Spotlight: Carol McDaniel
by Colleen M.Quinn
One of the first things Carol McDaniel will say about her work is: “My philosophy is to help people empower themselves and make healthy choices.” There is no better way to describe the work she does through her practice, Lymphworks LLC, based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Carol is a bodywork practitioner with many talents and experience. At the core of her practice is her spirit for helping others, and the attitude that her work is a tool for those seeking healing or to improve their health.
Carol's extensive experience with bodywork provides each of her clients with sessions tailored to their needs. She's trained in myofascial release, Healing Touch, lymph drainage therapy (LTD), and several types of massage therapy including oncology massage, to name a few. This collection of bodywork techniques are all based on the principle of gentle touch and manipulation of muscles to maintain health and balance in the body.
Myofascial release focuses on the body's fascia, which is the connective tissue that surrounds muscles and gives the body shape. Stretching and rolling the fascia and skin are incredibly helpful for stiffness and pain resulting from injury and inflammation. Healing Touch is an increasingly common therapy that balances the body's energy system using a light touch over the body, or simple hand motions through the body's energy field. Massage therapy is great for releasing tension, improving relaxation, and aiding in healing for anyone including athletes and clients dealing with chronic illness.
The list of how bodywork supports the body, the immune system, and overall health could be pages long. The most important aspect of these therapies is that they are noninvasive, extremely gentle, natural, and will only provide positive results. Touch is one of the most basic ways in which people interact and communicate, and it follows that it would facilitate as much healing and positivity as it does through bodywork.
Carol's specialization, however, is in lymph drainage therapy, or LTD, a unique treatment that focuses on the workings of the lymphatic system. This network of lymph nodes connected by thousands of tiny vessels acts as the body's filter, circulating lymphatic fluid through the body. More than 700 lymph nodes break down the waste that can't be cycled back into the blood.
Unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system has no central pump to keep things going. Instead, thousands of tiny muscles move lymph fluid through the lymphatic vessels. Regular movement and exercise also aid in the flow of lymph fluid throughout the body, as does stretching and deep breathing.
Lack of such movement can cause substantial stagnation, as do the usual culprits of poor diet, dehydration, and excess stress. “Anything that overloads the body will show up in the lymph system,” says Carol.
This is why lymph drainage therapy is also ideal for chemotherapy patients. For example, women who are dealing with or have survived breast cancer face obstacles like scarring from surgery, the toxicity of chemotherapy, and pain from cancer and various treatments, to name a few. Carol explains that this therapy is helpful in the tissue regeneration that takes place after radiation treatment. It's also very supportive of the immune system, which is drastically weakened by chemotherapy treatments.
Additionally, the lymphatic system itself is usually affected by cancer-related surgeries, either because lymph nodes are removed, or they are overwhelmed by the imbalance in the body's health caused by surgery. “It's really important to get on top of things early,” she says, explaining that sooner is better for adding lymph drainage therapy to a self-care routine.
The benefits of LDT and other manual therapies do not end at maintaining health and fighting chronic illnesses. For Carol, they were essential to her recovery from injuries she developed as an athlete. “I was a fanatical swimmer,” she says, describing her love of swimming in high school and college. “I developed tendinitis and had a lot of shoulder pain, but I didn't want to quit.” She says she tried several ways to manage the pain, but in the end nothing really helped.
“Luckily in college, my swim coach invested in me by sending me to a massage therapist,” she says. It turned out to be an investment in her life and career, too. Carol spent years working in the corporate world, but eventually realized she was happiest doing what she loved, using bodywork to help others in their healing processes. While in massage school, she received treatment from an LTD practitioner, and that's where things really started to take shape. “I literally jumped off the table,” she says of her first LTD session. “Whatever he had done made an instant improvement.”
Carol studied the therapy and started to integrate LTD into her massage practice, but later it became her specialization. She says that her work is often evenly split between massage therapies and LTD. “Over time, clients get to know what works best for them,” she says. Some prefer massage therapy, while some are drawn more to LTD. Others let Carol give them the combination she thinks is best.
