Lymphatic Drainage Speeds Recovery and Reduces Pain

Our lymphatic system works to keep us healthy. Without our lymphatic system working we would swell up like a balloon and stagnant fluid would swamp our cells.  When our lymphatic system is sluggish we can suffer from aches, pains, and low energy. Lymph Drainage Massage can stimulate the opening of the Lymphatic one-way valves and increase the volume of lymph flow by as much as 20%.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage can be used both preoperative to prepare the tissue and post-operative to relieve discomfort, swelling and remove cellular debris caused by the trauma of surgery. Knee, hip, back and neck surgery recovery can be added by lymphatic massage therapy. Liposuction and plastic surgery can traumatize tissues, lymph vessels and the interrupted lymph flow can cause reduced healing, fibrosis scar tissue, dimpling and uneven skin. Poor lymph flow after surgery can cause the development of fluid pockets.

I also used KT tape to relieve pain and swelling between treatments.  Manual Lymphatic Drainage and massage can speed recovery and improve the results.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Deborah Karlan, L.M.T. has been a massage therapist Her Wellness From Within office is at 2158 Drew Street in Clearwater. Her information website is For questions and appointments and to find harmony and balance with massage, please call 7276418979. FL License MA4487, Est. MM27138.

Restorative Massage for Pain Relief

Restorative massage therapy creates harmony and balance in our muscular structure by reducing the stress hormones and detoxifying the body. The Touch Research Institute at the University of South Florida has conducted over 100 studies on the positive effects of massage therapy on many functions and medical conditions. They have studied the effects of massage therapy at all stages of life, from newborns to senior citizens. The Touch Research Institute article was published in the Journal of Clinical Rheumatology the massage therapy subjects reported that their pain was diminished, and they had less stiffness, less fatigue, and improved sleep. Tests showed lower stress hormones which translated to lower stress, anxiety, and depression. Many muscle pain problems respond positively to restorative massage including post-surgery knee and hip replacements, trigger points, shoulder referral pain, and neck, and back pain and spasms. Patients with hypersensitive responses do well to the lighter touch therapy of Craniosacral therapy and Manual Lymph Drainage. Although fibromyalgia is a neurologic body inflammation problem that generally affects the entire body. Trigger points can refer to pain in a pattern some distance from the real problem.

restorative massage therapy

Neuromuscular therapy is very effective in treating TP’S. The illustration shows a typical headache trigger point that responds to treatment. I find techniques that work vary with each patient, some respond with very light manual lymph drainage while others get significant relief from deeper neuromuscular therapy. As we age it is important to take care of ourselves so that we can stay active and feel good.

Lymphatic Drainage Speeds Recovery and Reduces Pain by Deborah Karlan, L.M.T.

Our lymphatic system works to keep us healthy. Without our lymphatic system working we would swell up like a balloon and stagnant fluid would swamp our cells.  When our lymphatic system was sluggish, we can suffer from aches, pains, and low energy. Lymph Drainage Massage can stimulate the opening of the Lymphatic one-way valves and increase the volume of lymph flow. Joint replacement, cosmetic surgery, and acute injury can traumatize tissues causing swelling and damage to lymph vessels.

Lisa had the right hip replaced in June. She developed pain and swelling in the right knee months after the hip surgery. I found pain and spasms in the right lumbar, sacral area, the hip scare area, and the leg muscles. I used a combination of light neuromuscular therapy, myofascial release, and lymphatic drainage to relieve the spasm and swelling. I then stabilized the knee and back with the application of KT tape. Lisa will follow up with 3 weekly treatments.

After Ashley had 360 Liposuction and a Brazilian Butt Lift she had swelling, bruising, and pain. The lymphatic massage eases pain, channels lymph fluid to the nodes, and smooths tissue that can become lumpy. I am seeing Ashley two times a week and she has greatly improved. We will continue treating her for the next few weeks as she heals improving the results.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage can be used both before an operation to prepare the tissue and post-operative to relieve pain, swelling, and cellular debris caused by the trauma of surgery or injury.

Cranio-Sacral Therapy for Pain Relief

We are all aware of the rhythm of the breath and the rhythm of our heart. There is also another important body rhythm, the Craniosacral Rhythm. The normal rhythm of the Cranio-Sacral system is between 10- 12 cycles per minute. Trauma and health issues can cause deviation from the normal rhythm.

