Lymphedema Workshop at the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic

From the workshop by Gay Lee Gulbrandson

The Charlotte Maxwell Complementary Clinic is a state licensed health clinic that provides alternative healing modalities to low-income women with a cancer diagnosis. The clinic offers Massage, Acupuncture, Chinese Herbs, Western Herbs, Therapeutic Imagery, Reiki, Jin Shin Jyutsu, Healing Touch and more. There will be future posts about the amazing Charlotte Maxwell Clinic and about my experience in working with clients diagnosed with cancer.

I volunteer at Charlotte Maxwell doing Healing Touch in the Oakland clinic.  Last Saturday the Clinic hosted a workshop on Lymphedema and the benefits of Manual Lymph Drainage. There are many causes of Lymphedema, but the most common in my private and volunteer practice is the swelling of the lymphatic system caused by the surgical removal of the lymph nodes due to breast cancer.

Gay Lee Gulbrandson CLT-LANA was the presenter. She has practiced and taught MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage) since 1996. I was impressed by her experience, commitment and the deep compassion she has for her clients. This woman is making a very positive difference in the world. It was so inspiring.

I learned a lot about edema, the difference between traditional massage and MLD, the basic MLD contraindications, and reviewed the lymphatic system. I can now identify the symptoms of cellulitus and know what questions to ask if I suspect my client has cellulitus. I can also “read” the skin of my clients from a lymphatic perspective.

I find this new awareness very exciting and it helps me understand with more clarity the information that I have been intuitively getting through many years of doing touch therapies. I can see a Lymphatic Drainage class in my future for this reason alone.

Gay Lee did a few short Manual Lymph Drainage strokes on everyone that attended the seminar so we could feel the light pressure used in the work. She even had a pressure gauge that measured the weight of our fingers so we could see the proper pressure shifts that need to happen in each stroke.

Now being so much more aware of what Manual Lymph Drainage can do I can refer my clients when appropriate to at least three highly trained Lymphatic Drainage Therapists in the East Bay. I can also help them get the information they need on how to get properly fitted for compression sleeves and bandaging. It’s shocking that simple information like this has become so difficult to find in our healthcare system.

I was also surprised at how many conditions MLD can benefit besides Lymphedema brought on by cancer and surgery. This modality can really benefit conditions such as pre/post cosmetic surgery, varicose veins, and rosacea, just to name a few.

If you have Lymphedema or know someone who has it, you can contact Gay Lee Gulbrandson  for more information. If you are a woman on a tight budget and are living with cancer you may contact the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic for help, information and alternative treatments. If you would like to make a donation to the Charlotte Maxwell Clinic you can do so here.


Please feel free to contact me with any questions.


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