Most individuals believe that massages only provide temporary relief from stress and anxiety. However, many positive outcomes are associated with regular visits to a competent massage therapist. Patients experiencing excruciating physical pains may occasionally be recommended for these massages by their doctors.
One particularly interesting type of massage in today’s health and wellness space is lymphatic drainage massages.
Many famous people swear by the purported health benefits of lymphatic drainage massages, making it a popular spa service. Celebrities swear by them to get rid of toxins, boost their immune systems, and reduce their water weight and bloating. Do any of these rumors have any basis in reality?
Let’s find out!
What exactly is Lymph Drainage Massage?
The type of light massage, called lymphatic drainage massage, promotes the lymphatic system’s drainage through lymph nodes and the circulation of lymph fluids throughout the body.
The lymphatic system helps with immunity, digestion, and hormone regulation. It is crucial for the immune system’s capacity to combat infection by purging it of toxins, such as cancer-causing pathogens.
How Does Lymph Drainage Work?
Lymphatic drainage focuses on the lymphatic system. It speeds up the system by bringing the lymph to the lymph nodes all over your body, but mostly in your groin, armpits, and neck.” Hence, lymphatic drainage massage benefits primarily involve the speeding up liquid removal after build-up between cells and their catabolic (i.e., broken down) leftovers by channeling it into the capillary vessels, which are then moved in a very particular way before being flushed out of the body.
Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Lymph fluid can accumulate and cause swelling if it stops, most frequently in the arms or legs. This condition is known as lymphedema, according to medical professionals.
Lymphatic drainage has a lot of upsides. The main ones are moving and removing fluids that are no longer moving. Lymphatic fluid circulates continuously, just like blood does in the circulatory system.
Typically, lymphatic massage is a component of a treatment plan known as decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT) by medical professionals.
Among the DLTs for lymphedema are:
- Increases oxygen delivery and promotes healing of damaged cells
- Accelerates the rate at which extra interstitial fluid is removed from the body by guiding and increasing lymphatic flow.
- helps with edema and fluid retention
- Boosts one’s resistance to illness as a direct result of removing polluting substances.
- Reduces the amount of fluid pressing on the skin’s crisscrossed fibers, lessening the look of cellulite.
- Relaxes both the body and the mind.
- Helps the body feel lighter on the whole
- Boosts physical stamina
Though evidence regarding lymphatic drainage as an alternative to medical treatment for lymphedema is lacking, several anecdotal reports describe relief in symptoms such as energy, attention, reduced sagging, and mood after undergoing lymphatic drainage.
Who Can Lymphatic Drainage Massage Benefit?
People who have an accumulation of lymphatic fluid owing to:
- Cancer, as well as cancer treatments that involve removing certain lymph nodes from the body.
- Lymphatic filariasis, caused by a mosquito-borne parasite, vein stripping, and other forms of vascular surgery
- Surgical removal of a burn scar
- Lipectomy (a procedure for removing excess body fat).
- Deep vein thrombosis-related fluid accumulation, trauma, or lymphatic infection
- Conditions affecting the circulation to the hands and feet.
Statistics show that about 20% of women treated for breast cancer end up with lymphatic buildup.
A review published in 2015 concluded that lymphatic massage may be more beneficial than connective tissue massage in helping those suffering from fibromyalgia deal with symptoms of rigidity and depression.
If someone suspects they suffer from lymphedema, they should consult a physician about this treatment option. Don’t go for a lymphatic massage before getting medical clearance first.
Remember, anyone with cellulitis or heart problems may not be a good candidate for this kind of massage.
Preparing for a Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Like picking a doctor, it’s advised that anybody interested in lymphatic drainage should find a licensed specialist with recommendations and experience. You want a knowledgeable masseuse for the best possible outcomes. If you are prone to bruising, you shouldn’t take blood thinners like ibuprofen a week before your visit.
Those who will receive their massage at home can prepare by dry brushing and gua sha, which may all enhance lymphatic flow.
Invest in the supplies you’ll need, like a dry brush, an oil or lotion for slip, or a device for lymphatic drainage. Note: You shouldn’t exert so much force that you have bruises at home.
Instructions for Basic Lymphatic Massage
Lymphatic massage is best left to the specialists, but they can also instruct a client on fundamental home drainage methods. Provided the individual is at ease, they can follow most of these exercises standing, seated, or reclining.
Remember the following guidelines when performing a lymphatic massage:
- Use light pressure; you shouldn’t feel your muscles under the skin as you perform these massage strokes.
- Don’t tense up your hands.
- Avoid massaging diseased or inflamed regions.
- After undergoing cancer therapy, avoid massaging the affected area.
- After getting a massage, drinking more water is an excellent idea to help rehydrate your system.
- There shouldn’t be any discomfort or flushing of the skin throughout the massage.
- Don’t use creams or other things on your body, just your hands.
What You Can Expect
Be prepared for some deep pressure during a lymphatic drainage massage since it’s pretty different from not a Swedish massage. But you can also anticipate feeling lighter and looking more sculpted afterward. The increased blood flow will cause your skin to become slightly pink. Oh, and stay calm if the pressure the massage therapist uses causes you to be sore for the next two days. Additionally, muscles that were previously immobile may also become more flexible.
Besides the urge to urinate more frequently, your body will also feel stimulated.
If you are healthy, you have no obligation to have massages that focus on lymphatic drainage. However, if you appreciate the approach, there is no danger in enjoying this service occasionally.