Before and after lymphatic drainage and how it changed my life

Before and after lymphatic drainage and how it changed my life


Here you can see two photos of me, taken a year or so apart. The first photo was before I even knew what  a lymphatic treatment was, while the second photo was a few months into my treatment.

My whole life I have been called “baby face”. I have always been self-conscious about the roundness of my face, desperate for the cheekbones and contouring I saw on so many women around me. It didn’t matter how much I exercised, what weight I was or what food I consumed, my face stayed round. The best way to describe how it looked and felt is swollen, my face was swollen. I didn’t understand why and I definitely didn’t know there was anything I could do about it. Until I met naturopath Charmaine D. I went to Charmaine for hormonal support transitioning off the pill, but where I’ve ended up is far beyond what I could’ve imagined.

Charmaine noticed instantly that my face was rounder than what my body’s build allowed and suggested we begin lymphatic treatment. For this treatment to start, I needed to really understand what it was I was dealing with and why.

What is the lymphatic system? The lymphatic system is a drainage network that removes cellular debris, large proteins, foreign bodies, bacteria, viruses, toxins and excess fluid from our organs and vessels. Our lymph nodes act as ‘purification centres’ and is where the lymph fluid moves through. Its primary function is to protect our body from illness and accumulated waste. The lymphatic system circulates lymph throughout the body, approximately 1.5 to 2 litres. When activated efficiently, this can increase to 10-30 litres per day. As the lymphatic system is not connected to the heart, it cannot rely on the heart pumping to circulate, but rather other methods such as muscle contraction. There are many reasons why the lymph vessels or lymph nodes become clogged or stagnant such as stress, illness, emotional shock, dehydration and lack of physical activity. When this stagnation occurs, it can result in fluid retention and swelling.

This fluid retention and swelling is what was wrong with my face. Due to constant illness as a child, my immune system and lymphatic system could never rest and recover, always being in the fight or flight mode, trying to protect me. This caused many issues, mainly fatigue and lymphostasis. In order for my lymphatic system above my heart to work properly, that stagnant fluid needed to be drained and my lymph nodes needed to relax.

This was done both externally and internally with herbs and lymphatic pumping. Charmaine D used botanical herbs that internally aid the drainage of the lymph nodes. This ensured that from the inside out, my lymphatic system was getting the support and drainage it needed. Externally, Charmaine was using a mechanical lymphatic drainage pumping machine, engineered in South Australia. It works similarly to Chinese cupping in that it mechanically massages the lymph nodes to stimulate the deep and superficial lymphatic vessels, which in turn promotes drainage and aids in stagnation. Unlike Chinese cupping, it does not cause bruising, but rather utilises strong puffs of air to stimulate that lymphatic massage.

Charmaine D performed this drainage treatment on half of my face for the first time and asked me to cup both sides to feel the difference, and after only one treatment there was a drastic difference. Fast forward two years later and with a few months of internal herbal treatment, as well as consistent lymphatic drainage pumping, my face is now the shape and size it should be, with no swelling. More than how it looks, however, I also have more energy, am less likely to feel fatigued, and don’t get sick as often.

Through Charmaine’s extensive knowledge on skin and naturopathy, she was able to heal me from the inside, as well as the outside, in a way that utilises natural products and doesn’t cause more harm in the process. For anyone who is concerned about their lymphatic system, for the face or entire body, I highly recommend reaching out to Charmaine D for a consultation.

Cell Defence Skincare and Tapping

Cell Defence Skincare and Tapping

Naturopath and skin expert, Charmaine D, has formulated a skincare line called Cell Defence. Cell Defence is a high performing, botanically based skincare program formulated with an understanding and belief of the concept that plant ingredients are far safer, gentler and better for human health than synthetic chemicals. It was this belief that initiated the formulation of Cell Defence and for it to be crafted from the infusion of all things pure in plant chemistry. A chemical free product prepared in line with the Do No Harm guidelines of a Naturopath. Treat the cause don’t band-aid the issue. The major differentiation of this skincare line is its combination of pure, active ingredients which are jam-packed into every formulation. Each preparation is synergistically combined to work together in harmony with your own skin. When purchasing a skincare product individuals need to be confident in the knowledge that the product’s ingredients will work harmoniously with their skin’s requirements. With this in mind, Cell Defence is backed by a Naturopath that has had her own skincare clinic for over 25 years.

