Long COVID Treatment with
Lymphatic Massage

Lymphatic Therapy Shown to Improve Symtomps of Long Covid Albuquerque
Lymphatic Therapy Shown to Improve Symtomps of Long Covid Albuquerque, New Mexico

From the Medical Journal: Cardiovasc Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Jun; 11(2): e0261.
Read the full text here:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9010124/

Lymphatic Therapy Shown to Improve Symtomps of Long Covid Albuquerque - study by scientists

Excerpt from the study:

“An evidence-based hypothesis [] suggests that post-COVID-19 fatigue syndrome may result from damage to olfactory sensory neurons, causing an increased resistance to cerebrospinal fluid outflow and further leading to congestion of the glymphatic (glial lymphatic) system with subsequent toxic buildup within the central nervous system.”

Translation in plain English:  COVID damages the nerves that help us smell, and as a result causes a backup in the fluid surrounding the brain.  This backup does not allow the waste products produced by our neurons (nerve cells) to be drained/flushed out properly.  This leads to a toxic buildup in our brain (and spinal cord).  The study suggests that lymphatic therapy – which can help dump out these toxins – can help with the symptoms of long COVID – especially fatigue and brain fog.

What Is the Lymphatic System?

If you have landed on this page searching for ideas for long COVID treatment, you may not know very much about the lymphatic system or how lymphatic massage (properly referred to as Manual Lymphatic Drainage) work.  With that in mind, here’s a quick explanation of the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is a system of vein-like structures that are responsible for carrying fluid and waste away from our tissues, but that do not carry blood.  They return the fluid and waste to the venous angle which is located near where your collar bones meet your breastbone.  The fluid and waste are dumped into the bloodstream where the kidneys remove the fluid (you pee it out) and the liver breaks down the protein waste (cell poop).

This process is happening at all times in the human body, but various things can cause lymphatic congestion.  Viruses like COVID can be part of the problem.

The Glymphatic System

The glymphatic system is a part of the lymphatic system found only in the brain.  It is responsible for helping to drain out the Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF), especially at night when we sleep.  This purges our brains of waste that are constantly being produced.  You can think of this waste as “cell poop.”

The National Institutes of Health has a great article about the glymphatic system that discusses what it does and how the system doesn’t do as good of a job as we age.  This has tremendous implications for lymphatic therapy and Alzheimer’s disease as well as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).  You can read “The Glymphatic System: A Beginner’s Guide” here.  

What Is Lymphatic Massage Therapy?

Lymphatic Massage (Manual Lymphatic Drainage) is actually not a massage.  It is a specialized skin stretching technique that moves the fluid that causes swelling into the lymphatic vessels to drain it away from the tissues.  Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) feels like a very light massage, so that is likely why people use the word massage to describe it.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage has been the gold standard for treating lymphatic disease and dysfunction for decades.  The techniques used have been refined into what we know today as lymphatic therapy, and lymphedema therapists (Certified Lymphedema Therapists) are the folks that you want to see.  They have the highest level of training available in the lymphatic system.  Sadly, they are the only people who receive specific training in lymphatics.  

Many people can become Certified Lymphedema Therapists – Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, MD’s, and a handful of massage therapists.  Be aware that just because a massage therapist offers “lymphatic massage” that they probably don’t have more than a few hours training in how to do it – and some people have only had the training online.  Be sure that you go to a person who has a minimum of 40 hours of hands on training and is at least MLD certified, or better yet – a full Certified Lymphedema Therapist.  If the information about their credentials is not available on their website, ask them where they went to school and how many hours of training they have had.

 

How Does Lymphatic Massage Help Long COVID?

The lymphatic system is a very low pressure system that dumps into the blood stream.  The speed at which it pulls fluid from the tissues (including the brain) can be sped up significantly with lympahtic therapy.  This, in turn, creates a much stronger vacuum pull that can have a profound effect on excess cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.  

Since the CSF empties into the lymphatic system, when we create more movement and a stronger pull, there is a much stronger evacuation of the fluid around the brain than under normal circumstances.  Since the waste products that are in the brain are carried along with the fluid we are moving, we get a 2 for 1 scenario – fluid and waste removal.

The protein wastes that build up in the brain can cloud thinking and make us feel “fuzzy.”  The effect of lymphatic therapy can be felt as early as the end of the session.

 

Ties to Alzheimers and Parkinsons

A buildup of proteins and plaques in the brain due to slow lymphatic drainage has been tied to both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.  You  can read an article here by the National Institutes of Health on the lympahtic system and its ties to Alzheimers as well as the positive impact that lymphatic therapy can have.  It is this same mechanism that works with long COVID.

Make Your Appointment Today for Long COVID Therapy

The treatments are gentle and relaxing – and you have a lot to gain with just a 1 hour session.  Most long COVID sufferers say that they feel “lighter” and like something has changed at the end of their session.

Here is the link to book your appointment online.  Find the time that works best for you and schedule it – even if it is 3:00 in the morning.

This tutorial will walk you through the process of setting up your first appointment, should you have any difficulty.  It has pictures and arrows, and is self-explanatory.

Thanks for reading this article, and I look forward to helping you!