Modern Lymph Drainage™

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True Lymph Drainage education and specialized practitioners are rare to find in this world because L.D. is not popular and is a difficult subject.  The usual scientific language and the secrecy with which L.D. is taught in European schools makes it even more mysterious.  If the name has been abusively used in Asian countries like Japan, it was mostly for trendy reasons, but the trend has now dissipate.  It is important to say that many countries don’t have formal education for massages and in fact, little respect for touch-therapy.  The word “massage” by itself often provokes more smiles than respect.   This is why Daniel Mardon decided to make it more accessible and to share L.D. to the world.   Daniel Mardon created his own method called Aromapressure® to develop an easier approach with simple words and imagery.  Originally, this high-tech treatment was not intended for full-body sessions, but Aromapressure® adapted the techniques to be safely integrated into a full-body massage.  Being a Physical Therapist, Daniel Mardon improved traditional L.D. by including passive movements and stretching from French Kinesitherapie to free the joints where most lymph nodes are hidding.

The lymphatic system has been the least explored system in medical schools. In fact, it is not classified as a system, but is included in both the circulatory and immune systems.
The Lymph system is part of the immune system and plays a major role in the body’s defense against infection and illnesses. It purifies the body by picking up and recycling stagnant tissue-water before transporting its load of filtered lymph into the heart. Lymph is the name given to fluids and components as soon as they enter a lymph vessel and until they leave the system where they mix with blood in the form called “plasma”. Lymph nodes are the numerous filters trapping germs, cancer cells, debris, etc… before lymph is safe enough to join blood.  At the intestinal level, the lymphatic system also plays a big part in the absorption of fats.

Lymph Drainage has been used in Europe for many years to successfully treat edema (swollen tissues) and many other ailments such as: headaches, sinus problems, insomnia, burns, cellulite, pain, etc… In fact, this technique seems to work for every condition and is now said to be a “universal tool”. We are grateful to our master Emil Vodder who developed the techniques in France, in the 1930’s.
Lymph Drainage is a very precise massage technique applied principally to the skin and subcutaneous tissue. The lymph vessels are tiny and fragile; therefore, the techniques must be applied gently.
The first objective is to help move the lymph (fluid already entered in the lymph vessels) toward the evacuation (the lymph nodes). If a blockage exists at this level, the initial lymph vessels won’t be able to collect additional fluids from the tissues, exactly like your sink won’t drain if the evacuation pipe is clogged-up. Drainage means to take fluids away and it works in a similar way as a vaccum cleaner.  By opposition, blood is conveniently pushed inside a closed-loop vessel-system by a pump (the heart).

The second objective is to rid tissues of excess polluted water. This water is our “inner ocean”, in which our cells are afloat and can be compared to islands.  The inhabitants of our islands need fresh food, water and oxygen. The blood supplies them, but then, the Islands need to dispose of their garbage! The lymph system picks up the garbage. This part is the most delicate, as we cannot just squeeze the skin like a soaked sponge! Special circular techniques are needed to twist the skin to create a specific traction on lymph-vessel’s flaps.  This torsion/traction results in the opening of lymph vessels. Fluids, then, will be sucked-in.
The third objective is to stimulate the deep collector vessels. These vessels have smooth circular muscles that create a pulse. They are equipped with very sensitive stretch receptors. We use lengthwise and diagonal stretches to increase the force and rate of contractions.

Aromapressure theory about body-work.
Aromapressure’s philosophy is based on the ancient teachings from Hippocrates; the father of Western medicine and the modern knowledge of medicine.
Some of Hippocrates famous quotes:
-“Anyone wishing to study medicine must master the art of massage!
-“The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and a massage every day!”
-“Each medical assessment should begin with caring touch!
Aromapressure School teaches that the art of Physiotherapy is to understand the interdependence between the nervous, circulatory, muscular and skeletal systems.

-The peripheral nervous system is in charge of the basic “spark” that connects the intention to the movement or the action, in the same way as the “on” button opens your computer.  It also provides feedback that often results in pain sensation for patients.

-The circulatory system is what maintains the biological functions of all body systems.  It is the source of health and life.  It can be compared to your Internet provider and your softwares, including of course, the most sophisticated anti-virus programs.

-The muscular and skeletal systems are thus, the hardware that support directly physical stress.  Any abnormal position can either create a “subluxation” (displacement of the articular surfaces of a joint) or a muscle strain.

A simple muscular problem like a strain or muscle fatigue can be easily treated with a therapeutic massage.  In case of chronic problems, a series of massages is necessary and if successful, it will allow to rule out any underlying problem.  If the problem persists, it is important to research for a joint problem (subluxation) or consult with an internal doctor for a possible organ dysfunction.

A subluxation is the modern term used by doctors and physiotherapists to describe minor joint problems which can be caused by an injury or a non-traumatic situation.  The every day’s life can trigger any type of subluxation.  Both sport and sedentary people are at risk.   The first, by acting often too strongly and the second by lacking muscle tone.
When such a situation presents, an immediate alteration of the biomechanical and physiological functions occurs which leads to tissue changes. Tissue changes generally present as follows:
1.Hyperemia; which is an excess of blood in a specific area.
2.Congestion; the joint dysfunction causes a muscle spasm with blockage of micro-circulation.  Toxins accumulate with nerve irritation.
3.Edema; pressure increases blood filtration to the tissues with blockage of the venous and lymphatic return, thus creating a vicious circle and a painful build-up of fluids.
4.Fibrosis; happens eventually and is the replacement of normal tissues by scar tissue.
5.Local ischemia; a very specific type of muscle pain due to a lack of blood flow in the muscle.  A simple muscle spasm can cause it and makes the muscle very painful to touch.
6.Atrophy; the muscle shrinks and may partially or completely disappear as a result of inactivity.
7.Tissue rigidity; adhesions form not only in joint capsules, but also in ligaments, tendons and within muscles.