Although always beneficial, how we apply the products onto our skin may have the ability to increase the benefits. For example, after cleansing your face with the Hibiscus Flower Foaming Cleansing Gel, and toning your face with the Skin Saviour Toner, applying the next product; Lilac Rebalancing Plant Stem Cell Serum through gentle tapping may increase the product’s benefits, and may ensure the skin absorbs it more thoroughly, allowing for penetration at a cellular level.

Tapping is more commonly associated with EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) tapping, and used for emotional release and energy rebalancing. Under the belief that energy and emotions can become trapped and stagnant in the face. This treatment has been used on people suffering with anxiety and is similarly associated with acupressure and massage. 

Therefore, tapping of a plant-based, healing product into the skin on our face may not only provide benefits from the botanically-based skincare, but also provide a relaxing routine, and potential emotional release.

Performing any routine mindfully, ensuring all action is rooted in grace and self-care, can significantly increase it’s benefits, from eating mindfully, to moving our body mindfully. It is therefore plausible that applying our skincare mindfully and with grace can transform the usually rushed, mundane chore, to a time of self-care and meditation.

Though EFT has trigger points and correct methods, tapping product into your skin does not need to be so strict. For a brief introduction to tapping, see the video of a Cell Defence customer tapping her serum into her skin. With no right or wrong way, just ensure to tap gently. This customer is a long-term client of Naturopath, Charmaine D, and has been suffering from histamine and hormone-induced acne. By utilising these botanically-based, gentle skincare products, she has found an increase in skin health and moisture-retention, as well as scar reducing and soothing. She also states the process of tapping her products every morning and evening has created a mindful ritual that resets her headspace. She also states that the tapping may be helping her circulation and prevent stagnation to her lymphatic system (see lymphatic blog).

For acne healing and lowering histamines it is recommended by Charmaine D to use the Lilac Rebalancing Serum for the full face. For a boost under the eyes, it is recommended to use the Saffron Eye Firming Serum. All of the Cell Defence serums benefit from being tapped into the skin gently and with care.

For more information on the skincare program or Charmaine D’s naturopathic and skincare expertise, book a consultation online to begin your journey to healing and oneness.



Is Vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract more beneficial than resveratrol itself?

Is Vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract more beneficial than resveratrol itself?

And how can the skin and body benefit from this amazing extract?

Vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract (GSE), is making its debut as a superior antioxidant and is gradually proving to hold it’s own in contributing towards today’s sophisticated environment of natural health and beauty remedies. 

Winemaking can be dated back to about 8,000 years ago in Georgia, a country in the Caucasus region between Asia and Europe.  It is now practised worldwide.  In the past, grape seeds were disposed of as a waste product.  Recently, many seedless varieties have been introduced and have become extremely popular.  Despite this, the future is proving to be far from grim for these little seeds as studies progressively reveal that the seeds could actually provide many of the health and beauty promoting benefits of grapes.

Too many free radicals in our body can create an imbalance, leading to oxidative stress and problems such as tissue damage and loss of collagen.  We may feel fatigued; suffer from muscle or joint pain, inflammation or blocked arteries; experience brain fog; or our skin might start to display fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots or loose, sagging skin.  Free radicals can occur naturally in the body or can be introduced from outside by things like pollution, and can damage cells and contribute to the ageing process.  We need some assistance to protect against them and to fight them off with an aim to naturally stimulate our internal defence systems.  Introducing antioxidants into our health routine is an ideal way to introduce some armour and weapons for this task.

Oxidative Stress – What is it? | Advancing Health Naturally

As an aside, many of the Cell Defence products contain Vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract. Due to the research on its great benefits mentioned above and below.

Why is Vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract (GSE) so superior?

It has been reported that:

  • phenolic compounds are the main components of GSE;

  • an overwhelming 92% to 95% of these phenolic compounds can consist of oligomeric proanthocyanidins1 ;

  • Proanthocyanidins have displayed greater antioxidant capabilities than either of Vitamins C or E 2 (14) and

  • Proanthocyanidins have shown to reduce the lipid oxidation of the cellular structure of the skin and inhibit the production of free radicals (Markus and Morris 2008). 

GSE also contains Vitamin E, Linolenic acid, Potassium, Magnesium, Iron, Copper, Phosphorus, Calcium and Zinc. 

