“Knowing more about the lymphatic system will bring answers to a broad array of diseases that historically nobody would have said are specifically lymphatic. But, now we understand that there are lymphatic implications certainly to cancer and its way of spreading…, to a variety of immune diseases, arthritis, chronic infection, inflammation,… mainstream cardiac diseases… and a lot of metabolic disorders.” -Dr. Stanley Rockson
Although a lymphatic massage is popular for being a highly effective medical massage, the many benefits that it provides has made this medical massage make its way to a variety of massage lovers.
What is a Lymphatic Drainage?
What is a lymphatic massage? More specifically, what is a lymphatic drainage? A lymphatic drainage massage is a type of massage that is specialized to help the lymphatic system generate healthy functioning of immune mechanisms, blood circulation, and to maintain the body’s balance of fluids.
Our body’s node and vessel system contains lymph. Lymph is a natural fluid in our body, that contains remnants of cell metabolism, including white blood cells, proteints, waste products, and other components of our immune system. Our body’s lymph nodes clean out body debris, and for this reason, ensure that the lymph passes through the largest number of nodes possible before returning to our circulatory system.
This massage is performed by a specialized massage therapist, who with the application of massage essential oils, uses various motions over the patient’s body in order to stimulate the lymphatic system. This way, the massage therapists generates the easy movement of the lymph through the lymph nodes and tissues. It is important to note, that the massage therapist is specialized to steer clear of the compression of vessels, while aiming to stimulate the lymphatic system.
The rhythmic movements and motions that the specialized therapist uses on the patient’s body, to stimulate the lymphatic system, include the following: compression, gliding, stretching, and cupping. Through these range of motion, the massage therapist is able to create a flowing movement of lymph, ensuring that the lymph is not confined and accumulated in certain areas of the body.
History of the Lymphatic Massage
The lymphatic massage was originally derived in Denmark, in the beginning of the 20th century, and more specifically, during the 1930s. It is a medical massage technique that was originated by Mr. Emil and Mrs. Estrid Vodder.
The effectiveness of “Lymphology,” and specifically the specialized massage strokes, quickly made the lymphatic drainage massage popular worldwide, and a highly recommended form of treatment within the international medical community for lymphedema, throughout the years. From an international standpoint, this technique first made its way to France, shortly after its development. It was not until the 1970s that the lymphatic massage was brought to Northern America, from Austria.
Research that has been conducted shows there to be over hundreds of articles and studies that prove the success and effectiveness of this form of massage treatment. Today, lymphatic drainage massage has become increasingly important, not only for the medical industry, but for the beauty and skin industries as well. The lymphatic drainage technique has become one of the most popular massage techniques in our current time.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage Techniques
The lymphatic drainage massage uses a specialized sequence of motions to stimulate the lymphatic system. The four main techniques that are used to make these motions effective, are using the correct direction of stroke, applying the required pressure, using a systematic and consistent order of sequence, and lastly, maintaining the appropriate rhythm. We will go into more depth for each of these four techniques below.
Correct Stroke Direction
Using the direction of stroke while performing the lymphatic drainage technique is necessary for utmost effectiveness. The massage begins by applying pressure at the node, and slowly workings itself up, while making sure to push all of the fluid in the node’s direction. This works hand-in-hand with maintaining a systematic and consistent order of sequence. This specialized stroke direction is part of what makes the lymphatic drainage massage as effective as it has proved to be.
The pressure that is applied during a lymphatic massage must be about 1-4 ounces deep. This depth will help stabilize the hands, making sure that they are not sliding over the patient’s skin, and will also ensure that the patient does not feel anything below his or her skin. This depth of pressure is less than the depth of pressure that is applied during a deep tissue or a Swedish massage. This is because this form of massage tends to focus more on the skin, and awakening the lymphatic system.
Systematic and Consistent Order of Sequence
It is important to maintain a consistent and systematic order of motion sequence during a lymphatic massage. This has to do with the order and technique of the massage strokes specifically. The correct order of sequence is key drawing the lymph into the node through a suctioning effect. This is done by beginning the pressure near the node, and slowly moving further and further away from it by making sure to consistently push back the body’s fluid into the node’s direction.
Appropriate Stroke Rhythm
Using the appropriate stroke speed and rhythm is essential for opening the initial lymphatics. Once the lymphatics are open, the correct stroke rhythm allows the lymphatics to close, giving way to the lymph to get swallowed into the vessel. Using the appropriate stroke speed and rhythm, is something which is also important for the stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system. The stimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system creates greater soothing and relaxation levels for the patient, something which can help to reduce stress levels tremendously.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage Benefits
1. Improves Your Immune System
A lymphatic drainage massage has been shown to enhance your immune system. The technique that is used during a lymphatic drainage massage targets lymph nodes that are known for cleansing our blood. These lymph nodes are found in body areas that include the groin, under the throat, under the arms, and around our breasts.
