The lymphatic system is a network of drains with rivers and creeks that flow into the main drains of the body.
The lymphatic system works together with the cardiovascular system to pump water throughout the body transporting nutrients, hormones, toxins, and medicines.
Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump – the lymphatic fluid flows due to gravity and movement. When you move, your skin puts pressure on the lymphatic pathways and moves the fluid.
When your lymphatic system isn't working right, lymphatic fluid can pool in parts of your body that have been cut off from the rest of your body lymphatically. This is usually caused by surgery, cancer treatment, and other trauma to the lymphatic system. This trauma damages or removes the lymph nodes and lymphatic pathways in your body.
The lymphatic fluid slowly pools in your body – this is called Lymphedema ('lymph' for the lymphatic system and 'edema' which means swelling) – after the trauma has occurred and you might not notice it for months or years. Eventually, it can increase the size of your arm or leg to the point that it is heavy and hard to use. You'll begin to feel pain and achiness and your skin will get tighter.
Unfortunately, you cannot fix Lymphedema. Doctors cannot put lymph nodes back in where they took them out and they cannot fix the lymphatic pathways that were disturbed during surgery. Instead of fixing Lymphedema, you have to contain it.
The best way to contain Lymphedema is through compression. Compression is used to squeeze the fluid from your arm or leg back into the rest of your lymphatic system so that your body can handle it naturally – I think of compression as a type of sculpture and using it we can reshape parts of your body. I am a Certified Lymphedema Therapist and I'm gifted at wrapping your affected limb in bandages.
I will also use Lymphatic Drainage to stimulate the healthy parts of your lymphatic system to ensure that they can handle the fluid coming in from your affected limb.