Jamie came to me with complaints of headaches and low back pain. About two years ago her pain began after a fall. She landed on her tail bone. According to Jamie’s doctor’s report, there were no structural problems to explain her pain. However, her fall could have caused a disruption of the Cranio-Sacral rhythm. She responded well to a combination of therapy which included Craniosacral Therapy (CST), a light-touch approach that gently works with the skull and its cranial sutures, the diaphragms, and the bodies’ fascia and muscles to balance the Cranio-Sacral rhythm.

Craniosacral therapy releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. In this way, the restrictions of nerve passages are eased, the movement of cerebrospinal fluid through the spinal cord is optimized, and harmony is restored to the body. Because Cranio-Sacral therapy is so gentle, it can be effective for all ages, from newborns to elders. The conditions that I have most helped with Craniosacral therapy are migraines, tensions headaches, and chronic neck pain, back pain, stress, tension-related disorders, learning disabilities, dyslexia, fibromyalgia, and TMJ syndrome. Our Craniosacral rhythm is important to our health, our structure, and our immune system.  Masks are worn in the clinic and during therapy treatments. We sanitize between treatments and we have VU filters in the lobby and in my treatment room. Be safe and well.

A Massage Therapist’s Hands, Tools and Tape

My hands are great tools for facilitating changes in the body’s soft tissue by stroking, kneading, and stretching the skin and muscles. My hands and fingers use both my body and leverage to increase the power of my strokes.

Many techniques, like myofascial release, skin rolling, and lymph drainage, require that you do not add lotion of oil to the skin. To release the fascia and lymph start out on dry skin for the best results. After releasing the fascia and channeling the lymph, I apply therapeutic oil, lotion, or analgesic liniment to work more deeply into the muscles. However, when I find areas of pain and spasm, I sometimes use tools to increase blood flow or change the electron charge in the cell to increase tissue activity to promote healing.

Electric E-stim pens are good at making changes to sore muscles and tissue. They can be used to deactivate trigger points: changing the tissue charge, increasing the fluid flow in the tissue and relaxing both muscles and nerves. Hot packs also increase blood flow, while cold packs quiet nerves. In addition, I also use the TRX Cold Laser from Jaken Medical. Cold laser therapy uses a low-intensity light to stimulate healing and to reduce inflammation and swelling and pain. The last step is to use a therapy tape like KT or Rock tape to stabilize an area that had acute pain or swelling. All tools and modalities are included in the hourly fee. Together this approach to healing through massage therapy is successful for restoring balance and healing body pain, swelling and inflammation.

I have been vaccinated but I am still applying covid protocols. I still request masking in clinic common areas and if you have not been vaccinated. Be safe and pain free.

When headaches are really in your face and cranium!heada

Published in May Issue of Tampa Bay Magazine

 Many patients arrive with mystery headaches, they have been to many doctors, and they have had MRI’s of the neck and head which found no tumors nor cancers and no reason for the pressure, tightness, and pain in the head. 

When I touch the muscles at the side of the neck, I often find pain and tightness in the head. In addition, tight neck muscles with a forward head posture often indicate an irregular opening and closing of the jaw. Sometimes the eyes and ears are not quite symmetrical or level, and the scalp is often very tight and painful.

Recently I had an interesting case with all of these symptoms.  Jane’s story was this: 25 years ago she was in a severe auto accident during which she hit the windshield. She was treated over the years with chiropractic as well as by other doctors. She related that she had head pain and tightness in her low back. Jane was given a dental splint for her jaw pain (TMJ), which she said did not help. Nothing seemed to help, and over the years her head got tighter and tighter with pain and pressure. She had tests and MRI’s, but nothing much was discovered. Continue reading

Why massage is the perfect gift to say I love you.

 What says I love you better than the gift of touch? Our mothers, fathers, grandparents, spouses and friends all would benefit from massage. In fact touch deprivation is a major cause of depression  in our society.

So what does massage do to our body chemistry?

 Massage can feel good but did you know that it has been scientifically shown to affect your body chemistry. According to research done at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles and Touch Research Institute in Miami it was found that a single session of massage caused biological changes. Volunteers who received massage experienced significant decreases in the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the blood and in saliva. The cortisol hormone controls the body’s fight and flight mechanism. In addition massage increase in the lymphocytes, the white blood cells that help your immune system. Both deep massage and light touch massage effected body chemistry. However the lighter touch therapy produced greater increases in the hormone Oxytocin, which is associated with feelings of contentment. In addition massage can eliminate muscle pain, flush toxins from your lymphatic’s, and sooth you whole system.

 When was the last time  your loved ones received a gift to reduce stress that also felt so good. MY certificates are beautiful. See a sample on my website at I can customize certificates for any number of sessions and personalize them for you. 

