Background: Osteopathic practitioners utilize manual therapies called lymphatic pump techniques (LPT) to treat edema and infectious diseases. While previous studies examined the effect of a single LPT treatment on the lymphatic system, the effect of repeated applications of LPT on lymphatic output and immunity has not been investigated. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to measure the effects of repeated LPT on lymphatic flow, lymph leukocyte numbers, and inflammatory mediator concentrations in thoracic duct lymph (TDL).
Methods and results: The thoracic ducts of five mongrel dogs were cannulated, and lymph samples were collected during pre-LPT, 4 min of LPT, and 2 hours post-LPT. A second LPT (LPT-2) was applied after a 2 hour rest period. TDL flow was measured, and TDL were analyzed for the concentration of leukocytes and inflammatory mediators. Both LPT treatments significantly increased TDL flow, leukocyte count, total leukocyte flux, and the flux of interleukin-8 (IL-8), keratinocyte-derived chemoattractant (KC), nitrite (NO2(-)), and superoxide dismutase (SOD). The concentration of IL-6 increased in lymph over time in all experimental groups; therefore, it was not LPT dependent.
Conclusion: Clinically, it can be inferred that LPT at a rate of 1 pump per sec for a total of 4 min can be applied every 2 h, thus providing scientific rationale for the use of LPT to repeatedly enhance the lymphatic and immune system.