She enjoys sharing her thirty five year journey in health promotion and beautifully guides her fellow massage therapists toward an enriching, healthy and happy lifestyle.
Jessica Hartmann, PT, PYT, RYT
Jessica is a licensed physical therapist who specializes in manual physical therapy, as well as a professional yoga therapist. She has combined her passions of physical therapy and yoga with the creation of Integrative Rehab and Wellness, in order to facilitate a healing environment that supports overall health and well-being.
Jessica completed her Masters Degree in Physical Therapy at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. The majority of her post –professional manual therapy training has been through Michigan State University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. This training has provided her with the tools necessary to successfully treat a variety of conditions including back and neck pain, sacroiliac joint dysfunction, sciatica, musculoskeletal issues (shoulders, hips, knees, etc), chronic pain, fibromyalgia, migraines/headaches, anxiety, arthritis, and TMJ. She completed her dry needling certification through Dr. Ma’s Integrative Dry Needling Program and has found this technique to be a highly effective form of physical therapy for musculoskeletal and neuromuscular conditions, as well as injury prevention and performance enhancement.
She has found through her own yoga practice that the benefits of yoga are endless both physically and mentally. The key benefit is an overall state of health and well-being. She has completed my medical therapeutic yoga training through the Professional Yoga Therapy Program (PYT) developed by Ginger Garner, PT, ATC, PYT in Emerald Isle, NC. She would like to recognize and thank Ginger, as well as Shelly Prosko, founder of Physio Yoga in western Canada, as a constant source of knowledge, inspiration, and encouragement.
About the Lymphatic System
The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
- Thomas Edison
THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEMThe lymphatic system, one of the most vital systems in the body, is essential for good health. The lymph system is an extensive drainage network that helps keep bodily fluid levels in balance and defends the body against infections. It is made up of a network of lymphatic vessels that carry lymph — a clear, watery fluid that contains protein molecules, salts, glucose, urea, and other substances — throughout the body.
The lymphatic system, a major part of the immune system, is very complex and it is made up lymphoid organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, lymph capillaries, and lymph vessels that make and transport lymph fluid from tissues to the circulatory system. Did you know that the spleen, tonsils, lymphocytes and thymus gland are all part of the lymphatic system? Lymphocytes (white blood cells) are built and stored in lymphatic tissue. Each lymphatic structure has a specific purpose.
There are 600 - 700 lymph nodes in the human body that filter the lymph before it returns to the circulatory system. Approximately 1/3 of them are located in the head and neck. They range in size from a pinhead to a broad bean and are arranged in clusters or chains. While we know where they are situated, the exact arrangement is unique in each person.
Unlike blood, which flows throughout the body in a continuous loop, lymph flows in only one direction — upward toward the neck — within its own system. It flows into the venous blood stream through the subclavian veins, which are located on either sides of the neck near the collarbones.
Lymph leaves the tissue and enters the lymphatic system through specialized lymphatic capillaries. About three-quarters of these capillaries are superficial capillaries that are located near the surface of the skin. There are also deep lymphatic capillaries that surround most of the body’s organs.
MANUAL LYMPH DRAINAGE
Manual lymph drainage (MLD) is a gentle, non-invasive manual technique that uses specific "stretch-and-release" movements on the lymph nodes. The movements act as a type of external pump that pulls lymphatic fluid through the lymph channels and enhances the release of toxins.
It is a highly specialized form of massage, which uses light, rhythmical, very precise hand movements, pressures and sequences and requires the therapist to develop a great degree of skill, having an intimate knowledge of the workings of the anatomy of the lymphatic system. The massage works at a skin level to influence the direction and speed of lymphatic flow, re-directing if necessary.
The MLD session is not the same as a traditional massage as the movements are specifically designed to increase the flow of lymph - too much pressure on the lymph nodes can cause thickening. The skin is stretched and released in a specific manner, based on scientific, physiological principles that have proven to encourage lymph flow. When performed correctly with the correct pressure, direction and speed, MLD can greatly enhance recovery and facilitate drainage.
The efficacy of MLD is no longer doubted and it is practiced in many locations worldwide. Gradually, more massage therapists, aestheticians, physical/occupational therapists and other healthcare practitioners took up the therapy and have used it with great effect.
Some indications (may be helpful) for MLD include: post-traumatic and post-surgery edema, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, tinnitus, scleroderma, migraine/sinus headache, palliative care, pain control, follow-up treatment to deep tissue work, general relaxation and detoxification, enhanced immune function, lymphedema, and lipedema.
And, of course, there are contraindications (should not be used) for MLD, such as acute infections, untreated congestive heart failure, acute deep vein thrombosis, etc.