It has shown to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antitumor activity.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel concluded the vitis vinifera (grape) seed extract to be safe in the present practices of use and concentration in cosmetics.

All this makes it an even more powerful and safe weapon to help relieve many symptoms and to enhance and maintain skin integrity.

Safety Assessment of Vitis vinifera (Grape)-Derived Ingredients as Used in Cosmetics – Monice M. Fiume, Wilma F. Bergfeld, Donald V. Belsito, Ronald A. Hill, Curtis D. Klaassen, Daniel C. Liebler, James G. Marks, Ronald C. Shank, Thomas J. Slaga, Paul W. Snyder, F. Alan Andersen, 2014 (


Heart Disease

Grape seed extract has displayed the ability to help manage symptoms of cardiovascular disease by strengthening the defence systems against this disease and neutralising free radicals.  Studies have shown that GSE has cardio protective effects as well as the ability to minimise oxidative stress.  This is done firstly by lowering the oxidant levels and secondly by improving the antioxidant levels in plasma.  This results in helping to modify the existence of oxidation of the Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) which is the bad cholesterol.  This process can help minimise the risk of heart disease by addressing the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries and assisting with the prevention of blood clotting.  It can also assist in reducing leg swelling and edema and alleviating inflammation.

Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract induced mitochondria-ass… : Chinese Medical Journal (

Effect of Oligomeric Proanthocyanidin on the Antioxidant Status and Lung Function of Patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – PMC (


Studies have shown that there is an association between

fatigue generated by exhaustive exercise


oxidative stress injury, inflammation and abnormal functioning of the mitochondria.

“Mitochondrion is the place of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) generation. The human body needs more ATP to maintain muscle contraction and movement during exercise. However, exhaustive exercise can lead to damaged mitochondria that further cause skeletal muscle damage and fatigue.” 3 (38)

The anti-oxidant capabilities of GSPE have shown to assist with fatigue created by exhaustive exercise and also play a part in protecting against oxidative stress.  Studies have also suggested that GSPE has the potential to improve mitochondrial dysfunction and there is a possibility that it could be used to treat uremia toxin-induced injury.

Grape seed proanthocyanidin extract supplementation affects exhaustive exercise-induced fatigue in mice – PMC (


GSE may have an anti-oxidant effect which could have the potential to lower the risk of certain cancers.

GSE may also be able to help with type 2 diabetes 4 (15) , alzheimers disease and reducing iron levels of people with hemochromatosis.

Grape Seed: Health Benefits, Nutrients, Preparation, and More (


Protection from Ageing

Today, a large majority of the population want to maintain a youthful appearance.  The harmful effects of the sun and the environment can make this an arduous task.  Unfortunately, the facial skin is more prone to UV radiation, often resulting in photo ageing and giving skin a sagging and wrinkled appearance.  Grape Seed Extract can help to counteract this process by giving some extra support against the harmful UV rays.  Grape seed extract can increase hydration and help maintain collagen, revealing a smoother and more supple complexion.

Assessment of viscoelasticity and hydration effect of herbal moisturizers using bioengineering techniques – PMC (

Wound healing

Studies have indicated that Grape (Vitis vinifera) seed extract (GSE), with its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, may have the potential to advance wound healing.

Topical grape (Vitis vinifera) seed extract promotes repair of full thickness wound in rabbit – PubMed (

Grape seed extract: having a potential health benefits – PMC (

Plant Stem Cell technology in your skincare – what is it all about?

Plant Stem Cell technology in your skincare – what is it all about?

Naturopath and skin specialist, Charmaine Dickson, has been using plant stem cell technology in her clinic for skincare treatments for over fifteen years. Charmaine quotes “I am so happy with my own skin and am often told I don’t look my age.”

Since the age of eighteen, Charmaine has taken a holistic approach to her skincare regime.

By thirty-two she completed a diploma of beauty therapy and honoured her skin with a monthly facial. These facials, however, did not consist of laser, needling, vampire facials, injections or cosmetic surgery, nothing that penetrated her dermal layer.

So what then, was she doing to maintain her youthfulness and skin health during these facials? Diamond dermabrasion designed here in Adelaide, oxygen therapy to pulse plant cell serum into the skin, lymphatic sculpting and radio tripolar frequency. No chemicals, no procedures, no needles and no laser.