With this in mind, it is evident that a therapeutic massage; even short, should always open a treatment session. The massage of choice is the one that focuses on draining excess fluids along with the inflammatory agents while boosting the circulation.  Aromapressure’s Modern Lymph Drainage has the most advanced techniques to perform this precise task.  The “high-tech” manipulations accomplish in turn a decongestion of the tissues, relaxation of muscles (by reflex-response trigger), activation of the vacuum effect from lymph vessels for faster drainage, alleviation of pain, etc.

Anti-inflammatory/pain medication cannot drain toxic edema away neither can melt-away adhesions and calcifications.  However, in case of acute pain and no access to a qualified therapist, it is understandable that patients have no other choice than taking medicines.
Although many countries in Europe, Canada, West and North Africa as well as South-America provide sufficient training for their Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapists, certain countries like Japan or the U.S. don’t have formal massage training and theory about the circulatory system in their P.T./O.T. curriculum.   We already warned that it is not advisable to propose a patient to do rehab-exercises without massaging first.  Moreover, the same countries seem to ignore hydro-kinesitherapy which is a great way to perform exercises in water when exercises are too painful  in “dry” rehab.
In our example of subluxation, Aromapressure recommends that the therapeutic protocol should be; 1- Massage, 2-Correction/Adjustment (with passive mobilization, stretching, manipulation or all the above!) and 3-Rehab/Reeducation-exercises.

Massage facilitates healing, correction and exercises.
Correction allows healing, but cannot prevent recurrence of the problem!
Rehab-exercises work on fixing the cause or at least avoiding recurrence.

How can Aromapressure® reshape the body and help with Cellulite?
From the first treatment, Lymph Drainage will accomplish a slimming action, immediately measurable with a measurement tape. The reason is that we clear the tissues from excess water. It would be dishonest to claim that we get rid of fats after one treatment. No treatment or magic pill can reduce fat within minutes or even hours! The so-called slimming wraps, using compression, are “slimming” because the compression promotes and accelerates a phenomenon called hysteresis; the shrinking of elastic fibers. The “magic” will last; depending on the health and age of the elastic fibers, from several hours to one day. However, after Lymph Drainage (when the tissues are emptied), a professional multilayered compression bandaging would be a must to activate the shrinking of skin fibers; but is only performed in case of serious edema.
Fat can only be reduced if it burns. Fat burning is related to metabolism.
Metabolism is the chemical activity that changes digested food (and stored fat) into energy.
That chemical activity implies a transport system depending on distances. This is where Lymph Drainage is wonderful! Drainage of fluids reduces the distances between cells and capillaries. Therefore, Lymph Drainage optimizes metabolism by accelerating cellular exchanges.


Aromapressure school has a motto: “T=D2”. A law of physics, applying to Diffusion, teaching us that Time [of diffusion]equals Distance squared. It is an exponential calculation, showing that time greatly depends on distance. Let’s take the example of our subject: Diffusion of [digested] food and oxygen. Imagine that it takes 1 second to travel 1 millimeter. It would therefore take 4 seconds to travel 2 mm, 9 sec for 3 mm, 16 sec for 4 mm and so forth…
In this equation, it shows us that Distance is dictating Time [of diffusion]. The same law applies to waste products going back into circulation. These calculations, although scientifically based, do not take into account that diffusion depends also on other factors, like the temperature and consistency of the milieu (ground substance).Connective tissue is a gelatinous mass and Thixotrophy is the mechanical transformation from a gel state to a more liquid-form when shaken. Our massage techniques have a “thixotrophic” effect, influencing directly the consistency of the milieu. The more liquid is the mass, the better nutrients and waste products will be traveling through the connective tissue. Think of warm-liquid honey, versus cold jelly.Aromapressure has created special blends of essential oils, each ingredient targeting specific functions (hormonal, excretory, digestive, etc…) and influencing also the temperature of the milieu.
The use of oils, in combination with stimulation of the pressure points on the body [traditionally used in oriental medicine for cellulite], complete the treatment and make Aromapressure, very effective.

In 2004, Nikkei medical magazine, published in its Med Wave column, 2 pages about Aromapressure method. A medical journalist attended a one week seminar that we held in Tokyo. He even volunteered as a model for demonstrations. In his article, titled: “Alternative medical treatments can help” (Med-Wave Nikkei BP Network, 2004.5.25 column), he recalls his surprise of feeling his shoes too big when he got dressed and that the feeling lasted for hours. He calculated from the data gathered on different body parts and on different models that, after a 45 minute treatment, the thigh showed a slimming of 5 to 26 millimeters and the lower leg, 3 to 9 mm.

Further calculations showed a 2% decrease of the volume of the full leg and 300 ml of fluids drained in each leg! These calculations were made on young and healthy Japanese women.