You may have never connected the two, but lymph drainage therapy – which is a specialty of Body of Health – is a beneficial treatment for those who have undergone plastic surgical procedures. Some of these include liposuction, tummy tucks, augmentation, and face lifts. What all of these operations have in common is that they result in the damaging of lymph capillaries which are attached to the derma of the skin. This type of trauma can prolong the patient’s recovery time, result in the affected tissues becoming hard and malformed, and the surgical scars forming deep adhesions.
So many times, I’m contacted by clients who have undergone this type of surgery four or five weeks earlier. They almost always report that the treated area is now hard and swollen, inflexible, and painful. Since they can’t get comfortable, they also can’t sleep. Don’t misunderstand; this is often the results of operations that have gone “well”.
The problem isn’t that the surgeon has done a poor job or that the body is reacting in some strange way. In several foreign countries, when a patient is being counseled about a pending plastic surgical procedure, she is automatically directed by the physician to contact a lymph massage therapist for post-surgical treatment. In our country, however, it’s rarely mentioned prior to surgery and it’s only when the patient is having difficulties that she hits the internet and discovers the benefits of lymphatic treatments.
As I’ve shared with you before, lymphatic massage therapy is a gentle hands-on technique aimed at restoring the flow of the lymph nodes and capillaries. When your body has been through any kind of surgery, the lymph system gets congested due to excessive swelling and medication. The procedures severely damage the capillaries which eventually grow back. The problem is that they rarely grow in the right direction and tend to “pool” together. When this happens, proteins settle in the tissues causing them to harden. With lymph therapy, these tissues are massaged and the lymph is then redirected to where it needs to go. This helps soften the tissues and increase pliability which helps the patient move more freely.
Lymph is also a very important therapy for scars. You can develop deep adhesions with scars if they are not massaged, broken up, and the lymph drained to make them soft and pliable. Scar therapy uses a cross friction technique to help break up the collagen of the scar. Lymph therapy is then used to draw the fluid over the scar and help it heal quicker.
Keeping the lymph nodes clear and flowing is a major factor in the healing process. Without clear nodes, there becomes a “traffic jam” in the capillaries and, once again, the tissues suffer due to a buildup of proteins and toxins which causes swelling and congestion. Lymphatic therapy clears the lymph nodes and keeps them flowing so that they can take on the additional capacity of the swollen tissues.
Massage is also very important in reducing recovery time. Manual manipulation of the tissues brings blood and oxygen to the affected areas and helps it heal. Also, a byproduct of tissue manipulation is that it assists in the rejuvenation of superficial nerve repair. When nerves grow back it feels like little shocks or twinges. This is a great sign that you are on your way to healing and a full recovery. By receiving massage and lymph therapy, you reduce your pain, increase range of motion, reduce swelling, sleep better, your appetite improves, and you feel so much better about yourself.
Some people may argue that massage therapy and lymph drainage are not necessary after surgery. I would have to agree. It is not a life or death procedure, however, by being proactive in your recovery, massage and lymph therapy help you heal quicker, hurt less, and have a better quality of life.