Charmaine has always been passionately wary about the chemicals used in skincare, and as a beauty therapist saw first hand how chemicals have the potential to steal mitochondrial energy and cell renewal and cause oxidative damage to the strength of the elastin and collagen in our skin.

(Keep an eye out for future blogs with more mitochondrial information and how it works to keep us younger in all aspects of all body’s systems!)

By using plant stem cells, stabilised by natural products (as opposed to chemical additives), you are harnessing nature’s healing and nature’s way of cell renewal. Additionally, the correct synergy of ingredients formulated in a molecular structure may assist transfollicular penetration (more blogs to come on transfollicular penetration of natural skincare ingredients).

In order for the fine molecularly formulated ingredients of the plant stem cells to penetrate, and therefore, really benefit the skin, the skin must be unclogged of the build up of chemical products over time. This clog may happen when using products with high levels of dimethicone (silicone). Dimethicone is used heavily in the beauty industry in moisturisers, foundations, sunscreen and hair products to ‘trap’ moisture and keep the skin and hair looking shiny and hydrated. This, however, is a misconception and this build-up of silicone creates the opposite effect of an impenetrable barrier over the skin and hair, leaving it unable to be touched by other, more beneficial, ingredients. For more information on dimethicone and what it’s really doing to our bodies, see our future blog from the Dimethicone Whisperer who is passionate in creating awareness of this ingredient and its real risks.

When using plant stem cells in beauty products, you are harnessing the abundant and highly available healing benefits of nature. In nature, these stem cells regenerate the plant after it has been injured or invaded by a foreign body. As human beings, we are also nature. Our chemistry is the same as the plants and trees that surround us every day. Therefore, working with nature’s gifts means you are working WITH your body, rather than against it. Chemicals in beauty products are man-made, there is no cohesion with us as nature’s beings. Plant stem cells used in topical products have thus been shown in studies to show great antioxidant benefits and cell renewal to our skin. Included below is an evidence based study that you may like to read to gain more insight into the brilliant technology that skin therapists and naturopaths are harnessing to assist their clients in healing their skin ailments without the use of chemical formulations.

The study linked states “ancient herbal sciences such as Ayurveda and Oriental Chinese Medicine have used plants as their mainstay for the treatment of chronic ailments, acute inflammation and for healing. In current times, for innovative cosmetic scientists, the goal is to connect the evidence from ancient practices to evidence in modern science and see where the application of plants in cosmetics can improve the delivery to the skin in a more effective, safer and targeted way. Plant science in this vein is currently in its infancy and research in herbal and physiologic effects on the skin could open new doors in cosmetics”.

As we are all aware, stress is hugely tolling on our body. Including a hastened ageing process. Although avoiding stressors is near impossible, Charmaine is proof that regardless of the amount of stress and length of those stressors in one’s life, the use of carefully curated, chemical-free, plant stem cell skincare products have the ability to rewind the damage done by stress. This damage can include, but is not limited to, an increase in the acidic environment within the body, inflammation, histamine release, impaired peripheral circulation of our blood and lymphatic system. All of which quickens the ageing process. As the plant stem cells have been proven to repair the stress damage to its own stems, it makes sense to use this power in our own skincare, delivering plant-based nutrition to our cells and bringing life back to stressed, aged skin.

With a philosophy of “do no harm”, Charmaine is so grateful for the studies of great cosmetic chemists who have brought this technology into her life as a skin therapist and naturopath.

A final quote from the linked study is as follows “a decline in the function of epidermal stem cells has been observed in association with shortened telomeres, which reduced proliferative potential in response to UV exposure leading to premature skin ageing and senescence. Telomeres are nucleoprotein complexes that cap and save the ends of chromosomes from degradation and abnormal recombination. Telomeres shorten with each cell division and progressive telomere shortening ultimately results in cellular senescence. The question therefore is ‘can plant phytohormones have the antioxidant and regenerative ability to prevent this ageing process in human skin?’”

We encourage you to read this study to see the answers for yourself in order to benefit from the understanding of this technology. You can purchase Charmaine’s plant stem cell skincare range from the Cell Defence website. In doing so you are eligible to book a free, complimentary 30 minute phone call with Charmaine to gain first-hand knowledge on how to move your own skin into a chemical-free world of renewal with nature’s medicine and naturopathic principles guiding you internally and externally on skin renewal processes.