When it comes to detox strategies and alternative therapies, I am not the bravest individual.
There are many things I'd like to try, certain supplements, new essential oils, Himalayan salt lamp, infrared sauna, IV Light Therapy, the list goes on and on.
One of my nagging symptoms is the swelling of my lymph nodes and swelling in my right leg. No matter how many antibiotics I take, it's still there. The doctors think it is caused by the infection in my spine. So, for a long time I've wanted to try lymph drainage massage therapy. I am always game for a massage and I desperately need to drain my lymph, so it was a win win.
Lymph drainage massage is the use of light, repetitive massage to improve the flow of lymph in the body. It's commonly used in patients with cancer who've had lymph nodes removed, but can also be used for others with lymphedema, not as a cure, but as a treatment. The goal is increase flow within a stagnant lymphatic system to promote better immune function.
I was able to find a practitioner not far from my house. I went in having no idea of what to expect. I wasn't scared per se, my doctor told me it was completely safe, but when you stir up a bunch of stuff in a Lyme patient's body, you never know what you're going to get.
The massage table in the room was like any other massage table, but the massage therapist had me facing up. It's also done with clothing on, which added another level of comfort.
It was not like a massage in that the therapist did not rub my back or sore muscles. She used repetitive motion over small spots where lymph nodes are typically located, mostly in the head, neck, and clavicle area. Then, she used the same motion over larger parts to move the lymph toward my heart, so it could be removed from my body. Think of it as squeezing toothpaste out of a bottle, but the bottle just happens to be my leg.
After the massage, the therapist warned me I might be going to the bathroom more frequently as the fluid leaves the body. A day and a half later I noticed this happening.
Immediately following, I felt a little foggy headed, like something had been dislodged and was working it's way out. My leg also felt less tight than it usually does. Two days later I noticed one of the lymph nodes behind my ear was the tiniest bit smaller.
The massage therapist said my lymph was moving easily. She attributed it to the dry brushing I'd been doing, which was good to hear, because I haven't really felt any immediate effects. I've been dry brushing regularly for about a month. I use this brush. I bought it on Amazon for $12:
Refer to the Mind Body Green article, A Step-By-Step Guide For Dry Skin Brushing, for more information about dry brushing.
The massage therapist also told me my lymph nodes were more swollen on my right side and that in fact, the entire right side of my body was swollen, not just my leg. The crazy things that can happen with Lyme and coinfections.
Lymph drainage massage is a complementary therapy recommended by both integrative and conventional medicine. The only downside is the cost, which is about the same as a regular massage. My massage therapist told me I should go every 2-3 weeks to start and then we can keep increasing the time in between visits. When I weighed the cost and the benefits, I scheduled my next appointment right away. I wish I'd tried it sooner.
What complementary therapies have you tried that work?
"Fall in love with taking care of yourself. Mind. Body. Spirit." - Unknown
I'm Kerry and I am a licensed therapist, writer & speaker. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of suffering.