July 24, 2014
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Massage therapy encompasses many different techniques. Typically, therapists press, rub, and manipulate the muscles and other soft tissues of the body. Mostly, they use their hands and fingers, but sometimes use their forearms or elbows.
Lymphedema and lymphatic drainage therapy is a form of massage that addresses blockages in the lymph system which may result from cancer, radiation treatments or surgery. With this type of massage, the soft tissues of the body are lightly rubbed, tapped, and stroked. It is a very light touch, almost like a brushing. Massage may help move lymph out of the swollen area into an area with working lymph vessels. Once the lymph fluid is moved out of a swollen limb, bandaging (wrapping) can help prevent the area from refilling with fluid. Bandages also increase the ability of the lymph vessels to move lymph along. Lymphedema that has not improved with other treatments is sometimes helped with bandaging. (Source: National Cancer Institute)
What to expect from massage therapy
An initial consultation involves filling out a health history form, reviewing the patient’s health history and current complaint/reason for coming for massage, and answering questions. Assessments include postural, range of motion, palpation (feeling tissues), measurements of limbs, and special tests. The therapist sends individuals home with self-care exercises and tools. If time permits during the initial consultation, hands-on treatment is given, if not, the next treatment will be mostly hands-on.
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