Thursday, January 21, 2010

Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

© By Victoria Bowmann, Ph.D., USA

Republished with permission from EXPLORE! Publishing
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Electromagnetic energy from the Sun bombards the Earth. Our Sun orbits around the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Electromagnetic energy beams from the heart of our galaxy. This confirms the presence of a super massive Black Hole, a million times denser and four million times larger than our Sun. Gama, x-ray, infrared and radio waves are emitted from the Galactic center and affect the electromagnetic fields of our Earth and all inhabitants on it. Fortunately, science has found ways to harness many of these energy waves to the benefit of our health, comfort and enjoyment.

When considering the lymphatic system, most focus is on the vessels and nodes. Lymph is the interstitial fluid found between the cells of the human body. It enters the lymph vessels by filtration through pores in the walls of capillaries. It then travels to at least one lymph node before emptying where it mixes back with blood. The primary lymph systems are the thymus gland and bone marrow. This is where the immune cells form and mature. One’s secondary lymph system has both encapsulated and unencapsulated diffuse lymphoid tissue. The spleen and the lymph nodes are the encapsulated tissues. GALT (gut associated lymphoid tissue) and the tonsils are the unencapsulated tissues. However, one must include the intestines since at least 60% of the lymphatic system is in the intestines and the skin since it is the largest organ of this system. The lymphatic system is our immune system.
One might view this system as a stream with rocks in the stream. A congested system would see the fluid like molasses, incapable of much movement. A healthy system would see the fluid like water gently flowing around the rocks.
Lymphatic fluid can leave the vessels and wander amongst our cells in the interstitial fluid (ISF). If blood were to do this, it would be a bruise. However, lymph can and does move in, along and about, cleansing away debris. Water and solutes can pass freely between ISF and blood by a process of diffusion across the capillary walls. Both are in a dynamic equilibrium with each other.
Whereas the blood has a pump (heart) the lymphatic system doesn’t. It depends upon two functions. One is muscular peristalsis during gentle exercise that encourages the movement of lymphatic fluid through the tissues. Second is deep diaphragmatic breathing to “pump” the cysterna chyli. This enlarged lymphatic vessel is about 6 centimeters long and is located in the lumbar region of the abdomen. It assists in the storage and movement of lymph from the lower watershed. The thoracic duct carries lymph from the upper watershed moving upward and returning to the venous circulation through the left subclavian vein.

Candidates for Treatment

Upon examination, a patient might show enlarged nodes in the throat or armpit as well as in the groin, or swelling in the lower extremities. However, there are additional visual clues that point to a congested (overloaded and overworked) lymphatic system. If one observes any kind of skin eruptions, this indicates a weakened immune system. This could be eruptions, pustules, pimples or any skin abnormality. The skin becomes a vicarious organ of elimination. Another clue is swelling on the sacrum. A triangular redness occurs over the sacrum when one has reclined on the back. This pooling of fluid suggests congestion in the abdomen and legs. Since such a large portion of this system is in the intestines, the presence of leaky gut indicates an impaired system.
Electronically Assisted Lymph Drainage

To adequately support the lymphatic system, one can administer a lymphatic drainage treatment. However adjunct treatments are also important to address the multifaceted components of this system. With the application of the correct amount and type of photo-illuminessence electronic stimulation, the lymph remains liquid and moves more easily through the system. There are three pieces of equipment used and two manual techniques to provide a comprehensive treatment. The first is a “far infrared heat lamp” which heats the body from the inside. Mild sweating begins quickly and detoxification increases. It also activates the cells, supports the metabolic process and decouples toxins from water molecules. This is used for 5 minutes on the kidneys prior to starting a treatment. Otherwise it is used to heat an area as the work is being done.
The second is a multi-wave oscillating light bulb that contains noble gas, either argon or neon. These frequencies are attracted to the water of the body. Since we are 70%+ water, it has an effect at the cellular level. These frequencies cleanse the tissues by assisting in the liquefaction and dissolution of fat; thereby releasing fat-soluble toxins into the lymphatic system and detoxification channels. These can then be moved through the vessels and eliminated in urine. The third is a frequency generator with the frequency set to 880 hertz. This is the primary lymphatic frequency and moves toxins out of the interstitial fluid. There are both wands and pads. If addressing sebaceous cysts, the wands can help dissolve the accumulated fats by gently pressing into the sides. Otherwise, use a wet cloth (or paper towel) as the pads can be placed under the cloth. This allows a larger area to be treated at one time. By combining these three in a systematic manner, an effective method of releasing toxins for elimination can be achieved.
Manual Techniques

