Have you ever heard of lymphatic drainage and wondered what it is? It’s a gentle, non-invasive therapeutic massage that helps to manually move fluid throughout your lymphatic system. If you are interested in reducing inflammation and “puffiness” in your body, then this could be the massage for you. Let’s answer some questions that you might have about the massage.
What is lymphatic drainage massage?
Gentle, rhythmic, circular strokes are used in lymphatic drainage massage to promote the flow of lymph fluid throughout your body. This helps to reduce fluid retention, stimulate circulation, eliminate toxins and acts as overall support to the immune system. Treatments are performed by massage therapists with specific training in this area and generally offered as 60 or 90-minute sessions to ensure maximum benefits from manual lymphatic drainage.
You’re probably thinking, what is the lymphatic system and how can the body benefit from manual lymphatic drainage so let’s start with that.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and pipes which pass through the majority of our tissues. This particular system is integral to maintaining a healthy immune system and moving fluids and waste through the body. Often referred to as a transport system in which our immune system operates, the lymph vessels travel through networks helping the body flush toxins. The network contains over 600 lymph nodes together, circulating through the body in the same way that blood does. Lymph nodes help our body to fight infection, swelling with bacteria and immune system fluid when fighting an infection. When this system is functioning optimally it supports a healthy immune system.
How can I support my lymphatic system?
When we’re run-down, or under stress, our immune systems become compromised and we’re less effective at disposing of toxins. During these times, it becomes even more important to support our lymphatic system. Here are some natural ways you can do this:
- Drink lots of water: water makes up 95% of lymph fluid. The fluid becomes thick when dehydrated (harder to flow) and thin when hydrated (easier to flow).
- Take a deep breath: breathing provides movement through the diaphragm and upper abdominal mussels which stimulates movement through the lymph vessels.
- Try meditating: meditation can help lower stress and slow down your heart rate and blood pressure, which helps to decongest the lymphatic system
- Dry brushing: helps to remove dead skin cells allowing a clearer passage for toxins to be eliminated through our sweat, whilst improving our blood flow and circulation.
- Coldwater therapy: heat dilates blood vessels, while the opposite, feeling cold, constricts blood vessels. After an infrared sauna session, try having a cold shower for up to 2-minutes to stimulate the lymphatic system.
- Eat the right foods: reduce your intake of processed foods, alcohol and caffeine, replacing it with more whole foods.
- Lymphatic drainage massage: massage therapists can use gentle techniques to target specific tissues and manually stimulate lymphatic fluid.
What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage?
Massage therapists trained in this technique are highly talented practitioners, they are trained to follow the lymphatic networks around the body and stimulate the movement of fluids and toxins. Health conditions and certain ailments can cause fluids to build up which leaves the body in a state of stress, manual lymphatic drainage will help the movement of these built-up fluids and toxins. The therapist will use just enough pressure to stimulate the movement of fluids, but not enough to feel the muscles underneath. Here are some of the benefits you might notice after a treatment:
- Stronger immune system: a stronger immune system means your body can fight off colds and viruses and reduce your chances of getting sick.
- Weight loss: lymphatic drainage can increase circulation which reduces the appearance of bloating and puffiness.
- Reduced fluid retention: if you are sitting for long periods of time and living a relatively sedentary lifestyle, chances are your bodily fluids are also stagnant. This can cause a build-up of toxins, congesting the lymphatic system and leading to fluid retention. Manual lymphatic drainage assists in moving this fluid throughout the body.
- Better skin: by reducing inflammation in the body, swelling and bloating also reduces. As lymphatic drainage increases circulation and blood flow, this helps reduce the appearance of cellulite.
What’s involved during lymphatic drainage massage?
Using soft, gentle, rhythmic movements to stimulate the lymph nodes, the massage therapist will modify the pressure for your comfort throughout the session. This massage technique is designed to stimulate the lymphatic system by applying pressure to specific areas throughout your body. For each session, we recommend a minimum of 60-minutes to properly stimulate lymphatic flow.
What happens after a lymphatic drainage massage?
Stimulating and eliminating toxins may leave you feeling fatigued directly afterwards the session. This is perfectly normal! After your treatment, give your body time to ease itself back into activity, drink plenty of water and schedule an undemanding day. This post-treatment routine gives the body time to relax into its normal state and will help to accelerate the flushing of toxins moved through the treatment.