Lymphatic Drainage, it’s Crucial Role for Cancer Patients

Dr. Jonathan Stegall utilizes conventional medicine and alternative/natural treatments with cancer patients. This approach is the cornerstone for The Center for Advanced Medicine in Atlanta and the basis of his bestselling book, Cancer Secrets: An Integrative Oncologist Reveals How You Can Defeat Cancer Using the Best of Modern Medicine and Alternative Therapies.

His background is impeccable: bachelor’s degree from Clemson University, graduating with honors; master’s degree in physiology from Georgetown University; a research internship at Harvard Medical School’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine; medical degree from the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston; internal medicine residency through the Yale University School of Medicine, with clinical training at Greenwich (Conn.) Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Conn.

One area of treatment that TCFAM focuses on is lymphatic drainage – reducing swelling caused by fluid buildup after cancer treatment.

“The lymphatic system has been largely forgotten in conventional medicine, but it serves some essential purposes within the body,” Dr. Stegall notes. “The lymphatic system is the training ground for our immune system.”

The lymphatic system runs in parallel to the bloodstream. When the bone marrow makes white blood cells, these new cells are ushered into the lymphatic system. Once in the lymphatic system, white blood cells learn how to protect the body against foreign pathogens. When those cells are adequately trained, they are moved into the bloodstream to help the body fight foreign invaders. [1]

“With cancer patients, there is frequently some level of lymphatic dysfunction,” he says. “This is undoubtedly true in cancers that have spread to the lymph nodes. The surgical removal of lymph nodes ensures congestion within the lymphatic system, reducing lymph flow and thus impairing the immune system.

“An extreme example of this is when we see a significant swelling – lymphedema. Areas with the highest concentration of lymph nodes are the neck, the armpit, and the groin, but lymph nodes exist throughout the body. Lymphatic therapy is intended to break up the congested fluid, allowing for proper flow of lymph.”

The term “lymphatic drainage” was first coined by Dr. Frederic Millard, a physician from Canada, in the 1920s. By the 1930s, the husband-and-wife team of Drs. Emil and Estrid Vodder developed lymph drainage therapy further. That method subsequently was perfected by a French physician, Dr. Bruno Chikly, and is the basis for today’s form of lymph drainage.

Dr. Chikly contends lymph drainage therapy provides several crucial benefits, including stimulating the immune system, eliminating toxins, enhancing the nervous system, and improved circulation of lymph, interstitial fluid, cerebrospinal fluid, and blood.

Lymphatic therapy can occur via multiple methods. Jumping on a rebounder or using a skin brush is an easy way to enhance lymph flow at home. A massage therapist trained in lymphatics can provide a more in-depth treatment.

Rebounding is an aerobic exercise performed while jumping – fast or slow – on a mini-trampoline. You also can mix the routine with aerobic stepping. The lymphatic system is stimulated during rebounding, which helps your body flush out bacteria, dead cells, toxins, and other waste. [2]

Other health pluses include working the core, legs, buttock, and deep back muscles, improved endurance, and balance – overall motor skills. Rebounding will put a small amount of pressure on your bones, which helps them grow stronger. Also, bouncing works the muscles of the deep core that help prevent the involuntary leakage of urine and stabilize hip joints.

As for dry brushing the skin, dermatologist Shilpi Khetarpal says, “Dry brushing unclogs pores in the exfoliation process. It also helps detoxify your skin by increasing blood circulation and promoting lymph flow/drainage.” [3]

“I have witnessed some incredible results in my patients as a result of lymph drainage therapy,” Dr. Stegall adds. “Some patients have come into the office unable to lift their arms above horizontal level due to lymphedema. After only a couple of weeks of bi-weekly treatment, much of their mobility problems were rectified using lymph drainage therapy.

“I also believe lymph drainage plays a crucial role in helping the body fight cancer and detoxify. As a bonus, a lymphatic drainage session is exceptionally calming and relaxing.”



[1] Stegall, Jonathan. Cancer Secrets: An Integrative Oncologist Reveals How You Can Defeat Cancer Using the Best of Modern Medicine and Alternative Therapies.

[2] Why You Should Try Rebounding and How to Get Started.

[3] The Truth About Dry Brushing and What It Does for You.

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