The benefits of lymphatic massage

By Claire Schoen

Light and rhythmic, lymphatic massage (also known as lymph massage or manual lymphatic massage) helps people manage pain and stimulate immunity. This specialty service 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. People also use lymph massage to manage swelling and other medical symptoms.

Overview of lymphatic massage

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 it’s own pumping mechanism. Instead, it relies on external forces like pressure on the skin and muscular activity to create the movement. The massage therapist can use specific techniques to manually pump the lymph through the system.

Who should try lymphatic massage?

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. Lymphatic work can also improve seasonal allergy symptoms, ease pain, bolster immunity during cold and flu season, ease Parkinson’s symptoms… the list goes on. Some people even use it to improve complexion and reduce the appearance of cellulite.

Medically, many people use lymphatic to manage lymphedema as part of decongestive therapy.  People who have had lymph nodes removed during cancer treatment particularly seek it out. In these cases, a person should seek out a Certified Lympedema Therapist. 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.

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

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