Tales from a Lymph Drainage Therapist

Mya Breman is a licensed clinical social worker and a licensed massage therapist. In her twenty years at the world-renowned Upledger Institute, Mya considers herself lucky to have been mentored by Dr. John Upledger, the developer of cranio-sacral therapy, and Dr. Bruno Chikly, the developer of  lymph drainage therapy (LDT).

She now carries on their work by teaching and lecturing all over the world while continuing to care for clients through personal sessions. You can contact her through her website, http://mya-breman.com.


It’s All About the Flow

Throughout ‘Love Your Lymph’ month, we discussed the inner workings of the lymphatic system with Dr. Bruno Chikly, but I thought it would be fun to explore the subject with a lymph drainage practitioner. Who better to consult than Mya Breman (LCSW, LMT, CST-D), Dr. Chikly’s direct protegee and a longtime LDT therapist.

Mya refers to herself as a BodyPsychologist(TM). “In 22 years, I’ve never found the line separating emotions and physical healing,” she tells me.

But before we get into any of that, I can’t pass up the opportunity to pick Mya’s brain about the lymphatic system. I start the interview by asking her to give a quick explanation of why it’s so important to have healthy lymphatic flow.

“Only two fluids flow into the heart,” Mya explains, “blood and lymph.” Cardiologists are starting to pay more attention to the lymphatic system because the quality of lymphatic flow affects the quality of the blood.

The prevalence of mastectomies also brings awareness to the lymphatic system, since they are often accompanied by the removal of nearby lymph nodes.

What’s the Difference between Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) and Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT)?

Lymphatic massage is more popular in Europe, where it is commonly prescribed before and after surgery to help the body avoid post-surgery infections and edema.  Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) was invented by Emil Vodder, a Dane living in France, and first presented during an exhibit in Paris in 1936.

Dr. Chikly’s version, Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT), is an update of Dr. Vodder’s technique. Instead of using circular movements to massage the lymphatic fluid along its route, LDT practitioners use their hands to assess the rhythm and flow of the lymph –a technique known as Manual Lymphatic Mapping. They are then able to stimulate the lymph vessels to enhance or reroute the lymphatic flow.

“If you have a blockage or a lymph node removed,” Mya explains, “you can follow the flow and redirect it to the next lymph node.” Lymphatic massage can increase the flow of lymph by 30 percent, she adds. “If you’re going to have surgery, you want to get a few lymphatic sessions before and after the procedure to set the skin up for a clean incision and to help remove toxins and fluids while the body is healing.”

Lymph Drainage Therapy Gets a Face Lift

Lymph Drainage Therapy isn’t just for those who are headed under the knife. Mya has clients who like to schedule an appointment prior to attending a black tie affair. She calls it “a mini face lift.” In just one session, she breaks down lines and dark circles using techniques that don’t require chemicals or surgery, leaving the skin brighter, softer, and clearer.

[Lymph Drainage Therapy Achieves Mini Face Lift Effects opens as a .pdf]

To be continued… Lymph Drainage Therapy in Action (Interview with Mya Breman Part II)

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Ben says:

Can they actually feel how the lymph is flowing with their hands? If so, how hard is that skill to learn?

Anything Fits A Naked Man says:

Ooooh, one "mini face lift" for me, please!!!


Ben– yes, that is what makes Dr. Chikly's lymph therapy different from previous versions. To my untrained hands, it seems impossible to feel the rhythm and direction of lymphatic flow. But I found this article interesting

Can Practitioners Be Trained to Manually Identify Lymphatic Flow?

The article explains a study where two groups of lymph drainage students are asked to map lymphatic flow. One group of students are on their first day of training, while the other group is on their fourth day. The group on their fourth day were able to accurately map lymphatic flow. The study concludes:

"The probability that the trained group can palpate the MLM not due to random chance in comparison to the control group is > 99.9999999%."

They offer short workshops where you can learn the technique. I would love to know how they do it.


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