Lymphatic Drainage for Breast Health
May 15, 2015 11:22AM ● Published by Sharon Vogel
BY LAINEY DOREMUS
Sharon Vogel-As featured in the May 2015 issue of Natural Awakenings - Chicago Western Suburbs Edition, NAChicagoWest.com
Women and men can protect their breasts by starting with professional guidance and the following an at-home technique of manual lymphatic drainage. “The lymphatic system is your immune system. It is an open sewer-type system where waste is picked up and antibodies are produced,” says Sharon Vogel, owner of Blissful Health Center. She is a licensed massage therapist, certified lymphedema therapist and a certified craniofacial practitioner, with offices in Downers Grove, Wheaton and Oswego.
This complex network of capillaries, vessels, nodes, ducts and organs all vacuum up the toxins, proteins and a clear fluid called lymph (water) up through the lymphatic system, which then drains into the left supraclavicular vein under the collarbone, which in turn filters the toxins so they can be eliminated during urination. “One millimeter underneath our skin is a lake of water, a lymph plexus. That water is meant to flow up through the lymphatic system directionally toward the heart, acting like the body’s sewer system to clear out debris and toxins,” says Vogel.
When flow is blocked, debris remains in the tissue and vessels, turns rancid and can become toxic, perhaps even cancerous. Professional lymphatic drainage, followed by at-home maintenance of manual lymphatic drainage, can aid in maintaining overall health.
Factors that can affect lymphatic flow include underwire bras (which Vogel equates to a dam blocking water), deodorants containing aluminum (which act like a cork, preventing lymph drainage) and breast augmentation, reduction, lumpectomy or mastectomy surgeries.
"Breast health can affect the immediate surrounding area, plus our systemic health, such as breathing, the heart and blood flow. Lymph has to travel up and through the thoracic duct between the breasts to drain because all the water drains through your left clavicle,” says Vogel. Lymphatic drainage initiates the water flow, like siphoning to create a current to flush out the toxins.
Manual lymphatic drainage involves application of specific movements of direct and perpendicular-and-direct touch to the skin (around the rib area and clavicle and underarm areas) with light pressure, stimulating the smooth muscles inside the lymphatic vessels. “If the smooth muscles are strong,” says Vogel, “they will spontaneously drain on their own and create a siphon of flow. Once the flow starts, the body removes the old and brings in the new.”
Vogel notes the American Cancer Society, the National Cancer Institute and the Academy of Lymphatic Studies all endorse lymphatic drainage as an effective, non-invasive treatment that produces long-term results with no side effects.
Vogel stresses awareness as the first step in understanding the benefits and need for lymphatic drainage, followed by a professional consultation and lymphatic drainage from a licensed, certified lymphedema therapist, complemented by self-maintenance at home.
Vogel offers clinical services and lectures on lymphatic health at 1144 Douglas Road, Oswego, 615 W. Front St., Wheaton, and 5002a Main Street, Downers Grove, IL.
This article appears in the May 2015 issue of Natural Awakenings Chicago Western Suburbs.