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Natural Awakenings Boston

Lymphatic Drainage Detoxifies, Relieves Pain and Reduces Surgical Recovery Time

Nov 30, 2011 01:25PM ● By Kim Childs

Lymph fluid circulates around every cell in the body, just like blood. But unlike blood, which gets pumped by the heart, lymph relies on muscular contractions to move it around for the essential purpose of removing cellular debris and toxins from the body. If the flow of lymph is impaired it can build up, causing swelling and the pooling of toxins. Some causes of lymph buildup include surgical scarring, autoimmune disease, arthritis and diabetes.

“When lymph doesn’t move, the tissues get toxified and that creates problems,” says Mimi Rhys of Phoenix Healing Arts, in Brighton. “For example, what we call cellulite is lymph that’s trapped in fat. When the fluid is trapped, it builds up and it pulls on the skin, which creates the dimpled appearance.”

Rhys, a licensed massage therapist, treats cellulite and other physical issues with a technique called lymphatic drainage. The treatment is done on bare skin and feels very gentle, says Rhys, reporting that the hands-on pressure is as light as a nickel. “Seventy percent of lymph is right under the skin, so the technique involves a very light stretching of the skin to move lymph in the direction it needs to go. Once it’s moving, lymph goes directly into the bloodstream and the toxins can be eliminated through the kidneys or the digestive system.”

Rhys explains that lymph vessels also carry the majority of the body’s disease fighting white blood cells, making it a crucial component of the immune system. She performs lymphatic drainage on those preparing for and recovering from surgery, and says that it reduces healing time considerably. “The pre-surgical sessions are great because they give surgeons cleaner tissue to cut, which heals better,” she says. “Afterwards, lymphatic drainage reduces inflammation and swelling, allowing blood to reach the tissues for healing. You also get rid of debris, release trauma and stimulate the immune system to fight any infection that may be happening.”

Other conditions for which Rhys recommends lymphatic drainage include fibromyalgia, edema, sports injuries, chronic pain, sciatica and autoimmune diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. She says the treatments reduce stress, clear toxins, boost immunity and eliminate facial puffiness. “Very often after a session I’ll have someone look in the mirror and they’re always surprised at how different they look,” says Rhys. “People say they look younger and feel more relaxed.”

For more information, contact Mimi Rhys at 617-413-7174 or visit

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