The two primary manual techniques are extremely gentle, sometimes being called a “cat’s paw technique”. The softness and lightness with which a cat can walk gives the analogy of lightness of touch and softness of stroke. When one is working, these techniques can be explained to the patient so they can continue the work on themselves daily when needed.

The first manual technique is a squeeze; which is administered in the direction of the lymphatic flow. Generally it can be done in one of two directions. One is closest to the body and moving more distal. With heavy swelling, this is preferred. Consider it necessary to move the fluid in the knees before attempting to move fluid in the ankles. Otherwise the fluid will pool and cause additional discomfort and stasis.
With little or no swelling, the squeeze technique can be from distal to central. However there is timing: with one hand squeezing before the other. When we are working distal to center, the most distal hand squeezes first, then followed by the other hand. When we are working center to distal, the center hand applies the technique first.
The second manual technique is a circular motion in the direction of lymph flow. Because the body isn’t linear, this gentle motion supports the movement in an organic form. These movements follow the direction of the flow of the vessels. Both hands work together for this technique. There are variations of these techniques. The importance is a light touch, in the direction of lymphatic flow. One can also gently brush the skin with a touch as soft as a feather duster, stroking toward the center of the body. This is the best technique to teach the patient, especially those with severe edema. When the patient contributes to the process by applying some of the techniques, a faster response is noted. In one of my cases, a gentleman presented with extreme discoloration (almost black skin) and swelling. Amputation had been suggested. I only had two weeks before they left for their homeland. During the four treatments, I taught his wife the manual techniques. I received word about a year later. She had worked on him daily. His skin had returned to a normal flesh tone, the swelling was gone and he had avoided amputation.
When evaluating a patient, one needs to ascertain the strength of the kidneys. They need to be as open and strong as possible. For a weakened individual or one with impaired kidneys, a treatment can still be done. The length and intensity needs to be reduced. Otherwise there may be an increased herx reaction.
One begins by warming an area with the far infrared lamp. Since it cannot work through material, it must “radiate” on bare skin. Uncover the area and place the lamp head at least 12 inches above the area. Typically a 45 minute treatment can be done daily, heating any part of the body from feet to head. I use this for the entire treatment even though it is longer than 45 minutes. It is important to remember that the eyes must be closed when the lamp is placed above the face. It brings wonderful healing heat to the sinuses, however it can dry out the eyes. They must be kept closed or covered.

Once the skin feels heated, the multi-wave oscillating frequencies are begun. The wand has a light bulb with noble gas, usually neon, which is stimulating. Make contact with the skin and use a slow soothing motion. Pressure isn’t necessary other than to keep contact. These frequencies will penetrate as much as 3 inches into the body. The direction of motion is irrelevant although practitioners usually work in the direction of lymphatic flow. Some pressure with the flow, a lighter touch moving away, but always keeping contact. Although there is no need for a carrier lotion, a layer of organic aloe vera gel is a nice application. (It can be warmed.) This reduces the “sparks” when touching the skin. This is very important when working on children especially those with autism. If needed have a water bottle (warm) available to spritz the skin with moisture. This will keep a stronger connection between the frequencies and the skin. A three to five minute application is common. The frequency generator is used last. Place two wet (folded) paper towels on the skin. Be sure they do not touch, as the frequencies will flow between them when the machine is turned on. The length of time for this portion can be 5 minutes, 3 minutes or 1 minute. Three or five minutes are the usual application times. If there are “feelings” like when one’s foot falls asleep, the area needs more moisture. Spritz the cloth with water until the patients “feels” nothing. This means the frequencies are going into the tissues, not skipping across the skin. To complete an area, dry the skin and manually move the lymph in the direction of its flow. One can use either technique first or alternate between the two. One must remember the greater the fluid retention, the longer the manual techniques. One minute is usually sufficient. With keen observation, one can see movement of fluid just under the skin as the vessels can be contracting rhythmically.
Begin the Treatment

