There are lymphatic vessels in most viscera, and one of the organs that can positively benefit from lymphatic techniques is the liver. The liver is extremely important for your health, and you will find immediate benefits from lymph drainage therapy when properly applied.
The liver is the largest digestive-exocrine gland in the body, with 500 functions. Imagine how much influence this organ has on your body’s homeostasis. Think of the liver in cases of chronic pathology: lack of stamina, detoxification, right-shoulder pathologies, eye problems, hormonal problems and more.
Liver stagnation could be caused by alcohol, food intolerance (to dairy, gluten, sugar and more), allergies, medications and infections. Most livers need lymphatic cleansing.
The liver produces approximately one quarter to one-third of the body’s lymphatic fluid. It has two lobes. The right lobe is physiologically not palpable under the right ribs in adults (except midline). The left lobe can usually be located a little medial to the mid-clavicular line.
In treatment, we look for one to two pathological segments in the liver with lymphatic and fascial stagnation, and release them.
The lymphatic anatomy is a little complicated and different from other hepatic structures. The separation we make between ascending pathways (toward the right clavicle) and descending pathways (toward the cisterna chyli) is a simplification.
1. Place two flat hands on your right side, above the diaphragm, and do a layered palpation: Connect from the skin, then deeper to the ribs and the endothoracic fascia, to the liver itself.
2. Then, for about three seconds, send the fluid of the right hepatic side superior, toward the right clavicle (supraclavicular fossa) and don’t ride on the ribs. (See figure A.) Do four to six strokes.Do not effleurage; keep your pressure on the liver, in the same area, during the entire stroke for full benefit. Be aware not to press on the xiphoid, and be cautious of the gallbladder area.
3. For the descending flow, place two flat hands on the right side above the diaphragm, but this time send the fluid inferior, below the xiphoid, a little bit on the right, toward the cisterna chyli. (See figure B.)
4. Repeat the same procedure for the left lobe of the liver. Place two hands on the left side and first allow the flow to go toward the right clavicle for about three seconds, then inferior toward the cisterna chyli. (See figures C and D.)
The next time you feel tired, stressed or that you ate or drank something that did not work for you, consider “liverating” yourself with this powerful technique.
About the Authors
Bruno Chikly, M.D., D.O., is a graduate of the Medical School at Saint Antoine Hospital in France. In his definitive text, Silent Waves: Theory and Practice of Lymph Drainage Therapy, Second Edition, Chikly addresses applications for lymphedema, chronic pain and inflammation. Alaya Chikly is a certified massage therapist with a bachelor’s degree in humanities. For more information, visit chiklyinstitute.org.