How might a dysfunctional lymph system effect the body? Can a lymph problem contribute to, say, frozen shoulder? And, if so, how? Doctors have differing opinions on what causes frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis). Some say sitting at a desk or laying down and resting the shoulder for long periods can aggravate an existing problem by limiting the use of the aggrieved shoulder.
Dr. Austin Oolo attributes the cause of frozen shoulder to a triad of physiological circumstances: a neck problem, a shoulder strain and a hormone imbalance.
Dr. Christiane Northrup suggests there may be emotional issues underlying shoulder issues, such as feeling one needs to carry the weight of the world upon one’s shoulders… or being too rigid in one’s thinking… or engaging in too much negative self-talk… or perhaps holding on to emotions of sadness which are associated with physical pain.
So what caused my left shoulder to freeze up?
Grief can be physically immobilizing, and I am certain grief was a key factor. In January 2018, less than one year after losing our son, age 20, to brain stem cancer, my shoulder began to stiffen. By May, the pain was so intense it kept me up at night. Had sadness and pain had come to settle deep within my tissues?
Considering my left shoulder, I recall sitting next to Neil, my left arm reaching around behind his back to support his weakening body, as he sat up to sip and swallow water, which he had to do often due to the high sodium content of his anti-neoplaston therapy infusions. Swallowing had become more difficult, as he was losing control of his muscles and mucous clogged his throat. We spent at least half an hour, every night, in the middle of the night, sitting together patiently on the edge of his bed, as he slowly sipped, spat, sipped and swallowed.
The cancer journey was full of unimaginable moments. First, the diagnosis (Wham!), and then the prognosis: He has three months to live (Bam!), followed by a year of intense battle. I buried the harshness of each and every heart-wrenching moment deep down inside, so that I could move forward, remaining strong and positive for Neil and the rest of the family. Had these suppressed memories and associated emotions become locked within?
Generally, frozen shoulder describes a pathological process in which the body forms adhesions of muscle fiber around the shoulder capsule, leading to restricted movement and pain. In the absence of movement, emotional and chemical toxins accumulate inside knots of scar tissue. While physical therapy (PT) and myofacial release massage therapy help to break down the scar tissue physically, recovery is a slow painful process. After seven months of daily PT and massage, I regained about 80 percent of my range of motion. Then I reached a plateau.
My residual pain and restriction compelled me to probe for a deeper understanding of my dysfunction, which is why I decided to undergo a full-body bioregulatory assessment at the new BioMed Center in Providence. In so doing, my open mind was exposed to new aspects of physical science, new non-invasive biofeedback therapies and new insights as to what was happening inside my body – physically, energetically and emotionally. The resulting information and associated possibilities astonish me.
Thermometry test results (explained in Part 1) indicated a lymph system blockage in my head and neck area. The primary role of lymph is to remove toxins from body tissues. While the heart automatically pumps blood through the cardiovascular system, the lymph system relies on body movement as a pump. It’s difficult to move lymph if body movement is restricted. I had never realized how important regular physical movement is for detoxing.
Among the BioMed doctors’ recommendations were movement therapy in the form of rebounding. Rebounding is a type of spring-leveraged low-impact exercise performed on a rebounder—sometimes called a “mini-trampoline.” The up-down movement of rebounding unblocks the lymph system and compels lymphatic fluid to flow and flush toxins. Rebounding is considered the most effective movement therapy for increasing lymph flow and draining toxins from the body. Basic rebounding movements include bouncing in place, jumping jacks, twists, side-to-side motions and running in place. Rebounding is fun, and gym trainers can guide people in doing rebounding safely and effectively.
For elderly people or people with restricted by balance or knee joint problems, rocking in a rocking chair is a good alternative. Children can move lymph by swinging on a swing, which requires pumping the arms and legs. My sister consciously jiggles to move her lymph and boost her mood. All of these simple and enjoyable activities activate the movement of lymph.
For patients looking to expedite the removal of a lymph blockage or for patients whose voluntary movement is restricted by a neurological disorder, the BioMed Center offers technologies which can assist in the process of moving lymph, expelling toxins and addressing emotional blockages and imbalances. More on this in Part 3.
Learn more about bioregulatory medicine. The BioMed Center is hosting an open house on Wednesday, February 13, 4:30-6pm at 111 Chestnut Street in Providence.
3 thoughts on “Explore, Experience, Explain (2): Lymph Therapies”
My mother also had a frozen left shoulder most of her adult life. I learned much later that she had been abandoned by her father and then adopted out to strangers at age 3. She was not confident that she was really loved and would routinely get ill around Christmas time for no apparent reason. She was very generous with her time and energy to serve others. In Oriental Medicine, the left side receives and the right side gives in a general sense. Ideally we would be balanced between those two human needs. The Protestant work ethic did not help and it was often repeated that ‘it is better to give than to receive’ suggesting that one should feel badly about receiving, be it a gift, a compliment or some good fortune.
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What about your mother’s mother? Louise Hay stated, “The left side of the body is often regarded as the feminine side, the receiving side, where you take in. It represents, among other things, the mother. The right side of the body is often regarded as the masculine side, the giving-out side, where you express. It represents, among other things, the father. When we continually have problems with one particular side of the body, it can mean there are issues with the parent represented by the side that have not been settled.” In my case the afflicted shoulder could possibly represent my own grieving mothering side, and incidently, the shoulder I favored when I once held my baby. When I sit in our rocking chair and hug a pillow in that way,and against my cheek, this brings a gentle calm and comfort.