Practising “self-care” is trending at the moment, because people are finally realising that the better you treat yourself, the more optimally you function in every area of life.
One of the best ways we can manage stress is to go for a relaxing massage. But not all massages are created equal.
Today we are going to explain lymph drainage massage, which is both soothing to the soul and also excellent for your health.
What is the lymphatic system and what is its role in the human body?
The lymphatic system is composed of many tissues and organs, which made up of vessels. These vessels are responsible for removing toxins and waste products from the body. An example of places you’ll find lymph vessels includes the groin area, in the armpits, and in the neck for instance.
The lymph nodes are also the body’s “sounding alarm” when something isn’t right. If there’s an infection, these nodes will become inflamed and swollen. They also form part of white blood cell development, which will rush to the area of the infection trying to fight it off. As an important part of the immune system, they are also responsible for removing the waste from the body.
Diseases related to the lymphatic system
When the lymphatic system is exposed to infections and depending on the infection, will make it less capable of fighting off infection and toxins. Some cancers affect the lymphatic system causing enlarged as well as blocked nodes. Infections like strep throat and HIV can lead to lymph node enlargement. A specialist will let the patient undergo tests and scans to verify the disease or infection.
What is medical lymph drainage massage?
While this may not be the same as your average spa day massage options, it offers very important medical benefits for the body.
The lymphatic system does not have its own mechanism to move fluids through your body (like your circulatory system does), it relies on passive pressure from the surrounding tissues to drain lymph fluid.
Lymph drainage massage is a special massage technique that stimulates the flow of lymph fluid, allowing your body to drain fluid more effectively.
Benefits of Lymph drainage massage
Lymph drainage massage is a way to help the lymph nodes to dispose of the toxins and accumulated lymphatic fluid.
- Massage can benefit skin condition
- The relaxation effect can help with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
- It helps reduce the discomfort of rheumatic disorders such as arthritis
- Reduces the effects of vertigo
- Can improve the immune system because the nodes are functioning better
- Improvement in sleep quality
- Removes toxins from the body (the body can improve detoxification when the lymphatic system functions better)
Who is eligible for lymph drainage?
Lymph drainage massage is not only limited to sick patients, breastfeeding moms or patients recovering from surgery. In fact, even a healthy person can benefit because it helps improve the system as a whole.
Narrowing down the list of eligible candidates may include but not be limited to the following:
- Patient suffering from edemas (Fluid retention causing swelling in the legs or arms)
- Limb swelling after surgery
- Patients suffering from lupus
- Chronic fatigue sufferers (as it allows you to feel more relaxed and even energized as the body removes toxins)
- Patients who have emotional imbalances (PMS, menopause, anxiety)
- People who want to reduce cellulite
- Patients who want to build a stronger immune system (are easily infected with the flu or cold)
- Relieves pressure caused by sinusitis
- Athletes looking to recover from a hard workout
What to expect from lymph massage
Lymphatic massage treatment is tailored to what the patient needs and their condition. Therefore, the duration of the massage may vary depending on what is treated. Sessions can range from 30 to 90 minutes per patient.
As with any medical examination, your therapist will want to establish some health background information. In this way, they can be more certain about what is causing the problem and how best to treat it.
The massage itself is not painful as some massages can be. Rather, it is light continuous pressure on the top of your skin, and the therapist always works in the direction towards your heart. This type of massage is relaxing and soothing.
How often should you have lymph drainage massage?
The massage treatments vary from one patient to the next and the amount of therapy depends on what’s being treated. It also depends on the patient’s current condition physically as well as their health history. Some therapists may recommend 2 to 4 weeks after surgery and sometimes it may take 4 to 6 weeks for patients to complete the treatment.
Manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD)
A therapist performs the treatment with the patient lying down; however, the position differs when the patient is suffering from lymphoedema of the neck and or head.
The process involves
There are 4 types of MLD
Hand movements on the body are mostly used to treat fibrosis
Foldi is effective for edemas and uses encircling strokes
- Casely Smith
The Casely Smith method uses effleurage hand movements
The Leduc method uses a “reabsorption” technique
Understanding more of the technique
Earlier on in this post, we mentioned that this massage is different from regular massages and one of the differences is that it doesn’t use oil.
Light, gentle movements are essential to avoid too much pressure on the lymphatic tissues. The technique happens over a slow process to mimic the slow movement of lymphatic nodes through the body.
Why repeat the same strokes over and over? This is essential because it ensures that the therapist achieves the movement required by the lymph nodes. In other words, the slow repetitive strokes of the hand are essential for this
Are there any risks?
There are some disadvantages of lymphatic drainage and these include the following:
Not good for machinery operators
It isn’t suitable for heavy machinery operators because of the fact that the treatment can cause drowsiness and sometimes fatigue in some patients.
Discomfort after surgery
Some patients may feel discomfort during treatment if they’ve had surgery, especially around the surgery site.
Heart rate and blood sugar fluctuations
In some cases, patients experienced a change in their heart rate and some even fluctuations in their blood sugar levels.
It isn’t meant for patients with kidney damage
The treatment isn’t suited to patients who suffer from kidney problems.
Your therapist and doctor will assess your condition. A decision for treatment and procedures is made after a full assessment.
Note: if you are pregnant or suffering from any infections, diseases or chronic conditions, be sure to check with your physician before receiving any alternative therapy.
If you’re looking to improve your health by implementing natural healing techniques and options then lymphatic massage is highly recommended. The truth is, as we’ve already noted that lymph drainage works in healthy people too as it only makes their body work even better.
A holistic approach to health is about helping the body activate its inherent ability to heal itself
Lymph drainage massage helps your body’s most vital systems become better at what it already does best and that is fight infection.
The process is safe and gentle and is very worthwhile for optimal health. Finding a certified therapist is essential in order to get proper treatment and start your healing process.
Have you considered detoxification methods like lymph drainage massage? If not, why not try it and see how it benefits you.