Welcome to the part of our site where you will hopefully find some useful, relevant and interesting general health and wellness information to support the treatments you receive from us.
** At Touchstone we are wholistic practioners NOT medical doctors. Any information on this page is for educational purposes only
This is a gentle, non-invasive manual technique that has a powerful effect on the body. Research in Australia, Europe and North America has proven its efficiency as a stand-alone treatment and in combination with other therapies.
This technique has grown to be the most well known manual technique to assist lymph flow and aid in drainage of tissues. The skin is stretched and torqued in a specific manner, based on scientific, physiological principles that have proven to encourage lymph flow. If performed correctly with the correct pressure, direction and speed, this can greatly enhance recovery and facilitate drainage. It also has profound effects on all systems in the body.
MLD is specifically focused on the lymph vessels to help the flow of lymphatic fluid. Therapy is applied to your unaffected areas first, making it possible for the fluid to move out of the affected area, or “decongest” the region. MLD helps open the remaining functioning lymph collectors and move protein and fluid into them, as well as to help speed up lymph fluid flow through the lymphatics..
Pre -Modern Times
In the course of medical history, the lymphatic system went largely unrecognized. This most likely can be attributed to the transparent nature of lymph, and the difficultly in seeing lymph vessels during dissection.
The Greeks witnessed some lymph vessels: primarily the ones in the intestines (chyliferous vessels), because they carry more visible, milk-like lymph, and probably the thoracic duct- the largest lymphatic vessel. Lymph possibly comes from the Latin word “Limpa” meaning limpid, clear.
Manual Lymph drainage (MLD), is a technique developed by the Vodders (Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife, Estrid) in 1936 in Paris for treatment of swollen lymph nodes.
Emil Vodder was born in Copenhagen on February 20, 1896. At the University of Copenhagen he took biology, mineralogy and botany which is where he began studying medicine, cytology and microscopy. Early during his studies he also became interested in physical medicine. Emil had to interrupt his medical studies near the end of the 8th semester because he contracted malaria. After recuperation he was no longer admitted to finishing his medical studies.
In 1933, Vodder and his wife moved to Paris where they continued their biological studies. They especially dedicated their time to the anatomy and physiology of the lymph vessel system. In a large anatomical atlas Vodder found a collection of wonderful copper engravings by the anatomist SAPPEY (Description et iconographie des vaisseaux lymphatique concideres chez l’homme et de les vertebres, Paris 1885). These engravings were the fundamental basis for a systematic and clear working method, which Emil Vodder elaborated by intuition and many practical treatments. A completely new manual technique was necessary which was performed with pumping, circling movements and a very light pressure in order to avoid hyperemia under all circumstances.
The lymphatic system parallels the circulatory system, which provides one way for the blood to leave the heart, the arterial system, and two ways for it to return-to-the venous and lymphatic pathways.
The lymphatic system is a second pathway back to the heart, parallel to the venous system.
Most of us think of the body in terms of a network of systems- the circulatory, digestive, reproductive, nervous, etc. The lymph-vascular system is another of the body’s systems of vessels that carry fluid around the body. Lymph vessels are concerned with removing excess fluid, foreign particles and other materials from the bodies tissues and cells. This system is therefore involved in dealing with waste and potentially harmful particles. In this, it works closely with the blood and immune system, particularly with the white blood cells known as lymphocytes that are so essential to the bodies defence against disease.
While the heart is the centre of the circulatory system and the brain is the centre of the nervous system, the immune system lacks a headquarter. One of the most vital and noticeable components is the skin, including the mucous membranes which alert the body’s white blood cells (lymphocytes and macrocytes). Other segments of the immune system reside in various locals including the tonsils, adenoids, thymus, spleen, certain areas of the small intestine, bone marrow, and the lymphatic network.
Proportion of Water in Humans
The total amount of water in a human is about 60% of total body weight (TBW) or approximately 40 litres for the average adult weighing 70Kg or approximately 150lbs. However, there are a number of individual differences:
-a baby has approximately 72-85% TBW
-an elderly person approximately 50% TBW
-an average size man approximately 51% TBW
-a woman approximately 45% TBW
In the case of obesity the water component may be 50%TBW as fatty masses contain little water. The 60% TBW is divided into 2 parts:
1) 40% TBW (approximately 30L) made up of water present inside the cells.
2) 20% TBW (15L) composed of water outside the cells- in blood, lymph and interstitial fluids.
THIS FLUID IS NEEDED IN OUR BODIES FOR THEM TO FUNCTION PROPERLY. THE PROBLEM IS NOT FLUID IN OUR BODIES BUT IF THAT FLUID STOPS MOVING PROPERLY!!
How Fluid Moves in Our Bodies
Fluid moves from blood capillaries into body tissues and from tissues into lymphatic capillaries to form lymph. The outer cells of the lymph capillaries overlap and therefore allow fluid to flow into the capillaries but prevents it from moving back into the tissues so that one way flow of lymph is ensured.
