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Does a Lymphatic Drainage Massage Really Work?

By June 23, 2022 No Comments
Lymphatic Drainage

The human body is a fascinating ecosystem of bones, muscles, tissues, and fibres. It works simultaneously to pump blood, digest food, create energy and remove toxic waste. 

There are plenty of ways that we can keep our bodies happy and healthy through diet and exercise. But, wellness treatments can also help your body remove waste and toxins effectively. That’s exactly what a lymphatic drainage massage is all about.

A lymphatic drainage massage isn’t as well known as a classic Swedish relaxation or deep tissue massage. After increasing in popularity over the past few years, lymphatic massages are finally getting their time in the spotlight. 

Let’s explain how your lymphatic system works, the benefits of a lymphatic drainage massage and why you’ll feel energised, relaxed and rejuvenated after your very first session.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

What is the lymphatic system?

If you’re scratching your head wondering what your lymphatic system is, you’re in the right place. Let’s explain how this part of your immune system works and how your clever organs help maintain your bodily fluids at every stage of your life. 

The lymphatic system is a network of delicate tubes throughout the body. It drains fluid (lymph) from the blood vessels into the tissues. Your lymph vessels run underneath your skin and empty this liquid back into the bloodstream via the lymph nodes. You can find your lymph nodes underneath your armpits, neck and groin areas. 

What are lymph nodes and why are they important?

Lymph nodes are small, bean-shaped glands that filter substances that travel through the lymphatic fluid, and they contain lymphocytes (white blood cells) that help the body fight infection and disease.

Your lymph nodes and your entire lymphatic system have a number of important functions, including:

  • Maintaining the fluid levels in your body
  • Absorbing fats and proteins back into your bloodstream
  • Protecting your body again bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi
  • Remove waste products from your body

What is a lymphatic drainage massage?

Are you thinking about incorporating massage treatments into your wellness routine? Before you book a session, it’s essential to know the differences between the different massage types to pick the best one for you. 

A lymphatic drainage massage uses very light pressure and long, rhythmic strokes that help the lymph fluid move and direct toxins to your larger organs to remove the waste. An experienced massage therapist will use specific techniques, such as light stroking across the lymph nodes, to re-stimulate the natural contractions of your lymphatic system. 

It’s nothing like a deep tissue massage, and instead uses soothing and relaxing strokes and light pressure that help to support your body’s natural drainage processes.

Lymphatic Drainage

Benefits of a lymphatic drainage massage

Now, let’s do a deep dive into those benefits we keep talking about! Your lymphatic system is a beautiful network of tissues that is ultimately the recycling bin for your body. This system should be constantly moving, and if things become stagnant you may notice swelling and excess fluid build-up. 

As this relaxing, gentle massage doesn’t require much pressure to move the fluids it is a great massage for all ages. It can be used to treat acne, digestive issues, inflammation, and stress, but that’s not all. People also love lymphatic drainage massages to:

  • Improve cellulite, skin swelling, scar tissue, acne, and stretch marks
  • Reduce water retention
  • Fight off infection
  • Speed up healing and recovery from the cold and flu
  • Boost weight loss
  • Reduce stress and fatigue
  • Help with post-exercise recovery

Types of lymphatic drainage massage

Manual lymphatic drainage massage involves a trained therapist using specialised strokes, pressure and movement to clear blockages and support the healthy flow of your lymphatic system.

There are four types of lymphatic drainage massage techniques commonly used by massage therapists, physical therapists, and doctors. These include.

  1. Vodder: This foundational technique uses various sweeping motions around the area the therapist is treating.
  2. Foldi:  An extension of the Vodder technique, Foldi requires the massage therapist to alternate between circular hand motions and moments of relaxation.
  3. Casley-Smith: This approach to lymphatic massage also involves circular hand motions, mainly using the sides and palms of the hands.
  4. Leduc: This technique relies on hand motions to collect lymph fluid before redirecting it for reabsorption into the larger lymphatic system.

How often should you get a lymphatic drainage massage?

Everybody is different, which means that your massage schedule will also depend on your own body’s needs. We recommend speaking with a trained massage therapist to discuss any problems you may have, and they can suggest how often a lymphatic massage will benefit you. 

As the seasons change, your body’s internal processes can change as well. If you’re feeling extra bloated, you can schedule a lymphatic massage to help with water retention. Otherwise, a good guideline is at least once a month to ensure your body gets the benefits from this relaxing massage. 

Tips when getting a lymphatic massage

Want to get the most out of your next lymphatic drainage massage? Here are four of our top tips to prepare for your massage and keep the benefits flowing for as long as possible:

  • Make sure to drink plenty of water before and after your treatment.
  • You’ll most likely feel the effects a couple of days later, so give yourself some time to rest.
  • Don’t eat a big meal beforehand, as this could make you feel ill throughout your treatment.
  • Wear underwear only (or what you’re comfortable with) during your massage. Hand to skin contact helps the therapist target your lymphatic system more effectively.

Plus you can also try manual lymphatic drainage techniques in the comfort of your own home! You can use a dry brush tool (sweep upwards towards your heart), a facial tool such as gua sha to help drain fluids from your face, or use your hands as a relaxing ritual to energise you throughout the day.

Ultimately, lymphatic drainage massages are one of the best treatments for a relaxing and rejuvenating wellness session. Best of all, you can book your next session from the comfort of your home with Blys

Our team of experienced massage therapists can now bring the benefits of lymphatic massage to you, without the hassle or headaches of travelling to a salon. 

Ready to enjoy the benefits of a lymphatic massage?