Welcome to the third episode of the Dr. Danya series.
This was an interesting episode for me because it opened up the world of the lymphatic system – an oft overlooked and underappreciated organ system. Most of us are familiar with arteries, veins, and capillaries but we don’t hear or talk much about lymphatic vessels. And yet, the lymphatic vessels run throughout our entire body and make up a large part of our immune system.
Dr. Danya Reich
In medical school, we study the lymph system but not with great emphasis. There’s no specialty that fully encompasses the lymph system – one might go to a vascular surgeon if there is a problem with swelling from lymphedema, or to a hematologist/oncologist to deal with a lymphoma. Yet there is not one specialty that fully claims the lymph system as their own.
Most of us know our “glands” (aka lymph nodes) swell when we get sick and yet most people are unaware their body has lymph nodes throughout it – not just in our necks.
And so, with this episode, Rebecca Mailloux opened up the world of the lymph system, reminds us how important it is to keep it healthy which then keeps us healthy, and explains the hands-on technique called Manual Lymph Drainage.
Rebecca practices Manual Lymph Drainage outside of the traditional lymphedema box. Lymphedema is a very specific malfunction of the lymph system which causes large swollen limbs and Manual Lymph Drainage was initially developed to treat that condition. However, Rebecca has seen – through her decades of experience – how impactful this technique of Manual Lymph Drainage can be in managing a myriad of medical conditions. For Silvers, this is especially applicable pre- and post-surgery or with any condition that causes swelling, scarring, or ongoing pain.
Rebecca teaches us the value of a healthy flowing lymph system, how to get it back on track if it’s not functioning well, and some common everyday things we can do to protect our lymph system so it can keep doing its job of protecting us.
For more information about Rebecca Mailloux and her practice:
If you’re interested in finding a Manual Lymph Drainage practitioner who works similarly to Rebecca – conventionally trained yet has widened the applications of this technique far beyond lymphedema – you can start by looking for someone through the Lymphedema Specialist Network. Once you’ve identified a practitioner in your area, talk to them about the conditions they are open to treating and their experience treating outside of traditional lymphedema management.
We would like to thank Hands Up Occupational Therapy in New York City for allowing us to film in their office and for their excellent care of our beloved HipSilver Founder and CEO Gail Bruce's hand! Please check out this video we produced for Hands Up.