What is Lymph Drainage Therapy?

Lymph Drainage Therapy is an innovative hands-on method of lymphatic drainage developed by Bruno Chikly, MD, DO.

It has been created out of his award-winning research on the lymphatic system consistent with recent scientific discoveries. LDT is the first technique that enables practitioners to detect and palpate the specific rhythm, direction, depth and quality of the lymph flow anywhere in the body. With these skills, practitioners can practice Manual Lymphatic Mapping (MLM) of the lymphatic vessels. With developed listening skills LDT practitioners are able to use their hands to assess and enhance overall circulation as well as determine the best alternate pathways for draining stagnant body fluid (lymph, interstitial, synovial fluid, etc…).

Lymph Drainage Therapy has been taught for almost 20 years to about 14,000 therapists throughout the world.


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LDT is a gentle technique that works through the body’s interstitial and lymphatic system to activate the body liquid circulation and stimulate the functioning of the immune and parasympathetic nervous systems.


Advanced LDT practitioners develop the skill to perceive and respond to the body’s innate ability to heal itself. The practitioner can then reroute the lymph by following the subtle indications given by the body enhancing the healing process. This eliminates mental mistakes in assuming we know what the body needs and therefore enforcing pathways that are not optimal. Honoring the intelligence of the body ensures deeper and long lasting results.

Advanced practitioners are taught how to “map” the lymphatic pathways with their hands (Manual Lymphatic Mapping – MLM) as well as to assess the client before, during and after the session. They also discover how to identify precise areas of the body where there is fluid stagnation or fibrosis, and then find the most appropriate pathways for drainage.


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Trained students learn how to work with muscles, fascia, tendons, periosteum, viscera, synovial fluid, chambers of the eyes, dura, pia, and blood vessels.


LDT also includes advanced techniques such as Lympho-Fascia Release (LFR) to simultaneously release lesions in the fascia and fluid of the body. These techniques can be applied to fascia, viscera, ligaments, tendons or trigger points in the body.

Silent Waves is the bible in the field of lymph drainage therapy. Author Bruno Chikly, MD, is a skilled physician and true healer, and he is the Einstein of this rapidly developing field.

Larry Dossey, MD, Executive Director, Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Author of nine books including Healing beyond the Body, Reinventing Medicine and Healing Words.

Migraine Headaches
Chronic Neck and Back Pain
Msotor-Coordination Impairment
Central Nervous System Disorders
Orthopedic Problems
Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Spinal Cord Injuries
Infantile Disorders
Learning Disabilities
Chronic Fatigue
Emotional Difficulties
Stress and Tension-Related Problem
Fibromyalgia and other Connective-Tissue Disorders
Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)
Neurovascular or Immune Disorders
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-Surgical Dysfunction

SomatoEmotional Release (SER)

SomatoEmotional Release (SER)

SomatoEmotional Release (SER) is a therapeutic process that uses and expands on the principles of CranioSacral Therapy to help rid the mind and body of the residual effects of trauma. SER1 offers applications designed to enhance results using CST and other complementary therapies.

  • Assess and mobilize the Avenue of Expression working through more than 10 different body components, including the thoracic inlet, hard palate and hyoglossal tissues.
  • Locate and release Energy Cysts.
  • Release suppressed emotions that may be inhibiting complete structural releases.
  • Refine listening and comprehension skills.
  • Improve palpation and whole-body evaluation skills.

Patient resources including intensive therapy program information.

Testimonials, including a video link from MCNBC with Aetna CEO.

To find a local therapist trained in Upledger CranioSacral Therapy, visit iahp.com.

CranioSacral Therapy 2 TA:

  • Satisfactory assistance in two CranioSacral Therapy 1 classes.
  • Written recommendation from an Instructor or Certified CS Teaching Assistant

CranioSacral Therapy for Pediatrics TA:

  • Successful attendance at a CranioSacral for Pediatrics workshop.
  • Satisfactory assistance at a SomatoEmotional Release 1 workshop.
  • Written Recommendation from an Instructor.

SomatoEmotional Release 1 TA:

  • Satisfactory assistance in two CranioSacral Therapy 2 classes.
  • Written recommendation from an Instructor.

All Other UII CS Courses:

  • Subject to Instructor recommendation, and may require additional qualification/s; such as repeating the course, certification, and/or being qualified to assist one or more additional class types.

CERTIFIED Teaching Assistant

  • Successful assistance at 4 CranioSacral Therapy 1 classes.
  • Successful assistance at 4 CranioSacral Therapy 2 classes.
  • Successful assistance at 2 SomatoEmotional Release 1 classes.
  • Successful assistance at a SomatoEmotional Release 2 workshop.
  • Certification at the Techniques or Diplomate Level of CranioSacral Therapy.
    You can substitute 24 hours of being mentored for either a CS1 or a CS2 Teaching Assistant requirement.

