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Creating Good Habits or Continuing Learned Habits After Your Surgical Needs Improve Treatment Outcomes

With About Face, we support your mind and body post surgery through relaxation techniques and soothing movements of massage therapy. 

We combine myofunctional therapy and face yoga exercises to re-establish muscle memory to improve upon the gains we make with massage.

We also offer oral health care coaching to get you through any oral needs to support our clients if the need for radiation treatment was recommended. 


A manual therapy technique comprised of a continuum of skilled passive movements that are applied at varying speeds and amplitudes, including a small amplitude/high velocity therapeutic movement. The primary goal is to restore movement and more normal mechanics of a joint, to improve function and reduce pain.

The history of massage therapy dates back to 3000 BCE (or earlier) in India, where it was considered a sacred system of natural healing. Used by Hindus in Ayurveda “life health” medicine, massage therapy was a practice passed down through generations to heal injuries, relieve pain, and prevent and cure illnesses.

Research indicates that intraoral and extraoral face massage is effective in managing: 

  • Subacute/chronic pain

  • Soft tissue injuries

  • TMJ noise (clicking, popping, or grinding)

  • Headaches

  • Limited opening

  • Ear congestion and pain

  • Swelling on the side of the face

  • Dysphagia (difficulty swallowing)

  • Nausea

  • Facial pain

  • Fatigued facial muscles

  • Tender, sensitive teeth

  • Difficulty chewing

  • Cervical (neck) pain

The type of treatment can also be effectively used to support people with:

  • A chronic disease

  • A life-threatening illness such as cancer.

The types of massage we offer may include:

  • Medical Massage – involves the assessment and treatment of soft tissue pain, injury, and dysfunction affecting movement and mobility. Medical Massage is applied to restore and maintain the health and function of the soft tissue structure (muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia) of the human body

  • Remedial – is the objective assessment, treatment, and rehabilitation of the signs, symptoms, and causes of biomechanical dysfunction or injury, using specific mobilization techniques, in order to restore normal health and function

  • Lymphatic drainage – a gentle whole-body treatment that relaxes the nervous system and aids the body's immune system

  • Aromatherapy – essential oils made from selected flowers and plants are added to the massage oil for their particular therapeutic properties. For example, the scent of sandalwood is thought to reduce nervous tension

A head massage may help relieve stress and reduce tension. It may also ease migraine or headache pain, lower blood pressure, improve circulation to your head and neck, and promote hair growth.


Scar Tissue, Edema, Numbness


As scar tissue builds up, muscles become Shorter and Weaker. Nerves can become trapped. All these problems can cause reduced range of motion, loss of strength, and pain as well as tingling, numbness, and weakness.

Image by Sean Thomas
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This is a hands-on body treatment that leaves patients feeling relaxed and renewed. Post-op swelling typically peaks about 3 to 7 days after surgery and then gradually subsides, with only minor swelling evident after the first month or two. By seeing an edema therapist we can decrease healiing time.


For Medical & Functional Needs

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) uses a precise manual therapy technique to help move fluid away from swollen, congested areas and toward healthy lymph nodes. It is gentle, relaxing, and supportive of the whole lymphatic system.

Combined with exercise, and skincare, MLD is a cornerstone of any lymphedema management plan.

Surgical removal of lymph nodes, radiation scarring, injury, and infection can cause lymph to accumulate in the tissues rather than move along fluid pathways. Depending on the site of the surgery or radiation, swelling may occur in the leg, trunk, face, or abdomen. This kind of edema – lymphedema – may show up as:

  • Swelling

  • Tiredness

  • Pain or discomfort

  • Weakness

  • Tight skin

  • Reduced range of motion

  • Heaviness

  • Hardening of the tissue

The lymphatic system a key network to treat when the body is working through disease or injury.

How does it work?

The Lymph nodes and lymph network pick up fluid in the interstitial space that has been forced out of the blood via the capillaries. From the ~20 liters of fluid that is squeezed out daily, ~17 liters are reabsorbed immediately, but ~3 liters remain, to be taken up and processed by the lymphatic system. If this fluid is not reabsorbed properly, the interstitial space will back-up with fluid, creating edema (swelling).  

Once inside the lymphatic vessels, the fluid moves in a loop through the body and between the organs, carrying (picking up and depositing) white blood cells and proteins where needed. Finally, the lymph is deposited back into the bloodstream directly to the heart, where it goes on to be filtered by the kidneys and liver. This intricate network is like a plumbing system in the body, clearing waste and keeping your system healthy.

Lymphatic vessels are accessible via light touch through a charted network that is dispersed in the body. The original lymphatic drainage technique was established by a husband and wife team, Emil and Estrid Vodder (PhD, ND) in the 1920s and 30s, when the lymphatic system was first gaining recognition for its imperative role in the body.

The specific, light, repetitive strokes catch the skin just slightly and make it spring back, causing the vessels (which have one-way valves that look like a thatched roof) to open — pressing too hard causes the valves to close. These vessels, when activated correctly, pick up excess fluid that the blood capillaries have dumped into the interstitial space and transport it to lymph nodes for filtration.

The Vodder technique is the foundation for all lymphatic drainage techniques used nowadays by the medical community.

What Happens to Lymphatic Circulation During Disease and Injury?

When the immune system is constantly fending off invaders, it can feel like a deep, sluggish burn-out.

After a sudden physical injury or when recovering after a surgery, the body increases its volume of infection-fighting white blood cells and lays down scar tissue. Heat and swelling can occur along the lymphatic pathway, and though inflammation is a natural part of the body’s healing process, recovery is facilitated with lymphatic drainage, which stimulates fluids to filter and reabsorb more readily. Healthy scar tissue formation is greatly assisted by the removal of extra fluid in the extracellular space (where scar tissue forms); it can actually reduce the amount of scar tissue that develops.

There is no underestimating how important exercise is for healing after an injury or surgery, and for the health of the organism as a whole. In the initial stages of healing, however, such as directly after an operation or bodily injury, recovery means remaining in place to let things heal. Since the lymphatic flow is primarily activated by muscular contraction, a lack of movement significantly diminishes lymphatic flow. To ease discomfort and speed recovery, this backup of fluid is well serviced by lymphatic balancing.

What YOU Can Do To Prepare For Your Session

  • Come well-hydrated but preferably not having chugged a glass of water just prior to a session.


  • Do not schedule any high-energy activities after a session. The body takes time to integrate.

  • After a session, you may feel a reduction in pain and swelling, an increase in range of motion, and/or sleepiness.

  • It is possible that during the morning following an appointment, you notice an increase in symptoms – this is called a Herx reaction and is due to the movement of toxins from the tissues into the organs for the last steps of elimination.  

Unshaven Black Man Touching Neck With Br

Who is Lymphatic Drainage Beneficial For?

Pre and post-operative needs: cosmetic surgery, whiplash, stroke, headache, oral cancer (patients with edema that is a result of medical treatment, such as following lymph node removal or radiation therapy).

Who is Lymphatic Drainage Not Recommended For?

Patients with cancer that have untreated or metastasizing neoplasms, including melanomas. Patients with a pacemaker, epilepsy, acute allergy, active flu, thrombosis/phlebitis, cardiovascular deficiencies, renal issues.

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