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Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is a form of gentle massage that encourages the drainage of lymph nodes and movement of lymph fluids around the body. It can help relieve lymphedema

What is lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic massage, sometimes called manual lymphatic drainage, is a specialized type of medical massage. It can help treat lymphedema, in which lymphatic fluid collects in certain areas of the body because it cannot drain away effectively.

Lymphatic massage aims to improve the flow of lymph fluid, which should reduce swelling.

Massaging an area without swelling will make space for fluid to flow to those parts from more congested areas.

There are two types of lymphatic drainage: manual and simple.

Manual lymphatic drainage is done by a qualified therapist, whereas simple lymphatic drainage is a technique a person can use at home.

What are the benefits?

The lymphatic system plays a key role in the body’s immune defenses.

Lymphatic fluid flows through lymph vessels, which connect lymph nodes. As it passes through the lymph nodes, white blood cells trap and destroy harmful particles, such as bacteria.

Like blood in the circulatory system, lymphatic fluid is always moving. If it stops, swelling can occur, as lymph fluid builds up, often in the arms or legs. Health experts call this lymphedema.

Lymphatic massage usually forms part of a treatment program health experts call decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT).

DLT for lymphedema includes:

  • lymphatic drainage massage

  • compression garments

  • exercise

  • skin care

Together, these can improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system and help manageTrusted Source symptoms of lymphedema, including:

  • swelling in the extremities — such as the arms, legs, hands, or feet — which can affect mobility

  • swelling in other parts of the body, including the chest, breast, shoulder, face, and groin

  • pain and changes in sensation

  • a feeling of heaviness

  • difficulty fitting into clothing

Who can benefit?

Lymphedema can benefit people who have a buildup of lymphatic fluid due toTrusted Source:

  • cancer and cancer treatments that involve the removal of lymph nodes

  • filariasis, which is infestation of the lymph nodes by a parasite carried by mosquitoes

  • some types of vascular surgery, such as vein stripping

  • burn scar excision

  • lipectomy, a type of surgery to remove fat from the body

  • infection or trauma in the lymphatic system

  • a buildup of fluid due to deep vein thrombosis

  • health conditions that affect blood flow to the extremities, such as the hands and feet

Lymphatic buildup affects around 20%Trusted Source of females who have had treatment for breast cancer.

The authors of a 2015 review conclude that lymphatic massage might be more effective than connective tissue massage in relieving symptoms of stiffness and depression in people living with fibromyalgia.

A doctor may recommend lymphatic massage as part of a person’s treatment plan. If anyone believes they have lymphedema, they should ask a doctor about this option. They should not use lymphatic massage without consulting a doctor first.

It is of note that this type of massage may not be suitable or safe for some people, for example, if they have cellulitis or a heart condition.

Is Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) painful?

No, in fact it is a very soothing and gentle technique.

Do you use special equipment for Lymphatic Massage?

No, our therapists are specifically trained in The Vodder Method using hands on techniques that increase lymphatic flow, that will be eliminated by the body naturally.

Do I have to get undressed?

No,  MLD can be performed while fully dressed.  We recommend loose clothing with limited constriction on the body to enhance the treatment.

How quickly will I see results?

Depending on the condition and amount of swelling/edema, you may be able to see results immediately. Many clients feel the swelling/edema reduce with the first session!

How many sessions are required for the best results?

Our experience has been that with 3 consecutive sessions you will see and feel noticeable results! Regular follow-up sessions for maintenance are suggested to maintain fluid loss and increase wellness.

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