Manual lymphatic drainage, or, in other words, lymphotherapy has been taken into use in Estonia relatively recently as a method of treatment which stimulates the activity of lymphatic system and improves lymphatic circulation. Lymphatic system plays an important part in immune protection and it regulates the fluid balance in the body. Hence, lymphotherapy decreases edema both in body and limbs, improving mobility of ligaments and joints and and enhancing the quality of life.
Normally intact lymphatic system works due to such external factors as breathing, muscular activity and arterial pulse. In case of lymphatic system’s hypofunction, the above-mentioned factors are insufficient and manual lymphotherapy should help to restore the fluid balance and reduce edema. Lymphotherapy involves manual transportation of body fluids and lymph (i.e. fluid that contains in lymphatic system) from edema zone to the nearest functioning lymphatic nodes. Thus, excessive fluid, metabolic waste and toxins are removed from problematic area, improving flow of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues.
Since lymphatic vessels are located in subdermal tissue, lymphotherapy is performed in gentle superficial massage movements. Lymphotherapy should be always followed by wearing compression bandages, otherwise lymph will flow back to problematic areas and treatment fails to resolve symptoms. Physical therapy performed in compression bandages is the important part of lymphotherapy.
Indications for lymphotherapy:
· Chronic lymphatic diseases (primary and secondary)
· Postsurgical edema
· Rheumatic diseases
· Follow-up care after cancer
· Pre- and after-treatment of plastic surgery
· Posttraumatic edema (can be started even when a limb is still in the cast)
· Postthrombotic edema
· Acne vulgaris
· Facial edema
· Immune system improvement
· Scar therapy
· Pregnancy edema
· Lipid edemas
· CVI II and III stage (edema caused by varicose veins)
In our centre, lymphotherapy is provided as rehabilitation both covered by Eesti Tervisekassa and as chargeable service.