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  • Lymphedema and SMRT

    One of my clients come to me because of the lymphedema in her left arm. The lymphedema is a direct result of an axillary node dissection that resulted in the removal of 26 axillary lymph nodes.

    This client has chosen to control her lymphedema through mild exercise and her treatments with me. Last week she told me her left shoulder was aching because she had slept “funny” on it a couple of nights earlier.

    All deep pressure modalities are contra-indicated for lymphedema as they can increase the edema and make the situation worse. While I am trained and certified in lymph drainage massage, I knew by palpation that she would need more to get rid of the achiness in her shoulder. Luckily SMRT is not contra-indicated for lymphedema and actually enhances the effects and longevity of lymph drainage massage.

    I used the SMRT to release the muscles and connective tissue in and around the glenohumeral joint. Working with the position of the humeral head, SMRT allowed greater mobility and alignment in the glenohumeral joint. Finally I used SMRT to release pectoralis major and minor, which allowed the scapula to move posterior and into a more balanced position. I use a similar combination of lymph drainage and SMRT when another client has muscular tension in her forearm and hand.

    This client’s job as a dental hygienist keeps her fingers in a flexed position and her forearm in a pronated position much of the day. Being able to release flexor digitorum profundus and flexor digitorum superficialis, as well as the intrinsic muscles of the hand like opponens pollicis and opponens digiti minimi without using any deep pressure gives this client effective pain relief while also having a positive effect on her lymphedema.

    If you’d like to learn more, please register for our SMRT: Shoulder, Axilla, Ribcage, & Upper Back course in Cromwell, CT to be held May 29-31, 2015. https://efullcircle.com/workshop-schedule/