The patient lies face down. It is important to heat the kidney area before beginning with any frequencies. Five minutes is suggested. This insures the filtering of impurities is optimal. Often a patient will need to void urine during a treatment.
We begin on the mid-back, moving to the upper back and over the hips. It is important to follow the drainage patterns. Lymph capillaries form a network over the entire body. The drainage of lymph is interconnected as most of the fluid drains toward the nearest node.

The patient now turns over face up. The abdomen is uncovered and the oscillating frequencies can begin at the same time as the far infrared heat lamp. Notice that the drainage pattern goes upward above the naval and downward below the naval. The XX is the placement of the cysterna chyli.

The axillary lymph nodes are very important to keep the breast clear of congestion. There are between 20 and 30 lymph nodes. They are arranged in the following groups:
  • brachial lymph nodes are lateral
  • pectoral axillary lymph nodes are anterior
  • subscapular axillary lymph nodes are posterior
  • apical lymph nodes are medial or subclavicular
  • central lymph nodes
It is best to start with the left since the thoracic duct will move this fluid first. Complete the work on the right axillary lymph.

The inguinal lymph nodes clear the legs and pelvis of congestion. There are approximately 10 superficial lymph nodes that drain into the deep inguinal lymph nodes. There are approximately 3 to 5 deep nodes. These form a chain immediately below the inguinal ligament.

The facial lymph nodes are concentrated around the ear (occipital and parotid lymph nodes), below the cheek bones (mandibular lymph nodes) and just above the clavical (cervical and supraclavicular lymph nodes). It isn’t necessary to take our equipment above the hairline as they penetrate at least 3 inches into the tissues. By draining these areas, the vessels throughout the face and across the skull will also drain.

The treatment is now complete, however the work has just begun. The first 24 hours will move a large quantity of fluid. Those with fluid retention will find the need for frequent urination and the urine may be dark and odorous. Therefore it is important to impress the patient with the need to drink additional water.
Support Treatment

The first support treatment for lymphatic drainage is the colon reflorastation with healthy probiotics. This will strengthen GALT and boost the body’s ability to handle detox or herx reactions. It isn’t necessary to do this on each treatment but it is important to do it the first time and at least every 3 months with ongoing treatments. On two of the illustrations (abdomen and head) there are XXs. These points discovered by Frank Chapman, D.O. are areas that can be gently stimulated to continue the flow of lymphatic fluid. Start at the left armpit and use small soft circles to rub the Chapman lymph point. Continue with each point going from left to right. It should take about a minute. Then using three fingers, gently “poke” the point above the umbilicus and below the xyphoid process. This is a technique that will “squeeze” the cysterna chyli and pump the lymphatic fluid. 10 or 12 gentle pokes are sufficient. The patient needs to do this hourly on the day of treatment and at least once per day thereafter.
A detoxification bath should follow each treatment. Epsom salt is an excellent product as long as magnesium isn’t restricted as it can be absorbed during the bath. At least one cup is used in a regular sized bathtub, two cups in a “garden” size tub. Soaking for up to 20 minutes with skin brushing at the end of the bath with stimulate additional toxin release through the skin. This should be done before bedtime on the day of the treatment. There are more sophisticated baths that incorporate far infrared energy, ozone from ambient air, natural ultrasound and negative ions. These appliances supports deep cleansing as it unbuckles toxins and pollutants within the body. Although unnecessary for one’s lymphatic treatment, it can provide ongoing lymphatic support. Leaky gut (see Explore! for the Professional, Vol 18 #5, Three Aspects of Leaky Gut) will continuously contribute to lymphatic congestion. It is important to address this condition while embarking on a lymphatic cleansing protocol.