By helping to generate the healthy circulation of our lymphatic system, lymphatic drainage effectively detoxifies the body, this way increasing the production of antibodies that are used to reduce body inflammation and combat infection.
The essential oils that are used to massage a patient during this process work to maintain the pressure that is necessary for the correct lymphatic drainage technique. The effects of lymphatic drainage massage ensure the healthy functioning of the immune system.
2. Helps with Breastfeeding
The lymphatic massage helps a woman with the breastfeeding process. Breastfeeding is universally proven to be extremely important for the development of a newborn, as breast milk is enriched with antibodies and nutrients. This makes breastfeeding the top and best way to feed a baby, when health is concerned. About 83% of women start by breastfeeding; however, this percentage begins to decline throughout the months due to breastfeeding complications that the woman undergoes. Statistics show that only one in four women in the United States breastfeed their babies exclusively. This occurs because complications that arise make it painful and discouraging for a woman to continue the breastfeeding process.
Lymphatic drainage can in fact help make breastfeeding a better, and less painful experience for women overall. The way that it works, is that lymphatic drainage helps to enhance the functioning of plugged nipple ducts, and reduce nipple swelling. This assists in decreasing feelings of swelling in the nipples and breast overall, and can encourage more women to continue the breastfeeding process, pain-free.
3. Reduces Stress and Promotes Relaxation
One of the most appealing factors about lymphatic massage, lies in its ability to reduce stress levels and promote relaxation. By pressing onto specific areas of our body—in this case, specifically our lymph nodes—, a lymphatic massage effectively reduces pain and soreness. This in turn reduces stress levels and encourages our mental and physical well-being. The decreasing of stress levels in turn decreases anxiety and can help with people who suffer from panic attacks. Be sure to leave a lymphatic massage feeling more relaxed than ever. Book your appointment with us today!
4. Helps with Surgical Healing
One of the things that a lymphatic massage is most famous for is its ability to help a patient recover from surgery. More specifically, lymphatic drainage can help with the symptoms related to post-surgery anesthesia, and post-surgery edema. By activating the lymphatic system, the lymphatic drainage technique promotes the removal of anesthesia from a patient’s body after he or she has undergone surgery. Additionally, lymphatic drainage helps to soothe post-surgery inflammation symptoms, something which ultimately relieves post-surgical pain. Another great thing about having a lymphatic massage after a surgery is that it helps to regenerate body cells and tissue. It is important to know, however, that a patient should typically wait about six months after surgery, before he or she has a lymphatic massage. Always make sure to consult with your doctor.
5. Fights Fatigue
The specialized techniques that the lymphatic drainage massage uses are great for combating fatigue and stimulating the senses. The essential oils that are used during this massage, together with the specific applied pressure work to activate your lymphatic system and help you feel relaxed and healthy, while simultaneously giving you that does of energy that you are seeking for.
6. Skin Care
Lymphatic drainage is a form of massage that is widely recommended within the beauty and skin industries. Lymphatic drainage is able to soften skin scars, help with the speed and quality of scar healing, reduce acne, help with eczema symptoms, and also help promote the healing of leg wounds and leg ulcers. The essential oils that are used during a lymphatic massage opens the pores and leaves your skin feeling softer and ever-glowing. If your skin feels dehydrated, a lymphatic drainage session is sure to hydrate and soften your skin.
7. Soothes Migraines
The sequential and light movements of a lymphatic massage can really help to soothe regular headaches, and especially migraines. The repetitive massage motions provide a pain-relieving effect that has been proven to reduce pain tremendously. The techniques and pressure that is applied to specific areas of our bodies during a lymphatic massage help to suppress our sympathetic nervous systems, something that reduces pain signals that are being sent to the brain from our nervous system. Book your appointment with us today, and leave your massage room feeling relaxed, soothed, and pain-free.
8. Improves Sleep
A lymphatic draining massage can help those who suffer with insomnia, or other sleeping disorders. By unclogging your lymph system, you are helping your nervous system function to the best of its potential. This in turn helps to improve your sleeping quality. In fact, lymphatic massages are famous for promoting better sleep and helping to fight insomnia, as it puts your body in a state of deep relaxation.
9. Detox Mechanism
A lymphatic drainage massage has all to do with detox, and removing toxins from our bodies. By targeting the lymph with specialized pressure, a lymphatic massage encourages blood circulation towards the heart, that in turn promotes the drainage of body waste and body fluid.
10. Helps to Heal Chronic Pain
A lymphatic drainage massage will help to heal chronic pain to a great extent. The calming effect that this massage poses on the body via our sympathetic nervous system reduces pain signals which are sent from our nervous system to the brain. This process helps for the reduction of chronic, and the decline in anxiety and emotional stress levels. Patients who do not suffer from pain will leave this massage feeling less tense and more calm.