In this interview with professional lymphatic drainage practitioners (Renata), we answer the questions frequently asked by our patients.
Could you explain to us the interest, the principle of lymphatic drainage (whatever the technique), the benefits on the tissues, the areas concerned (body, face)?
Lymph is the interstitial liquid that circulates in our body and allows exchanges between the blood and the cells. It is transported by the lymphatic vessels and passes through the lymph nodes which filter and clean it. All this forms the lymphatic system, a network that is parallel to and inseparable from the blood system. The blood system is regulated by the contraction of the heart (between 60 and 80 beats/min) whereas the lymphatic system is dependent on muscle contractions. Its flow will therefore be much slower. A defect in this circulation leads to poor filtration of the lymph and an accumulation of waste in the lymphatic system. Various pathologies cause lymphatic disorders: oedemas of neurological origin, lymphoedemas by lymphatic lesion of traumatic or surgical origin, lymphoedemas by obstruction of the lymphatic ways (infectious, parasitic diseases and cancers).
Lymphatic drainage accelerates and increases the flow of the lymphatic system. It consists of a massage of one or more zones depending on the technique and the pathology. This treatment is not painful and is generally soothing and pleasant to receive. By accelerating the flow of lymph, drainage allows the elimination of toxins, a better supply of nutrients to the tissues, the circulation of hormones, the evacuation of excess water and the improvement of immunity. Depending on the technique used, the areas treated will vary: lower limbs, abdomen, upper limbs, face…
Can you describe the value of lymphatic drainage in patients with lipedema before surgery? Then after surgery?
On the one hand, even if it is above all a disorder of the adipose tissues, lymphoedema is a secondary consequence of lipedema. Drainage will therefore be of great interest in the global treatment of this pathology.
On the other hand, we know that a surgical operation is synonymous with anaesthesia, drug treatment, reduction of physical activity and physical and psychological stress.
Stress will lead to a high level of cortisol in the blood, which in the case of chronicity leads to sodium retention and therefore to the appearance of oedema. The evacuation of this hormonal surplus helps to prevent water retention and promotes physical and psychological relief.
In the pre-operative context, drainage will allow the body to be better prepared for an influx of toxins and organic waste. After the drainage, the capillaries will be drained, the toxins eliminated, the body will be purified and therefore more efficient. The body will manage the operation better and recover more quickly if it leaves “clean”.
In general, we always advise a healthy diet, limiting gluten, sugar, salt, fats and pro-inflammatory dairy products.
Lymphatic drainage is started after the operation as soon as the surgeon agrees. This massage will allow the evacuation of fluids and toxins accumulated during the operation, to prevent the appearance of oedemas, ecchymosis and fibrosis, the great surgical enemies.
In all cases, drainage remains a very gentle relaxation treatment offering a feeling of well-being and lightness. The oxytocin released by the treatment helps to limit the apprehension and the after-effects of the operation.
On which drainage techniques are you trained (Renata, Leduc, Vodder…), could you detail them with their positive and negative points of each one?
We are trained in the Leduc technique and in the method of the Brazilian, Renata França.
Precursors of lymphatic drainage, the Vodder and Leduc methods are said to be “traditional”.
Whichever protocol is used, it treats problems of water retention, lymphoedema, lipoedema, post-operative oedema, and is recommended for pregnant women.
The Renata França method is also popular for combating cellulite, its effects on weight loss, slimming the body, restructuring the figure, and accelerating the metabolism.
Traditional methods target certain parts of the body to be drained (one or two legs, one or two arms) whereas the Renata França method systematically drains the whole body, front and back!
The pressure exerted with the traditional methods is very light, the rhythm very slow and it is done without oil, unlike the Renata França method which claims a medium pressure, a high rhythm and the use of a massage oil.
The huge point of difference is in the appearance of the results. The Renata França method is the only current technique that allows for immediate results, from the first session!
How often do you recommend lymphatic drainage? Could you give the duration of a drainage session? The different stages of it? How many sessions are needed postoperatively?
As previously mentioned, the two types of methods have a different action: targeted for the traditional method and global for the Renata França method. As a result, the duration of the treatment is different: 20 minutes per limb in the traditional method compared to an average of 1 hour and 15 minutes for the Brazilian method.
The Leduc method and the Renata França method are similar in many ways. We start from the proximal to the distal, we stimulate the different ganglions/lymph nodes and then drain the lymph towards them. In a Renata França session, we start with the lower limbs, then the abdomen, the upper limbs and finally the back of the body.
The number of post-operative sessions depends on the patient’s initial condition, metabolism, reaction to the operation and the complexity of the operation. We recommend a course of 5 sessions, starting with drainage and then alternating with remodelling. This other Renata França protocol comes after the drainage, when the excess water and waste products have been evacuated. It treats tissues, fat cells and fibrotic areas.
Although it is possible to drain the body every day, we recommend one treatment per week for three weeks to “shock” the lymphatic system and then reassess the situation and space out subsequent sessions as required.
Lymphatic disorders are often chronic and will require long-term maintenance.
Do you know of other techniques that can be associated with lymphatic drainage (such as celluM6 pressotherapy, ultrasound cryotherapy, etc.)?
The Renata França method does not include any techniques associated with its treatments because it stimulates the lymphatic system entirely. However, there are other parallel techniques to lymphatic drainage such as pressotherapy or cryotherapy (analgesic and vasoconstrictive). These techniques do not replace manual drainage but can be an ally in the fight against oedema.
CelluM6 sometimes has the disadvantage of a rebound effect. This can occur when the sessions are stopped and cause the reappearance of fat cells in the treated areas.
Is there any reimbursement for lymphatic drainage sessions?
Social security reimburses the cost of traditional manual lymph drainage only in three situations:
- True lymphedema” (after surgery and/or radiotherapy, congenital lymphedema),
- Venous insufficiency of the lower limbs, provided that there is a “joint repercussion and/or trophic disorders”,
- Lymphoedema of the upper limb after breast cancer treatment.
Apart from these conditions, whatever the method, lymphatic drainage is not covered by social security. The tariffs are therefore not covered by the nomenclature.
We would like to thank Mrs Baccarin and Mrs Gérard for answering our questions about lymphatic drainage and more particularly the Renata technique.
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