What is lymphatic massage

Lymphatic Massage (also called Lymphatic Drainage and Manual Lymphatic Drainage) is a very gentle technique that helps push fluids through our lymphatic system, thus reducing inflammation, removing toxins and wastes, and boosting our immune system. The light strokes may feel odd to those who are accustomed to more deep tissue techniques, but a light touch is necessary to move fluids gently through the lymph vessels. That’s because most of our lymph vessels are very close to the skin, and more pressure would temporarily pinch them closed and not allow fluids to pass through as desired. One of the best things about the light, rhythmic strokes is that they activate the part of our nervous system that causes us to relax. Lymphatic Massage is very soothing and balancing.

Who Needs Lymphatic Massage?

Lymphatic Drainage is especially helpful for people who have swelling, perhaps because of a recent surgery or injury. Fluids rush in to injured places as part of our body’s natural defense response. But a build-up of fluids over time can actually inhibit healing. So with a doctor’s approval, we can perform lymphatic massage in traumatized areas to relieve swelling. Because it’s so gentle, lymphatic massage can be done at times when more pressure would not be appropriate. Elderly and medically fragile persons can receive lymphatic massage when they might not be able to tolerate other types of bodywork.

Lymphatic massage is especially helpful when a person has had surgery that includes the removal of lymph nodes. Once the lymphatic system is compromised, it cannot function as well as it should, and the fluids can build up. This can make us feel sluggish, and it can cause us to get sick more often. And it can cause swelling. If you know anyone who has lymphedema, it is swelling due to lack of lymph movement because lymph nodes have been removed.

But virtually anyone can benefit from lymphatic massage. It is relaxing, and it boosts our immune system. It’s a great technique to use if you are having trouble sleeping, if you’re suffering from symptoms of withdrawal, or if you’re just feeling irritable and out of sorts. And it is a very good idea to have lymphatic massage during cold and flu season, to stay healthy naturally!

Plus, if you have a “knot” in a muscle, there is inflammation there. Lymphatic Drainage Plusis a style of massage developed to combine the best of lymphatic drainage and deep tissue massage, to eliminate inflammation and then work muscle and connective tissue for a profoundly healing massage experience.

 

How Does It Work?

Every one of our cells takes in nutrients and eliminates wastes. Once a fluid is passed out of a cell membrane, it becomes “lymph” fluid. It contains substances that the cells want to get rid of, including wastes, pathogens and undigested proteins. Our lymphatic system is made up of a network of vessels that start out very, very small, collecting waste fluids from between cells; then the vessels connect and get larger and larger until they finally dump the fluids into veins for removal from our bodies through the kidneys. Lymph nodes help out along the way, filtering lymph fluid as it travels along its path.

Our lymphatic system of vessels looks a lot like our circulatory system of blood vessels. The difference is that our lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump, like our heart is the pump for the circulatory system. The “pump” for our lymphatic system is movement. This is one reason why we feel sluggish if we lay around all day. We have a high concentration of lymph vessels in the bottoms of our feet, which is one of the many reasons why walking is so good for us. Every step we take helps pump the lymph fluid out.

The lymph fluid moves along a one-way path toward very specific collection/dumping places near veins that will carry it the rest of the way out of the body. A massage therapist trained in lymphatic drainage can gently “push” the lymph fluid in the direction it needs to go. We use a combination of very light, gentle techniques that feel soothing and relaxing.