The benefits of lymphatic drainage

By Claire Schoen

Light and rhythmic, lymphatic massage (also known as lymph massage, manual lymphatic drainage, or “MLD”) helps people feel a deep sense of relaxation and calm. This specialty style of massage is, perhaps, one of the most relaxing forms of massage – using such gentle pressure that the body can fully let down its guard in the hands of the practitioner. Anyone who wants to achieve peaceful calm should try lymphatic massage, especially those who don’t prefer firm pressure massage.

Overview of lymphatic massage

Originally designed to support the body’s natural lymphatic functioning, lymphatic massage aims to move the fluid through the lymphatic system which resides just under the skin. The lymphatic system moves fluid from around the body to the lymph nodes which filter the lymph and allows the immune system to respond to any threats. Although the system moves fluid, it does not have a muscle to pump the fluid. Lymphatic massage intends to manually pump the lymph fluid through the system thereby maintaining proper fluid balance and enhancing the immune system.

Medical uses for lymphatic massage

Medically, many people use lymphatic massage to manage lymphedema; as part of decongestive therapy or by itself as a means to control swelling.  People who have had lymph nodes removed during cancer treatment particularly seek out lymphatic massage. It can also be used to prehab the body prior to surgery or rehab after surgery. Anyone seeking lymphatic massage for medical reasons should discuss their options with their medical provider and gain approval prior to working with a massage therapist.

Research shows promise for lymphatic massage helping people who suffer from chronic headaches. Like traditional massage, it can help reduce their frequency.  It is also one of the styles of massage that may help people who suffer from Fibromyalgia. The light pressure is well-suited for people who have fibro and research subjects report less depression and anxiety, less stiffness, and feeling better refreshed upon waking after having a lymphatic massage. One study also looked at lymphatic massage after exercise and found that the athletes did process certain enzymes and acids better which has the potential for improving recovery. Some people also use it to reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Lymphatic massage can help people relax, refresh, recharge, and recover.

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