Call or text me for an appointment me at 727-641-8979 or email me at .

So do you have a maintenance manual for your body

We did not come with a maintenance manual. But you must admit that it would be handy. As we age we loose flexibility, stamina, and the resiliency of our youth. Responsibilities for our family’s, our jobs or business, greatly increases our stress. It becomes more difficult to balance work, exercise; family, and time for ourselves, It is easy to find ourselves lost in our daily tasks of survival without a plan. A body maintenance program is important if we want to age gracefully and maintain our sanity and vitality.

To really work, your maintenance manual must be designed by you. You know if you are overeating, under exercising, stressed out and out of balance. So start with sensible changes. Write down how you are feeling. What you what to change and your reason to change. That is how you begin your manual. Then note what works and what does not work.

Ok, I can give you the summery of what I have developed. I eat healthy food. I take supplements that enhance my immune system and protect my heart and bones. I stretch and exercise 30 minutes a day and I get a chiropractic adjustment once a month. I get a massage every two weeks. I have maintained my balance and energy through the crisis and my program is the key to my health.

According to the Mayo Clinic studies have found massage helpful for: stress relief, managing anxiety and depression, pain, stiffness, blood pressure control, soft tissue injuries, and boosting immunity. Beyond these benefits massage can provide comfort and a sense of empowerment. I hope you will consider adding massage to you maintenance manual.


The problems of a “Finger Athlete”

Last week Mary came to me with severe pain in her hands, wrists and arms. She had been working overtime and spending long hours typing to complete an assignment. Her doctor said that she should rest, wear a wrist and hand brace and it should improve in time. She was afraid she could not finish her work due to the pain.

Understanding why and how finger, hand and arm activity develop and progress into painful problems can be the key to preventing and resolving them. Finger, hand and arm pain can be a debilitating problem. Many working people are plagued with carpel tunnel, hand and wrist pain. Court recorders, secretaries, programmers, massage therapists, chiropractors, and many others suffer from this common problem.

So why does this happen? Are we acting like finger athletes? Are we giving the preventative care that it requires? When we use a body part with a high level of activity it requires help to keep pain free. As we use our fingers, hands and arms our muscles tighten, and contract. Over time activities can cause shortening of the muscles and tendon fibers. When the muscle fibers shorten and we continue to demand the same level of activity from our muscles what happens? We get micro tissue tears and start to form scar tissue which binds and becomes inflamed. This often leads to tendinitis, muscles strains and in the wrist carpel tunnel. Simple stretching exercises, soaking in a hot tub and therapeutic massage can prevent and treat these problems. With some therapeutic massage and isolated active stretching she was able to complete her work.

If you are a “Finger Athlete” come in and learn how to treat and prevent problems.

Deborah Karlan, LMT

Habits to Help Stop Your TMJ

Simple Habits to Help Stop or Control Your TMJ
1. Avoid holding the telephone between your shoulder and ear. Instead, prop your elbow up on books and hold the telephone to your ear.

2. When sneezing or yawning, put your chin down on your chest.

3. Avoid activities that make your jaw pop or click.

4. Don’t open your mouth too wide or jiggle your jaw around unless you have been specifically instructed to do this.

5. Support groups or Pshychologist can be a big help in dealing with your pain.

6. Lips together – teeth apart, and tongue to the roof of your mouth.

7. Avoid tasks that require holding the muscles in a prolonges fixed position.

8. Simplify your life as much as possible.

9. Avoid pain behaviors.

10. Find ways to take your mind off the pain; reading, classical music, sports.

11. Watch your posture, especially when you are in pain.

12. A positive, hopeful attitude really helps.

13. Try different forms of stress reduction – yoga, biofeeback, meditation, relaxation exercises.

14. Relax.

15. Ask questions, be informed.

16. Use Cervical pillows.

17. Avoid jutting your jaw forward.

18. Take medications as prescribed and only as needed.

19. Discuss all your TMJ symptoms with your doctor, dentist and physical therapist.

20. Stay active, continue to see your friends.

21. Moist heat or cold can be used on both your face and neck. Some people use heat on their neck and ice on their face for 5 to 15 minutes, then switch with heat on the face and ice on the neck.

22. Massage your face, temples and neck.

23. Postural support bra (bestforms) helps pull your shoulders back and maintain an erect posture. It also helps distribute the weight of heavy breasts.


1. Avoid sit-ups, especially if you use your neck muscles to pull up.

2. Do not clench or set your jaw when you lift weights.

3. Walk 3 miles per day.

4. Scuba diving if hard on the jaw and should be avoided.

5. Try physical therapy.