When I do massage lately as I observe the patients I notice many times people will say “oh my stupid shoulder” or “oh that damn leg”, and I find it casually humorous but also why do they say such things? It makes me think, how many ways can we create to feel damaged.  Why are you angry because you have pain in your leg when YOU created the situation and now you are blaming the leg lol!

I have been working with an interesting doctor of physical therapy from Belgium who worked with Muhammad Ali when he had Parkinson’s.  He used to teach at university in Belgium and worked for many years also in a cadaver lab.   I love him because he brought chocolates to our office from Belgium lol.

He met Emil Vodder who founded  lymphatic drainage massage in France in the 1930’s. Lymphatic drainage massage is the most medically researched form of massage.  In my school books it mentions that him and his wife developed the techniques for treating sinus infections, enlarged lymph nodes, and acne. The technique was used in the beauty industry at that time.  What the book does NOT tell you that our doctor told me is that his wife actually had breast cancer.  That is how he discovered it and developed the treatment.  Because, when the breast is removed surgically due to cancer they also remove the lymph nodes of the area for several reasons but in part so it does not spread.

Lymph glands are very interesting because they have an “immunologic memory” and they protect the body from foreign aggressors. Their balance between filtration (hydrostatic pressure) and resorption (osmotic pressure) are effected by diet and exercise.  In a normal circulation there is balance between the arterial in-flow and the venous out-flow.  If you think of a bath tub faucet as the arterial inflow, the main drain as the venous outflow and the overflow drain as the lymphatic outflow it makes a lot of sense!

If there is not enough protein in your blood plasma then there is less resorption (osmotic pressure) and your bathtub fills up with too much junk!  This can result in edema caused from malnutrition like you see in some Third World countries.  The phenomenon is known as kwashiorkor.  This edema can increase/worsen with exercise, or by sitting next to a hear source as well.

In protein deficiency the filtration will decrease because of increased tissue pressure and you are left with residue of interstitial liquid that is supposed too be transported by lymph. So basically, too much junk in your bathtub that makes you sick, take that vegans! In normal conditions the lymph circulation can drain 2 to 2.5 liters of lymph liquid a day.  This capacity can increase to 20/30 liters a day.  There are ways of treatment including massage but if edema occurs it is definitely a sign of malfunctioning lymph circulation.

These are all facts from the doctors book I read and below is a painting of his from our office.

 

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