What is the Lymphatic System?
Great question! Among other things, your lymphatic system is responsible for cleaning the fluid in your body. It's like having hundreds of little filters all over your body that destroy harmful substances like bacteria and other cell waste/ debris. It is basically your body's immune system.
In addition, your lymphatic system serves the vital function of returning proteins to the blood from the interstitial spaces (spaces between your cell walls). Without this, we would swell up like balloons and die within 24 hours.
When our body experiences trauma, the lymphatic vessels can become compromised and can no long transport this fluid and we experience edema (swelling). These areas then become congested. It's like when you're floating down a river and you come to a place where the water is no longer flowing. This stagnation becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses to thrive. This is why it is so vitally important that we take care of our lymphatic system and keep it flowing freely.
Why Integrative Lymphatic Therapy?
At Austin Lymphatic, we have created this specialized technique to move as much fluid through your system as possible in the time we have together. We have incorporated the best of Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Lymphatic Drainage Therapy along with the use of cups, limb movement, mayo facial release, topical oils and a variety of other techniques geared toward optimal lymphatic movement.
Is there anything I need to do before or after treatment? How should I expect to feel afterwards?
Generally we recommend drinking plenty of water before and after your treatment. People can feel a little loopy after their session and it is recommended that you take it relatively easy for the rest of the day and allow your body to change.
If you have a particularly slow or sluggish system, lymphatic therapy can have some minor, short term side effects. Because lymphatic therapy is aiding the detoxification process, you might experience body aches, headaches, or be more tired than usual for a day or so after your treatment. Drinking plenty of water after your treatment to help flush these toxins out should keep you from experiencing these symptoms all together.
If you do have any of the above side effects, please let us know so we can augment your next treatment as necessary.
I recently had plastic surgery; why is my doctor recommending this?
Lots of reasons! To put it simply, you will get better, quicker results, with less pain, bruising, and swelling. Lymphatic massage can also help to avoid potential complications associated with surgeries such as infection and abnormal scar tissue formation. If you are experiencing areas of tightness and hard lumps, working these areas and the surrounding tissue can make a drastic difference. Furthermore, lymphatic drainage helps stimulate tissue regeneration. I can not express how important this is after any esthetic procedure. Your scars will heal more quickly and with less chance of infection. Integrative Lymphatic Therapy can greatly reduce your swelling, bruising, discomfort, and have you back on your feet more quickly.
I just had surgery, will this hurt? It sounds scary and I'm nervous.
Don't be nervous! I promise this will feel great and you'll walk out of our office feeling so much better. Integrative Lymphatic Therapy does not hurt at all. Because we are only working with the fluid in the body, it requires a much lighter touch than you would expect from a regular massage. Sometimes, there are areas that are blocked and we have to dig a little deeper or use a cup to release these areas, but again, this should never be painful and should always feel beneficial or therapeutic.
Why is lymphatic drainage so important before/after dental procedures?
No one likes going back to work still looking like a chipmunk. The pain associated with dental procedures can be greatly reduced when the swelling is under control. We recommend coming in the following day or later the same day of your procedure to get the healing process started. Yes, there is even lymph in your teeth and having these areas drained before your surgery can make for a cleaner surgical site and a quicker overall recovery.
Working the neck, face, ears, and skull after dental surgery allows the swelling to exit the surgical site and be reabsorbed by the body reducing your overall swelling and allowing you to be more comfortable as you recover.
How does this technique help with autoimmune conditions?
Those of us with autoimmunity know when our bodies get inflamed. While we don't generally do Lymphatic Therapy during a flair up, keeping your lymphatic system functioning reduces the amount of generalized inflammation in your body which can make for fewer flair ups and less symptoms overall.
How many sessions will I need and how often should I come in?
This is really decided on a case by case basis. For normal healthy systems, we recommend coming in every time you change the oil in your car. If it's time to flush the fluid in your vehicle, it's probably time to flush the fluid in your body as well.
If you are coming to visit us due to a recent surgery, we like to see you as soon as your doctor allows and again a few days later. We can get such a better idea of how many sessions it will take to get your swelling under control after we see you for your second visit. This way we can tell how great an effect the first treatment had on your body and we can go from there. We always like to see surgical patients about six months after their procedures to follow up and make sure everything has healed properly and no stubborn scar tissue has formed.
Why do I need a prescription to see Courtney and not the other therapists?
It has to do with our licensure. Courtney is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and in the state of Texas, you need a prescription to see a physical therapist - even if you are not claiming insurance (we know it's silly but it's the law). All of the other practitioners at Austin Lymphatic are Licensed Massage Therapists, and do not require a prescription to treat. Courtney is able to do an initial treatment and then reach out to your doctor for a prescription so no need to worry if you have an appointment scheduled. We take care of this on our end and this should not be something you need to deal with at all.
Will my insurance cover this?
Unfortunately we are not set up to take insurance at this time. HSA are usually accepted.
There is a clinic at St. David's for lymphedema patients that is able to take insurance.
Can Integrative Lymphatic Therapy help me lose weight?
Yes and no. If you are the type of person who holds fluid and tends to swell, lymphatic therapy can greatly reduce the amount of fluid you are holding onto, and that may tip the scales. So yes, you can see a difference in this way. As far as losing actual body fat, we can assist in this process by draining your liver. A lot of times, when people are on weight loss programs, they lose a lot of weight at first and then plateau out and have a difficult time losing more weight after they have been on a roll. This is often times due to their liver getting congested from having to process all the fat they have recently lost. Every pound a person loses is filtered through the liver. Without supporting/detoxing the liver, they will be unable to lose much weight moving forward. Once we treat the liver, people are often able to continue their weight loss programs with greater success!
I'm pregnant, but very swollen. Can lymphatic therapy help me get relief and is it safe to do while I'm pregnant?
Absolutely!! Women retain more fluid while pregnant to soften their bodies and allow for expansion (cool!!). Expecting mothers also get swollen when they are pregnant due to their growing uterus putting more pressure on their veins and not allowing as much blood flow to return to their heart. While this is not generally a cause for concern, it can be uncomfortable. Lymphatic therapy can help with the swelling, allowing you to be more comfortable during your pregnancy. We generally will not do lymphatic massage until you are through with your first trimester and have clearance from your doctor.
Do you do bandaging/wrapping for lymphedema?
Generally not. While we are trained in this area, we usually send people to a lymphedema clinic to get bandaging done. It is just not economical for the patient to come see us for bandaging while other clinics are able to take insurance for it. Once you are through the bandaging phase of your treatment, please feel free to come see us for manual maintenance. Once it's under control, we highly recommend staying in front of the lymphedema by getting Integrative Lymphatic Therapy on a regular schedule, depending on your situation.