient. These symptoms include the following: a swollen part of the arms or legs or both which includes the toes and the fingers, the feeling of being tight and heavy, range of motion being restricted, body aches and body discomfort, infections that are recurring, and hardening and thickening of the skin or fibrosis. As for the swelling, it can be mild that can be hardly noticed and it can also be in its extreme form wherein the affected part can no longer be used. Note that lymphedema will only occur months or even years after the cancer treatment procedure. Aside from surgery, other causes such as radiation treatment for cancer, cancer itself, and infection can be considered as secondary causes of lymphedema. As stated above, lymphedema can occur in every stage of life. It can be an inherited condition which is rare. For Milroy’s disease or congenital lymphedema, lymphedema begins in the infancy stage. As for Meige’s disease or lymphedema praecox, lymphedema is developed in the ages of puberty and in pregnancy as well; although, it will occur late until the age of thirty-five. And lastly for late-onset lymphedema or lymphedema tarda, the disease occurs after the age of thirty-five. Aside from all these, older age, obesity or excessive weight gain, rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis, etc. can be considered as risk factors for lymphedema. Infections can also lead intro lymphedema. A serious bacterial infection for instance in the skin and even the smallest injury that will serve as entry point for infection can develop into lymphedema. In order to reduce the risk of having to develop lymphedema, first of all, it is best to protect and rest your arms and legs, avoid heat, elevate both the affected parts, do not wear tight clothing, and keep yourself clean.
For cases like lymphedema, a massage therapy will surely ease the pain and help in treating it. However, there are certain cases where massage therapy is not always recommended like when there is an increase in localized swelling and when some patients have a sudden onset of infection like lymphangitis. The lymphatic massage is a technique that uses gentle pressure in moving waste fluids from the affected area. Thus, lymphatic massage can be used to get rid of lymphedema. This massage technique is commonly applied for breast cancer patients. This is because there is a high prevalence of lymphedema cases for breast cancer patients. For this type of patients, a standard lymphatic massage session often can be characterized as starting off with a gentle and light massage on just the surface of the affected area, for example, the skin of the neck. A registered therapist then will do a series of gentle rubbing, stroking, tapping, and pushing on the skin, following the direction of the body’s lymphatic system. This is done so that the fluids that are accumulated will be drained in a correct way and through the proper channels. It is important to remember that a lymphatic massage is not painful and also not in other ways might be able to stimulate other effects. A session usually lasts from 45 to 60 minutes, depending on the scope and scale. A typical lymphatic massage can be done only once a day but for four to five times a week in two to four weeks. As per the current studies, through lymphatic massage, there is a significant reduction in the swelling of the affected part of the body even in the first week of the treatment and will eventually stabilize in the second week. Just remember that before taking the lymphatic massage, make sure to know who to administer the technique. There are a lot of clinics out there that offer broad ranges of massages. Also, the Salt Lake City foot detox, for example, is also one essential hub when it comes to a complete wellness experience. Make sure to know the difference of a physical therapist vs massage therapist. Therapists may use the same techniques and processes, but both differ in their own career paths. Their differences can be gleaned upon from their required educational attainment and licensing taken, scope and scale of their job, and of course their net income. For massage therapists, they are responsible in manipulating the muscles and soft tissues in relieving the body from stress and pain. These therapists have to complete a certificate program instead of a degree given by the US Bureau of Labor Statistic. Anatomy and physiology are just some of the complementary subjects included in the certificate program. On the other hand, physical therapists have to get a degree from a university and will have to undergo an often strenuous education and training. In turn, a physical therapist is going to be authorized to diagnose movements that are dysfunctional, develop various and appropriate treatment programs, and assess the patient’s developments. A physical therapist must be licensed. Pertinent subjects such as physiology, pharmacology, and neuroscience are studied vigorously in the course.
Now, after undergoing a lymphatic drainage massage, one has to remember the following things:
Seriously, you have to find more time having you body rested after the session. A patient will have to feel tired afterwards so it is better to take the time off the day and just do nothing but lying down and relaxing your muscles. It is also better to rehydrate yourself because a lot of times after the session some patients complain of thirstiness. Replenish yourself with a drink that is full of vitamins and other essential elements. Forget all you troubles and other work-related stuff going on to fully recharge your body. And of course, stay away from social media and from other electronic gadgets for they are just going to distract you in your quest for wellness.
After a few hours or days from the session, the patient is expected to stretch gently and get the muscles moving so that there will be a much better alignment since there is already a remarkable reduction in the flow of liquid in the affected area. Get a grip of your body. Make small, gradual movements. But be careful so as not to abuse your muscles and joints.
3. Get moving!
Movements are good for the body. However, it is best to not push the body into its limits. Just take a few less strenuous exercises, just enough for sweating and for getting your muscles working. Do some house chores. Take a walk. Breath. It is high time to forget about sitting in your favorite couch while watching your favorite primetime drama and instead get out of your house and get grooving.
4. Drink lots of water and eat well
There will be frequent urinations and bowel movements. That is okay. This way, body toxins and wastes will be flushed out and then you will finally get rid with all those harmful elements that cause diseases and other illnesses. Also, although it is really tempting to eat a lot, you have to mind what and how much you eat. Eat healthy foods and limit your intake with all those fatty and greasy favorite of yours because most of the times these are the culprits of the sufferings experienced by your own body.
5. Live well
Lymphatic drainage massage is kind of a form of a detoxification of the body. Detoxing is purely natural phenomenon occurring in the body and will eventually result to good body performance. Living well means being able to be careful of your actions and try not to engage in activities where there are big chances of your body getting hurt. Also, exercise will do good things to our body. There are actually a number of appropriate exercises. You just have to choose one that best fits your body and you are good to go. Surround yourself with clean environment. Breathe fresh air by being away from the city once in a while. Try to avoid stressors and have a positive outlook in life.
Lymphatic drainage massage thus offers the patients wonderful benefits like relief of chronic pain which is good for those who are suffering from debilitating diseases, relaxation for those who are facing stress every day at work, school, or even at home, increase in energy levels, detoxification, good-quality sleep, and most importantly an improved immune system.