Lymph nodes are small round or bean shaped organs, situated along the course of the lymphatic vessels. Each node is enclosed in a fibrous capsule. Strands of connective tissue called trabeculae extend inward from the capsule and divide the node into several compartments, which are further subdivided by a network of reticular fibres that extend between the trabeculae.
Lymph nodes are scattered throughout the body and are found at the convergence of major blood vessels, and an adult will have approximately 800 nodes commonly sited in the neck, axilla, thorax, abdomen, and groin.
The nodes consist of an outer cortical region and an inner medullary region. Within the cortex of each node are separate masses of lymphoid tissue called Germinal Centers, which serve as a source of lymphocytes. The cells of the medulla are arranged in the form of strands called “Medullary Cords”.
Lymph enters the node through several vessels and filters slowly, approximately 3L every 24 hour, through channels in the node called sinuses, and leaves by way of other lymph vessels. The flow is slow because, unlike the cardiovascular (blood) system, the lymphatic system does not have a pump like the heart to keep it moving. Rather, lymph flow depends on more subtle forces, such as contractions of skeletal muscles, which apply pressure on the lymph vessels and compress them. This action forces lymph along the vessels. In a similar manner, the pulsing of nearby arteries can compress lymph vessels and move the lymph within them. The valves within lymph vessels contribute to the effectiveness of these activities by permitting lymph to flow only towards the blood stream. Because the lymph passes through the node slowly, phagocytic cells (type of white blood cell) remove foreign substances thereby preventing entrance into the blood system. As lymph percolates slowly through the sinuses within a node, foreign particles (bacteria) are trapped in the fibres, and destroyed by macrophages (type of white blood cell). Between the sinuses are masses of lymphoid tissue containing lymphocytes and plasma cells that produce antibodies that destroy antigens. Unfortunately, not all disease producing cells (such as cancer) are destroyed within the node.
Once the node neutralizes the toxins, these are sent to organs of elimination to be expelled; example- spleen, liver, kidney and bowel.
Click the link below if you would like more detail on these systems.
Manual lymphatic drainage will help to get the lymphatic vessels in the area of the surgery moving and reduce the chances of a blockage occurring post surgery. Helps to reduce the post surgery pain due to fluid retention. It also helps to accelerate our body's natural healing process by making sure that nutrients, proteins and other needed agents are able to get to the area of an injury. It can also help to reduce the swelling and the degree of bruising you may have.
It is a fairly common occurrence for pregnant women to retain fluid particularly in their feet and ankles but also in other area. This treatment will help to keep the fluid moving thorough the lymph system and reduce discomfort and swelling.
Migraine headaches can be caused by a build up of fluid in the sinus cavities of the skull as well as well as circulatory issues within the head and neck and MLD will help to regulate both fluid levels and has a secondary affect on the circulatory system.
One of the most common issues of environmental allergies is congestion and fluid build up in the sinuses and inflammation around eyes, nose and throat. A manual lymphatic treatment will help drain these areas and promote better fluid flow.
Manual lymphatic drainage will help reduce the symptoms of both of these auto-immune disorders but improve circulation of the body's lymph (fluid) and in a secondary fashion the blood thus on the cellular level improving the absorptions of nutrients and allowing the body to get more of the minerals, vitamins and other nutrients that it needs to function better.
The skin is one of the very last methods that the body uses to eliminate wastes or toxins and if it cannot do so by other means it will try to eliminate them through our skin often causing dermatological conditions. MLD treatments have a positive effect on the immune system and the increased lymph flow and the removal of blockages in the lymphatic system allows tothe body to eliminate toxins and imputirties in other ways.
It is our belief that if you feel well you will live well.
***Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy** deals with the lymph-vascular system. Lymph vessels are concerned with conveying excess fluids and edema, foreign particles and other material from the body's tissues and cells. This system works closely with white blood cells (known as lymphocytes) that are so essential to the body's defense against disease.
Wholistic Approach to Therapy Frequently our treatments are a hybrid/combination of more than one modality based on the individual and their current needs. As well we are willing to look at the sources of discomfort and pain beyond simply the focus of the treatment that you are currently getting. For example, is your pain/discomfort coming from muscle or bone? Is it based in diet or stress?
Short Term treatment goals focus on dealing with the immediate issue and correcting it
Maintenance treatment goals center around helping our clients be proactive in regards to the factors that may contribute to these issues
If you currently using an complementary or alternative therapy that we do not offer and are finding it beneficial and you/or your therapists are willing to share their contact information please feel free to leave it with us at your next visit.
For more details on our treatments click the button below.
We are open for business by appointment only and are accepting new clients. Touchstone has become very busy and getting in for an appointment can often mean delays of 2 weeks or more. Consider getting yourself on a recurring booking schedule
Mark the date and come help us celebrate International Self Care Day at 625B Turnberry St in Brussels.
Also come to say Happy Retirement to Sandra Touchstone's Matriarch and Founder.