CranicSacral Therapy FAQs


[expand title=”   What is CranioSacral Therapy?“]

CranioSacral Therapy (CST) is a gentle, hands-on approach that releases tensions deep in the body to relieve pain and dysfunction and improve whole-body health and performance. It was pioneered and developed by Osteopathic Physician John E. Upledger after years of clinical testing and research at Michigan State University where he served as professor of biomechanics.

Using a soft touch which is generally no greater than 5 grams – about the weight of a nickel – practitioners release restrictions in the soft tissues that surround the central nervous system. CST is increasingly used as a preventive health measure for its ability to bolster resistance to disease, and it’s effective for a wide range of medical problems associated with pain and dysfunction.

View our Testimonials, including a video link from MCNBC with Aetna CEO.


[expand title=”   How does CranioSacral Therapy Work?“]

Few structures have as much influence over the body’s ability to function properly as the brain and spinal cord that make up the central nervous system. And, the central nervous system is heavily influenced by the craniosacral system – the membranes and fluid that surround, protect and nourish the brain and spinal cord.

Every day your body endures stresses and strains that it must work to compensate for. Unfortunately, these changes often cause body tissues to tighten and distort the craniosacral system. These distortions can then cause tension to form around the brain and spinal cord resulting in restrictions. This can create a barrier to the healthy performance of the central nervous system, and potentially every other system it interacts with.

Fortunately, such restrictions can be detected and corrected using simple methods of touch. With a light touch, the CST practitioner uses his or her hands to evaluate the craniosacral system by gently feeling various locations of the body to test for the ease of motion and rhythm of the cerebrospinal fluid pulsing around the brain and spinal cord. Soft-touch techniques are then used to release restrictions in any tissues influencing the craniosacral system.

By normalizing the environment around the brain and spinal cord and enhancing the body’s ability to self-correct, CranioSacral Therapy is able to alleviate a wide variety of dysfunctions, from chronic pain and sports injuries to stroke and neurological impairment.


[expand title=”   What conditions does CranioSacral Therapy address?“]

  • Concussion and Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Migraines and Headaches
  • Chronic Neck and Back Pain
  • Autism
  • Stress and Tension-Related Disorders
  • Motor-Coordination Impairments
  • Infant and Childhood Disorders
  • Brain and Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Chronic Fatigue
  • Fibromyalgia
  • TMJ Syndrome
  • Scoliosis
  • Central Nervous System Disorders
  • Learning Disabilities
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Orthopedic Problems
  • And Many Other Conditions


[expand title=” Can I take CST courses if I’m not a licensed massage therapist or a healthcare professional? “]

Yes, CST courses can be highly beneficial for the layperson who is interested in gaining a higher understanding of CST techniques and benefits for personal use. However, many states require a license to touch in order to practice the therapy. Check with your state to determine what laws apply.


[expand title=” Is there any condition for which CST shouldn’t be used?“]

There are certain situations where application of CST would not be recommended. These include conditions where a variation and/or slight increase in intracranial pressure would cause instability. Acute aneurysm, cerebral hemorrhage or other preexisting severe bleeding disorders are examples of conditions that could be affected by small intracranial pressure changes.


[expand title=” How many CranioSacral Therapy sessions will I need?“]

Response to CST varies from individual to individual and condition to condition. Your response is uniquely your own and can’t be compared to anyone else’s – even those cases that may appear to be similar to your own. The number of sessions needed varies widely – from just one up to three or more a week over the course of several weeks.


[expand title=” When was CranioSacral Therapy developed?“]

It was in 1970, during a neck surgery in which he was assisting, that osteopathic physician John E. Upledger first observed the rhythmic movement of what would soon be identified as the craniosacral system. None of his colleagues nor any of the medical texts at the time could explain this discovery, however.

His curiosity piqued, Dr. Upledger began searching for the answer. He started with the research of Dr. William Sutherland, the father of cranial osteopathy. For some 20 years beginning in the early 1900s, Sutherland had explored the concept that the bones of the skull were structured to allow for movement. For decades after, this theory remained at odds with the beliefs of the scientific and medical communities. Dr. Upledger believed, however, that if Sutherland’s theory of cranial movement was in fact true, this would help explain, and make feasible, the existence of the rhythm he had encountered in surgery.

It was at this point that Dr. Upledger set out to scientifically confirm the existence of cranial bone motion. From 1975 to 1983 he served as clinical researcher and Professor of Biomechanics at Michigan State University, where he supervised a team of anatomists, physiologists, biophysicists and bioengineers in research and testing. The results not only confirmed Sutherland’s theory, but led to clarification of the mechanisms behind this motion – the craniosacral system. Dr. Upledger’s continued work in the field ultimately resulted in his development of CranioSacral Therapy.


TA Program Details

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