About the Lymphatic System
The Lymphatic Care Clinic was established in 2016 to provide full-spectrum care for people with Lymphedema and/or Lipedema. I’m passionate about providing quality care to this underserved population.
I chose the turtle as my logo/mascot because turtles and people with Lymphedema disorders have a lot in common. We’re both slow-moving creatures. We thrive in water. Our legs and arms can be a bit misshapen. And we need a hard shell, especially when dealing with a diagnosis that is frequently misunderstood or dismissed.
The Lymphatic System and the Vascular System operate like a hand and glove. They are located close to one another and what affects one can sometimes also affect the other. The Lymphatic System is a lazy system. Unlike the vascular system, which has the heart to pump blood through the body, the Lymphatic System is open-ended and requires help to perform its various functions. The Lymphatic System is designed to collect excess fluid, proteins, and toxins from your cells and tissues. Lymphatic fluid, much like the turtle in the logo, meanders quite slowly through the body. The rate of movement can be increased and aided by Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD).
Lymphedema is swelling that occurs when something affects your lymphatic system. The swelling typically affects your arms and legs, but it can affect other areas of your body, too. Lymphedema also increases your risk of developing an infection where you have the condition. Lymphedema can develop after certain surgeries or because of medical or genetic conditions. You may develop lymphedema spontaneously, meaning it happens for no known reason. When swelling occurs after surgery or trauma, it’s considered Secondary Lymphedema. When it occurs at birth or for unknown reasons, it’s considered Primary Lymphedema. Lymphedema affects more people than Cystic Fibrosis, ALS, Muscular Dystrophy, and Parkinson’s Disease, combined.
Lymphedema symptoms may be mild, causing minor swelling and discomfort. Sometimes, however, lymphedema may cause significant swelling that can be painful and cause skin issues such as infections and wounds. Lymphedema, and its severity, is graded in Stages from 0-3. Healthcare providers can’t cure lymphedema, but they do have treatments to reduce lymphedema swelling and discomfort. There are also many things you can do to limit the impact lymphedema may have on your quality of life. See the Resources page for further information.
Lipedema, or painful fat syndrome, is an inherited chronic disease that affects over 17 million Americans, almost all of them women. Lipedema, like Lymphedema, is a chronic progressive condition that can become painful, depressing, disfiguring, and disabling. Persistent enlargement of the hips, buttocks and legs is the primary characteristic of Lipedema, but arms can be affected as well. Fat in these areas is resistant to standard weight loss efforts. New, advanced surgical treatments have shown promise in the treatment of Lipedema, and other treatments and self-care ideas can be found on the Resources page.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD)
Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD) is a gentle pumping massage that moves the lymph fluid through its natural drainage channels that may have been blocked or congested due to toxins, scar tissue or a reduced number of lymph nodes post-surgery. MLD speeds up the lymphatic system by 10 times its normal rate which allows for rapid reduction in swelling and edema.
MLD is effective in treating: Stages 0-3 Lymphedema as well as certain autoimmune disorders such as Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus, and more.
Please note that I do not currently provide MLD for cosmetic surgery clients.