There are several forms of exercise that stimulates lymphatic flow: brisk walking, swimming and jumping on a mini-trampoline. If exercise is too intense, it slows the lymph. Gentle muscle movement promotes this delicate flow. There are several types of equipment to assist a patient. One is a “chi” machine: while lying on one’s back, the ankles are placed in the cradles of the machine. The machine is turned on and a rocking motion occurs. Another type of machine is a “vibrational exerciser.” One stands on the base and holds onto the handles. The base has an orbital motion and a variety of speeds. There are numerous positions to focus lymphatic flow to different parts of the body.

Case History

D.G. was a 70 year old female. She had been diagnosed with lead poisoning, aluminum poisoning and malathion poisoning. Her physician was also treating her for environmental and chemical sensitivity, irritable bowel syndrome and leaky gut. She has worked in a health food store for years so is very knowledgeable about nutrition, supplements and cleansing. She presented with a swollen face, dry rough skin and oozing eruptions of face, lower arms, lower legs and low back/sacrum area. The legs were wrapped in cloth diapers to contain the oozing and flaking of skin. The feet were swollen and the toes bloody, the entire body feels puffy and swollen. The frequency of diarrhea was a contraindication for a colonic. Therefore only a colon reflorastation was administered. Her physician tested for specific probiotics and the custom formula was used. She was able to retain this for the one hour. Additionally, she took one specific probiotic orally twice daily.
The cycle of treatments was as followed:
Week one: reflorastation of custom probiotics
Week two: lymphatic drainage therapy
Week three: no treatment Repeat cycle

Seven days after the reflorastation, she returned for a lymphatic drainage treatment. Because of the severity of eruptions and oozing, manual applications were not possible. The far infrared frequencies were used on each area prior to any frequencies. The aloe vera gel was gently applied around the edges and on the patches of healthy skin before the oscillating light. Not only as this is a good carrier for the frequencies but it soothed the areas. The application of the cloths (for the frequency generator) was placed directly over the eruptions without causing any discomfort or distress.

The most important area to treat was the low back. She was unable to sit or recline without pain. By focusing on this area, as it healed, she was able to increase her length and quality of sleep. By treatment three, the low back was healed, although still tender, and a greater focus was put on the extremities.

During the treatments, it was fascinating to watch the healing process. The depth of the eruptions lessened, as did the size of the areas affected.

In keeping with Hering’s Law of Cures, there was a definite order to healing. First, it was going in reverse to how the condition had presented itself. It moved from the top down (except for the extra work on the low back/sacrum) and from within out.

This photograph was taken after 10 cycles. The depth of the eruptions was less, the oozing was minimal and the patient only covered the area with a thick cotton sock. This protocol was continued for 17 cycles, at which time the skin was clear and her energy was better. It was also interesting to note that the discoloration of the skin also returned to normal. The patient is now 85 years old and doing well. She continues to avoid chemicals, fragrances and other irritants, as well as eating an organic diet and taking her probiotics. There have been only slight outbreaks on the skin, which she considers a warning sign to be more mindful of her program. This has been my most severe case. Many others have been helped as well. Fortunately, one can also choose to cleanse without having a problem thereby promoting more vitality. However, when one asks if I think Lymphatic Drainage Therapy can help, my response is “yes”.

Lymphatic stasis, edema and congestion can be relieved and the immune system can be stimulated with lymphatic drainage therapy; thereby setting up an opportunity for the body to regain greater immune function. One must remember that each person is their own healer, however our knowledge and application of this knowledge can support how well and how quickly their body responds.

About the Author

Victoria Bowmann has been a health care professional since 1978. She is proficient in many modalities, each designed to detoxify the body and restore a greater degree of vitality to the individual. She earned her Ph.D. in Homeopathy and Natural Medicine from Westbrook University in 1999, her doctorate in Homeopathic Medicine from the British Institute of Homeopathy in 1995. Please visit her web site at Her private practice is in Phoenix, Arizona.

Please visit Victoria Bowmann’s website at for information on Colon Reflorastation “At Home Kits” for patients. (Wholesale pricing available for physicians)
Explore! Volume 19, Number 1, 2010