Background: Trained practitioners claim to identify the
specific direction of superficial or deep lymphatic circulation
using a non-invasive technique called Manual Lymphatic
Mapping (MLM). MLM is a recent advance in manual therapy,
a component of Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT)/Osteopathic
Lymphatic Technique (OLT).
Objective: Assess the potential of trained practitioners to
palpate superficial lymphatic flow.
Method: Each practitioner mapped the sole of the foot of a
healthy volunteer, a region never previously studied.
The results of the mapping were compared between trained
and untrained practitioners and physiologic lymph charts
Results: Trained practitioners (n=393) provided
significantly more correct mappings (correct answers = 245)
than untrained practitioners (n=411, correct answers = 11) (X2
= 329.54, p < 0.05), and OR = 60.20, p < 0.05.
Conclusion: Trained practitioners, but not untrained
practitioners, mapped pedal flow by palpation, consistent with
standard physiologic lymphatic maps. Flow studies, by imaging
in individual subjects mapped by palpation, must further test
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