Lymphatic drainage massage or simply lymph massage is a gentle massage technique used to improve the flow of lymph fluid in your body, in order to help lymphoedema.
Many qualified massage therapists and doctors use it to treat health problems that stem from blocked or sluggish lymph flow, such as cellulite, edema, swollen ankles and overall heaviness, irregular bowel movements and headaches. Lymph drainage massage can also help relieve sore muscles and improve range of motion.
Lymphatic drainage massage works by moving lymph, which is a clear fluid containing waste products that travel through the lymphatic sistem.
The lymphatic system is the body’s natural filter, collecting and removing toxins (like cellular waste and bacteria) from our bodies at a rate of more than two quarts per day!
Our bodies produce between three and six pints of lymph every day. After travelling through the lymphatic system and removing toxins, it leaves the body through the cells in urine.
When our bodies are producing more toxins than usual, this causes an overabundance of fluid in the extracellular matrix, called edema. Lymph is pushed from our tissues into the interstitial spaces, which results in swelling. This swelling can occur within one area or several areas throughout the body.
What is lymphatic drainage?
Lymph drainage is a form of specialized massage focused on the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. This massage aims to help the body maintain proper blood circulation, body fluid balance, and immune functions.
Lymphatic drainage massage targets swelling that happens when your lymphatic system is overloaded. Involves manipulating specific areas of your body to help move lymph through the system.
Lymphatic drainage can be done in several ways, including manual lymphatic drainage by a qualified therapist, or simple lymphatic drainage techniques a person can do at home.
How does lymphatic drainage massage work?
Manual lymphatic drainage treatment is focused on the benefits of lymph circulation. In the normal system, lymph fluid flows in a single direction through the body. It’s moved via lymph capillaries and then collected through larger lymphatic vessels and then circulated through veins that are close to the collarbone (subclavian). The premise of MLD is to assist the flow of lymphatic fluid through the body, which stimulates the lymph nodes and reduces “stagnation” of fluids in specific areas.
There are two important stages in performing a lymphatic drainage massage.
- Clearing: At this stage, lymph fluid is released into the tissues, by creating a vacuum with gentle pressure. In this way, the massaged area is prepared to receive more fluids, thus creating a flushing effect.
- Reabsorption: At this stage, the lymphatic fluid is moved to the lymph nodes.
What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage?
A lymphatic drainage massage is a form of massage therapy that uses techniques to stimulate the lymphatic system. The lymphatic sistem is responsible for draining excess fluid from tissues and transporting it back to the bloodstream.
The benefits of lymphatic drainage massage include:
- Improved circulation to the skin and muscles
- Improved elimination of toxins from the body
- Improved respiratory function (due to an increase in blood flow)
- Reduced swelling and inflammation
- Better absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream
- Reduced fatigue and increased energy levels
- Decreased risk of infection (due to an increase in blood flow)
- Decreased risk of cancer (due to an increase in oxygenation)
- Relief from pain in joints due to arthritis or fibromyalgia (due to an increase in oxygenation)
- Increased immunity against viruses and bacteria (due to an increase in blood flow)
- Improved circulation and blood flow in the body
- Decreased risk of heart disease (due to an increase in blood flow).
Lymphatic drainage massage is important to everyone, as it helps maintain a healthy immune system and fluid levels in the body. Having a lymphatic drainage massage every day helps to keep the body’s immune system strong.
This is important for fighting off any future illnesses and infections, as this is how our bodies are able to ward off germs and bacteria. Another reason why people have lymphatic drainage massage done is that it can help with weight loss.
The most common treatment for lymphedema is to wear tight compression bandages or stockings, but manual lymphatic drainage massage can help enhance the benefits. If you experience lymphedema after a mastectomy, a surgical procedure that involves the removal of breast tissue to treat or prevent breast cancer, a lymph drainage massage can help ease mild to moderate symptoms post-surgery.
How to perform a lymphatic drainage massages
Lymphatic massage is a treatment performed by trained professionals, but individuals can learn to perform basic drainage techniques at home.
If you would like to perform a lymphatic drainage massage at home, then a doctor or massage therapist can guide you on safe and effective ways to drain lymphatic fluid.
Most of these exercises can be performed either by standing, sitting, or lying down, as long as you are comfortable.
How to perform lymphatic massage on the legs
Lymphatic drainage for the legs requires manual massage. It is difficult to do effectively without a professional understanding of the specific movements needed for lymphatic self-massage isn’t advised. If you’re looking to utilize lymphatic drainage to treat your heavy legs, seek out an expert who is proficient and skilled in lymphatic drainage, for example, a masseur aesthetician or physiotherapist.
Lymphatic drainage massages are performed on skin that is dry; no cream or oil is used prior to. You sit on a massage table in your underwear as the massage therapist gently massages your skin with gentle movements and applies varying degrees of pressure.
With the help of the fingers, the therapist “pushes” the lymphatic fluid like a pump and stimulates it to flow towards direction of lymph nodes. A lymphatic drainage session typically lasts between 60 and 90 minutes.
