Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - MLD massage

MLD for Mastectomy and Lymph Node Removal

Lymphatic System

The lymphatic system is part of the circulatory system that works alongside your arteries and veins. Arteries bring blood to an area, veins bring blood back from an area but this system is not perfect and some fluid gets left behind. This fluid is called lymph and the lymphatic system is responsible for bringing this fluid back to the bloodstream.

Role of Lymph Nodes

On its way back to the bloodstream lymph passes through lymph nodes. These lymph nodes are similar to on ramps on a highway. Lots of little lymph vessels enter into the lymph node and merge into one large vessel that travels towards the bloodstream.

Difficulties resulting from lymph node removal

When lymph nodes are removed the lymph can no longer move from the small vessels to the larger “highways”. Without access to these large vessels the flow of lymph slows down. This can cause fluid buildup (swelling). Because old fluid is not leaving the area, new fluid is no longer able to make it into those areas either. This can lead to a variety of issues including pain and discomfort, dermatitis and cellulitis.

How Manual Lymphatic Drainage helps

Just like a road system in a city, there is more than one way for the lymph to get to where it needs to go. Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) can encourage the lymph to take another route back to the bloodstream. MLD works by gently increasing the flow of lymph towards the healthy lymph nodes. It is estimated that MLD can encourage lymph to flow up to 10 times faster than normal. This increased flow can help reverse and prevent swelling.

Want to know more? Contact us for a consultation! Our therapist Brianne Kokayko has undergone extensive training and is a Dr Vodder certified MLD / CDT Therapist.

Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - woman with neck pain from whiplash

Dr Vodder’s Manual Lymphatic Drainage and Acute Whiplash

Acute Whiplash Definition

Whiplash occurs when the head experiences a forceful jerk. The most common causes of whiplash are car accidents, but it is also seen in sports. “Acute” simply refers to the early stages of an injury. Acute whiplash refers to the first stage of whiplash which normally lasts from 3-6 weeks. During this time whiplash symptoms are generally “sharper” or more intense than at any other stage.


Acute whiplash symptoms include pain, swelling, heat, limited range of motion and mild to extreme sensitivity to touch. Because of the intense pain and increased sensitivity often associated with acute whiplash many people find that even moderate treatments can actually increase the pain before making it better. For many this increased pain leads to less sleep and ultimately a slower recovery time in the first few weeks after the accident.

How Manual Lymphatic Drainage Helps

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a gentle approach that encourages proper blood flow to the injured areas without increasing the pain. Most treatment approaches encourage blood flow INTO injured areas. This is normally very helpful but in cases of swelling and inflammation it can often increase pain and actually slow the healing process. MLD works by increasing the flow of fluid AWAY from the injured areas encouraging a decrease in inflammation and swelling. This decreases the pain and also allows new blood carrying fresh nutrients can enter the area. This increase in healthy circulation can speed the healing process dramatically and significantly reduce the acute stage of the healing process. Once the injured areas are past the acute stage, more aggressive treatments can be used to help with full recovery of the injured areas.

Biranne Kokayko, one of our registered massage therapists, has undergone extensive training and is a Dr Vodder certified MLD / CDT Therapist. To make an appointment, contact us.

Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - woman blowing her nose

Allergies: A Case Study

Clogged Sinuses and Runny Nose

Elsie [1] was a woman in her late 20’s who had been suffering for years with allergies. Clogged sinuses, difficulty breathing, decreased sense of smell and a running nose were a daily battle for her. For the past decade or more she has been on allergy medication and although it helps, allergy symptoms are always present.


The constant inflammation in her nose causes scar tissue to slowly build up, which makes breathing more difficult. Her doctor told her that every 5 years she will need surgery to correct this. After her first surgery she felt great relief for a while but within a few short months her breathing became as bad as it was pre surgery. A year after the surgery she and her doctor both wondered if she would need another surgery in only 2-3 years. During a visit to our clinic for her shoulder, her therapist recommended that she try a new massage treatment for her allergies.

Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - woman breathing clearlyAllergy Relief

Elsie commenced a treatment program that involved Manual Lymphatic Drainage, regular nasal rinsing with a neti pot [2] and continued used of her allergy medication. Within a month her symptoms decreased and she regained her sense of smell (something she couldn’t remember having for most of the last decade). With this program Elsie is confident that it will be a long while before she will need surgery again.

[1] Names have been changed for privacy

[2]A neti pot is used to pour water into the nose to rinse it out

Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - woman with jaw pain

Headaches and Jaw Pain: A Case Study

Headaches and jaw pain

Carlee [1] was a runner in her early 20’s. One spring she started having mild pain in her jaw, throat and teeth. Eventually the pain became constant and she started have headaches as well. Her doctor diagnosed a throat infection and gave her antibiotics but they made no difference. Her doctor referred her to a specialist who recommended she have her tonsils removed.


The surgery went well but a few months afterwards the pain returned, sometimes even worse than before. Eventually someone recommended that she see an orthodontist in Kelowna named Dr. Bishop [2] . He immediately diagnosed a temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ or TMD) and made two mouth pieces for Carlee, one for day and one for night. After 4 months of using these appliances the pain and headaches dissipated substantially but she was still unable to remove them without the pain returning. It was recommended she try massage [3].

Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - smiling womanLong Term Relief

When Carlee came to Kelowna Medical Massage it was clear that her poor posture was aggravating her TMJ. She began a treatment program that included massage, stretching, exercise, postural training and self-massage before bed. Within two months she was completely symptom free and able to remove her daytime mouth piece.

[1]Names have been changed for privacy

[2]Dr. Bishop has a great reputation for treating TMJ. More info:

[3]Carlee was the first of many clients that Dr. Bishop now sends to us for treatment.

Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - man with shoulder pain

Shoulder Pain: A Case Study

Pain and weakness

Jake was an active man in his mid-40’s who regularly trained in martial arts. One day he began to experience sharp burning pain in his shoulders while he trained. At first he ignored the pain but it continued to get worse. Within a few months the pain was so bad that he couldn’t train anymore. What was worse was that he was no longer able to do a single pushup.

Surgery Suggested

He took a visit to his doctor and although the doctor was not sure of the cause of this pain, he recommended surgery to treat it. Jake was hesitant to go ahead with surgery and started looking for other options. He tried different treatments but was unable to get any relief. Eventually a friend at his martial arts club recommended that he go to Kelowna Medical Massage for treatment.

Massage Therapy Kelowna Medical Massage - man doing shoulder pressRelief

Jake’s initial assessment revealed bilateral rotator cuff tears and poor posture. Jake began a treatment program that involved massage, stretching and exercise, postural training and ergonomic advice for his workstation. At the completion of his treatment program the pain in his shoulders was completely gone and Jake is once again able to do 50 pushups without pain.

*Names have been changed for privacy