Frequently Asked Questions
If you are new to massage therapy, we understand that you might have some questions, and we are confident that we have the answers to your inquiries. Below are the answers to the questions that are most commonly asked about massage therapy treatment. Should you have additional questions please feel free to contact me.
Lipedema is a chronic and inherited malformation of fatty tissues. The fat cells in the lower part of the body grow in an abnormal way and are excessively distributed over the lower portion of the body, between the pelvic crest and the ankle.
Hands and feet remain of normal size.
It is bilateral and always symmetrical, and mostly affects women.
The person with lipedema is vulnerable to repeated trauma to the vessels within the fatty tissue. Often, these persons bruise easily and experience microtrauma to the lymphatics with minor activity. This makes these persons more vulnerable to developing episodes of swelling. When the episodes of swelling become repeated over time or the swelling persists over a long period of time, swelling will become more static in the tissue. When the build-up of swelling becomes more substantial than what the lymphatic system can manage, a back-up of protein-rich fluid occurs in the tissue. Due to the accumulation of this lymphatic fluid within the fatty tissue, lymphedema may result. This mixed form of swelling includes fluid retention from lymphatic disruption and from persistent inflammation is called lipo-lymphedema.
Decongestive therapy will alleviate only the lymphatic overload in the tissue and will NOT have an impact on fatty tissue. Therefore, treatment outcomes will not be as substantial when lipedema and lymphedema co-exist.
In mammals including humans, the lymphatic vessels (or lymphatics) are a network of thin tubes that branch like blood vessels, into tissues throughout the body. Lymphatic vessels carry lymph, a colorless, watery fluid originating from interstitial fluid.
The lymphatic system transports infection-fighting cells called lymphocytes, is involved in the removal of foreign matter and cell debris by phagocytes and is part of the body’s immune system. It also transports fats from the small intestine to the blood.
The portion of blood plasma that escapes is called interstitial or extracellular fluid, and it contains oxygen, glucose, amino acids, and other nutrients needed by tissue cells.
Although capillaries lose only about 1% of the volume of the fluid that passes through them, so much blood circulates that the cumulative fluid loss in the average human body is about 3 liters per day. The lymphatic system collects this fluid by diffusion into lymph capillaries and returns it to the circulatory system.
Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system is not closed and has no central pump, the lymph moves slowly and under low pressure. Like veins, lymph vessels have one-way valves and depend mainly on the movement of skeletal muscles to squeeze fluid through them. Rythmic contractions of the vessel walls (manual lymph drainage) also help draw fluid into the lymphatic capillaries. This fluid is then transported to progressively larger lymphatic vessels culminating in the right lymphatic duct (for lymph from the right upper body) and the thoracic duct (for the rest of the body). These ducts drain into the circulatory system at the right and left subclavian veins.
Lymph vessels are present in the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. Whilst most other nutrients absorbed by the small intestine are passed on to the portal venous system to drain, via the portal vein, into the liver for processing, fats are passed on to the lymphatic system, to be transported to the blood circulation via the thoracic duct.