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Kathleen Lisson: Certified Lymphedema Therapist on the Lymphatic System, Lymphedema & Dry brushing

Kathleen Lisson is certified in therapeutic massage and bodywork. She is a lymphedema therapist and also an author of not one, not two but three books!. She is based out of San Diego and works with a ton of medical professionals to help patients recover after surgical procedures. About 60% of her clientele are coming in after the infamous BBL procedure (for those who don't know BBL stands for Brazilian Butt Lift) as well as, those post face lifts, tummy tucks and liposuction! Some people come right after these procedures (referred by their physician) while other patients show up later when they start developing some lumps, bumps and even fibrosis. This episode is JAM-packed with everything about the lymphatic system and post surgical recovery! If you haven't listened to the episode yet, what are you waiting for? Go back and do it now! After you're done come here for some show notes:

What is the Lymphatic System?

- AKA the Recycling System (per Kathleen). The heart brings blood to each part of the body, the cells use this blood and secrete waste products which goes through the lymphatic system.

Now, why is this system important?

- We need to move in order to boost our lymphatic system (i.e.: swimming is a great exercise for this!) What you need to know is that lymph nodes filter the lymphatic fluid to help clear out those waste products!

What do you do as part of your TYPICAL treatment?

Kathleen uses a mixture of hot stones, negative compression and gentle massage techniques for patients post surgery. She combines these treatment options to offer the best possible outcome for her patients in the long-term!

If you can't get an appointment or if you're quarantining what should you do?

Dry brushing!

- There are different styles to dry brushing. For example, the Ayurvedic approach uses large strokes whereas, other techniques use smaller strokes to help stretch your skin in order to promote joint movement

- If you're looking for exfoliation you want to use long, sweeping strokes

- Remember: you don't need to buy any fancy brushes

- The idea is to do it when you're DRY so Kathleen recommends to dry brush in the MORNING before you take your shower, do it for about five to seven minutes, jump in the shower and feel energized afterwards!

- Start at your finger tips up to your shoulders and from your toes up your legs to the torso

- Make sure you're not being rough on your skin so it's not red and your skin should start feeling soft after about a week

Note: Every lymphatic system is different and affects the body differently (your body won't change in one day)

How to do an at home lymphatic massage?

Start out at the center of the nose and work your way out to the preauricular lymph nodes (that is the sweet spot right in front of the ears)

What to do if you have bags under your eyes?

If you have bags, festoons or any other weakness over the eyes the best thing to do is surgery, unfortunately. It is the only definitive method to end this problem.

Kathleen's experience with oncology massage?

- It was inspired by her own family/personal experience! She initially worked with oncology patients post surgeries such as, mastectomies, liposuction, etc.

Dry brushing is great for who? For everyone!

Future plans?

- Online massage classes to teach others

- Currently, in the middle of writing another book on nutrition after surgery!

Finally the moment we've all been waiting for: Secret Tips (& there's A LOT of them)

  1. Swimming eliminates the swelling from your legs!

  2. Time to look into plastic surgery consultations is right NOW (especially during this pandemic because there are lots of tele options)

  3. Everyone LOVES a good jade roller but also, you want to get a vibrating T bar (aka pulse facial massager)! Vibration helps the lymphatic system and assists with moisturizer absorption. How to properly use it? You want to start from the center of the face and go to each side like we mentioned with the home lymphatic massage. If you want to add it to your neck and décolleté area start from either your neck to the sides or from the ears down till you reach your clavicle. These various massaging techniques help eliminating waste and swelling by dumping right into the entry points of the lymphatic system.

  4. For eyes Kathleen recommends gel bead eye masks that help with de-puffing

Now, for some Post-Liposuction Tips

  1. Get the correct compression garment (that is ESSENTIAL.. they need to be perfectly fitted for you... enough said)

  2. Liposuction foam can help if you use it between the garment and your skin to avoid the pressure and the lines from developing on your skin. Side note: you can get crafty with your foam and you can make it into the shape you need. For example, if you have swelling near your naval area you can cut a circular piece of foam over that area and then use the rest of it where you typically would need it

  3. Elastic taping is another important thing! She prefers the CROSSLINQ products. Basically, it lifts the skin up and massages your body gently to alleviate pain (good to use after face lifts)

  4. After a face lift you should sleep on two pillows for at least one month and Kathleen recommends that you start sleeping on two pillows at least two weeks before your procedure so that you can get used to it

  5. Stretching helps reduce inflammation so once it's cleared by your surgeon start stretching RIGHT AWAY! (Maybe avoid hot yoga but other types are okay)

  6. To prevent the development or lessen any unwanted lumps or bumps or scar tissue formation, exercising is the key. Moving your body helps break all of this down!

  7. Self-lymphatic drainage is a thing. If you can't see your massage therapist you can go to They have a great FREE tutorial you can use (it's one of her mentors who is giving the tutorial so you know it's good).

  8. Sleep, alcohol and smoking which one should you do? Only sleeping. You want to get at least 8 hours of sleep, reduce alcohol intake and absolutely NO smoking

  9. Post surgery blues are NATURAL, you will be socially isolated for a little bit but it's okay and it will happen to EVERYONE. After about 3-4 weeks you may start to get nit picky with your results which is also normal. Just remember everything takes time!

  10. Rely on your EXPERTS when you need them. At the very least you have a surgeon, lymphatic therapist, primary care physicians, emergency services or an urgent care facility to which you can go to and ask specific questions about what is going on with you or if you are concerned with anything! So never hesitate to use these services.

Now, we're doing a giveaway of Kathleen's PLASTIC SURGERY RECOVERY HANDBOOK on our IG page, so visit @thesecretscope for more deets! If you want to support her buy a copy on Amazon or at Barnes & Noble:

Find her on her instagram, tiktok, facebook page @KathleenLisson and @plasticsurgeryrecoveryhandbook. Also make sure to visit her website at

That's all for this week, don't forget to leave us feedback, rate, review, subscribe and send in your questions so we can continue to improve as well as, provide you high quality content.

Disclaimer: The Content on our podcast/website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

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