For people trying out LTD for the first time, Carol strongly recommends an initial 30 minute session. Although this therapy is very gentle, the cleansing effects are certainly potent. Each person will experience the outcome of LTD differently, but common effects can be feeling a little sweaty, increased urination, feeling hungry and thirsty, and having restful sleep afterwards. After several treatments, more long-term effects can include feeling energetic, a stronger immune system, and even more stable blood sugar levels.
Depending on the health issue resolution could take anywhere from 30 minutes to 10 sessions, says Carol, as the type and extent of injury or problem varies so much. The most important aspect is the healing process itself, and that is something that reveals itself in every session.
“People see results and so they keep coming back for upkeep,” even after their particular issue has been resolved, Carol says. She adds that it's important to support the effects of LTD with healthy eating habits, drinking lots of water, and keeping toxins in the body like alcohol to a minimum.
The clients at her practice are the greatest examples of how much LTD has made a difference in people's lives, says Carol. One client in particular, a woman with a bilateral knee replacement, had been dealing with painful swelling five years after her surgery. After two 30-minute sessions, the woman was able to sit on the floor to play with her grandkids for the first time in years. Even her range of motion had improved dramatically. Carol followed this success with two more sessions to take care of scar tissue.
Carol's motivation to bring LTD to those who need it most is driven by personal experiences. She works closely with cancer groups, a subject she knows very well. Having lost her mother to cancer, Carol is familiar with the horror and pain of cancer – these are the very things she seeks to ease for others through LTD and various bodywork techniques. Carol has also been specially trained in the conditions associated with cancer and chemotherapy side effects, as well as having experience working with oncologists and physicians.
“The health aspect of LTD is reflective of myself,” she says, describing the role of athleticism and good health in her life. Previous to her work in massage and LTD, Carol was working hard in the corporate world, a career path that ultimately left her fatigued and worn out. She recovered from this immense fatigue with a variety of natural methods, including the greatly helpful experience with LTD.
Another group of people that Carol reaches out to are those who suffer from chronic allergies and immune disorders, such as fibromyalgia. “LTD is a natural way to deal with these issues of the immune system,” she says. “I'm a firm believer in the body's ability to heal itself – sometimes it just needs the motivation to do that.”
Carol says that one of the beautiful and surprising things about the healing process is that the body's course of action can't always be predicted. For example, a client may come to Carol for LTD as a way to solve sinus issues. After treatment, however, they may also find that they sleep better, have a stronger immune system, and have more energy as well. “You never know what your body will do!” she says. “When your lymph system is working, when you have a clean filter, everything works better.”
The lymph system is merely part of the larger whole and LTD can be part of a larger health routine. While working with clients, Carol may detect issues that can be further helped by changes in lifestyle, nutrition, or an additional therapy. “The goal is to get someone all the support they need,” she says. “Sometimes issues reveal themselves during treatment and they need to see someone else.”
Her LTD and bodywork are also part of a larger picture of helping and outreach. In her quest to make these therapies available to anyone who needs them, Carol volunteers a substantial amount of time to non-profit groups. Hope Lives Breast Cancer Support Center and Breast Friends of Windsor are two groups with whom Carol is deeply involved with. Both groups now offer lymph drainage therapy and other types of manual therapies through Carol, in addition to other complimentary services. She also is a major volunteer in the pilot Healing Touch Program at Poudre Valley Hospital in Fort Collins, working with patients dealing with cancer and chemotherapy.
When asked about her fervent work and volunteer schedule, Carol simply says “I love coming to work.” This love is what shows through in her work and volunteerism, and makes clients' experiences with her effective and deeply caring. As one client writes on her webpage, “What separates her from other therapists is her ability to tune into your body’s current state and gear your treatment based on where you are at that day ... Her care is personalized and that is a gift.” A gift that Carol is always more than happy to share.
About Colleen Quinn
Colleen Quinn graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and Mass Communication. A writer for most of her life, she has been writing for Whisperingtree.net for over two years. In that time, she’s had the opportunity to meet with many practitioners and masters of the healing arts. Using her years of customer service experience and time as an intern reporter, Colleen provides a unique means of expression for each practitioner she meets. She believes that honest interest and open ears are paramount for learning and understanding the world around us. Through her writing, Colleen offers readers a valuable insight into the work of those who are doing so much to help others.
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