Lymph drainage is recognized as an important aspect of healing and health restoration in humans. Lymph drainage can be encouraged with the application of a number of drainage techniques. These techniques are taught in human osteopathy, chiropractic and some of the allied health therapies but to date have not been widely recognized as useful modalities in treating animals.
What is less commonly known is that equine or canine lymph drainage can also be achieved. Lymph drainage is a refined manual therapy that is applied over the body watersheds draining back to specific lymph nodes. Animals find the treatment very relaxing and it is beneficial to the overall health. Probably the most important benefits are the stimulation of lymphatic circulation, stimulating the immune system, and the autonomic nervous system. It also helps eliminate stagnation of fluid in the skin, viscera, mucosa, muscles joints and periosteum as well as reducing pain due to tissue stagnation. Naturally it helps with the elimination of waste products, reduces edema and is useful in fat or obese animals.
It is also possible to employ a lymphatic pump, which will drain a much larger area and in effect help the entire lymphatic system. Whereas this is a somewhat new physical therapy procedure it is of enormous value to equine physiotherapists and equine veterinarians alike. I have been using lymphatic pump in horses for over three years, and as I believe that it has to be taught properly so that it can applied correctly. There exists a risk if the procedure is not done correctly or if too much is done.
In small animals it is useful in refectory ear and mouth infections, particularly in short nosed dogs. In horses it is great for reducing swelling in the limbs. Probably the most valuable uses of lymph drainage is in post surgical cases. The great part about lymph drainage is that it is totally non invasive natural and it is priming the body for natural recovery.