For the best outcomes, you need to be able to attend at least 5 or 6 massages least every two weeks.
Types of lymphatic drainage massage
There are many types of lymphatic drainage massage. Each method has its own set of techniques, but they all rely on the same principle: gentle movements to stretch the skin in the direction of lymph flow.
For example, a massage therapist may use lymphatic drainage massage techniques to move lymph from your tissues to your lymph nodes, which reduces swelling in the tissues.
- Vodder. A massage technique that moves the skin over the underlying tissues using repetitive, circular, and spiral-shaped movements with an increase in pressure followed by a decrease in pressure.
- Foldi – This method is based on the Vodder method, this technique emphasizes relaxation and pushing. Helps you manage edema by doing ‘enclosing strokes’.
- Casley-Smith. The Casley-Smith lymph drain uses gentle and slow strokes to transport fluids, proteins and waste products from areas where they are stagnating and accumulating because of problems within the lymphatic system. The strokes transport this fluid through the ‘lymphatic watersheds’ to areas in the body that are able to function as lymph nodes and lymph vessels.
- Leduc. This method uses hand movements to collect lymph fluid, before redirecting it towards the lymphatic system.
Each technique works in the same way. They all employ delicate movements that stretch the skin to increase lymph flow. The procedure must begin with the area of the limb that is closest to the torso and then proceed towards the outside. The procedure typically takes anywhere between 15 and 60 minutes.
General contraindications associated with a lymphatic drainage massage
Generally speaking, lymphatic drainage massage is a safe treatment to relieve lymphedema. There are some conditions and circumstances where lymphatic drainage massage is not recommended:
- You have a heart condition.
- You have renal failure.
- You have blood clots.
- You have an infection (bacteria, fungi, viruses)
Lymphatic drainage massage cost UK
The lymphatic system, is an important component of the immune system and consists of several vessels that include our lymph. The lymphatic system is located under the skin and eliminates all kinds of bacteria, and toxins, in addition to excess water that has accumulated within our bodies.
But, the lymphatic system does not have a pumping mechanism and relies upon breathing and muscular movements to help the circulation of lymphatic fluid. In the end, the lymphatic system could slow down, leading to the appearance of puffiness, bloating and tired or weak immunity, as well as infections.
The lymphatic drainage procedure could assist in getting this lymph moving and clear pores while minimizing the appearance of puffy skin.
The price will vary depending on the location of your appointment and the experience level of your therapist. If you are looking for a professional therapist who has experience with lymphatic drainage massage, you should expect to pay more than if you were going to an amateur masseuse who only offers this service occasionally as part of their general practice.
The cost of lymphatic drainage massages varies between $70-$120per session with the help of skilled and qualified therapists from Deluxe Massage.
When performed correctly, lymphatic drainage massage provides many benefits. Lymphatic drainage massage has a number of benefits that can help your quality of life. Start incorporating it into your regular self-care routine, and you will likely see these benefits for yourself.
As demonstrated, MLD is a proven medical treatment that can boost your immune system, purify your blood, reduce pain from injuries and muscle soreness and promote clear skin. If you’re looking for relief from aches and pains or the signs of aging, look into scheduling an appointment with a registered lymphatic drainage therapist.
What does a lymphatic drainage massage do?
These massages are often used to treat chronic pain, edema (swelling) caused by injuries or illness, as well as lymphedema (a condition where fluid builds up in tissues).
Is lymphatic drainage massage effective?
Yes, lymphatic drainage massage is an effective treatment for a variety of issues related to circulation and swelling.
Lymphatic drainage is a type of massage that aims to improve the movement of lymph fluid throughout the body, which can help reduce swelling and inflammation. Lymphatic fluid carries excess fluid, bacteria and other toxins from tissues back into the bloodstream.
Regularly and correctly practising this technique will help with the health of the immune system and reduce inflammation. Studies also show that it can help with arthritis, headaches, allergies, depression and more.
How do I drain my lymphatic myself?
If you want to try lymphatic drainage on yourself, here’s how:
1. Use your hands to massage your skin over your lymph nodes—the round bumps under your lower jaw, behind your ears, along the sides of your neck and shoulders, along your collarbone, in the middle of your chest, in the armpits, at the top of each thigh, and on the soles of your feet—for one minute at a time. You should do this for 10-15 minutes per day.
2. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to help flush out toxins from your system (you can also use apple cider vinegar).
3. If you have any health issues or injuries that could increase swelling in any area of your body (including those areas mentioned above), consult with a doctor before trying these exercises on yourself!
Who should not get a lymphatic massage?
If you have recently had surgery, it is best to wait three weeks before getting your lymphatic massage. Your body needs time to heal, and the massage will not help with this process.
If you have a fever or any kind of infection, do not get a lymphatic massage. The massage could spread the infection or make it worse. You should also avoid getting a lymphatic massage if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If you have any type of cancer, talk to your doctor before getting a lymphatic massage. This treatment can speed up tumor growth in some people with cancer.