By Ronda Niemiec and Ross Ashcraft
In my experience if you ask a large group of people if they have a family member that is battling or has been lost to cancer more than half of them will raise their hands. According to the U.S. Census the second leading cause of death is cancer. According to the Susan G Komen Foundation one of the top priorities of cancer survivors is making sure their family member are safe and protected from what they personally just experienced. Soooooo what can we do to help?! Does massage have an answer to helping the patient and families battling with cancer?
Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Lymphatic massage, also known as lymphatic drainage or manual lymph drainage (MLD) is used to treat lymphedema. It is a very gentle massage used to drain excess fluid from the body and improve functioning of the lymphatic system. A session lasts approximately one hour and is performed four to five times a week for two to four weeks. This is a wonderful and relaxing massage session that can create profound positive changes.
If pain or infection is present one should stop treatment and see their doctor. If there is a sudden, marked increase in swelling, again, one should stop treatment and seek a doctor’s advice. Up to 25% of breast cancer patients whose surgery includes the removal of lymph nodes develop lymphedema. It is estimated that 140-250 million people are affected by lymphedema worldwide.
What is Lymphedema?
Lymphedema is localized swelling due to impairment in the flow of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary. Primary lymphedema is an inherited condition of an anatomical abnormality and is rare. Secondary lymphedema is from damage or obstruction of a normal functioning lymphatic system. Lymphedema in the United States most often affects women who have had breast surgery followed by radiation. If lymphedema is left untreated, repeat infections, changes to the skin, and progressive decline in quality of life and activities of daily living may result.
National Lymphedema Network website is available below to help find a therapist skilled in lymphatic massage-don’t just let it go untreated.
What Can YOU Do?
If you are interested in training in Lymphatic Massage, we recommend the Chikly Health Institute. They sponsor classes all over the country and would be an excellent source of training for any work with cancer patients and any form of lymphedema. You do NOT have to be a massage therapist to enjoy doing this work. Many of us wish we could make a difference in the lives of others, perhaps Lymphatic Drainage Massage is your outlet?!
We at Community Care College like to put our beliefs in practice. We participate in many activities and events that support cancer awareness and funding. Please consider joining us at the Purple Stride Event coming soon. See details below and consider signing up!
Please share with us your fight with cancer…..or how you will help us fight! We can take cancer down together!