What is Lymphatic Drainage?

The lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that is responsible for removing toxins and waste from the body. A part of the body's immune system, it transports lymph, a fluid containing white blood cells that help fight against infections, to the cells throughout the body.

However, some health conditions can cause the lymph to build up in the bodily tissues and hinder the lymphatic system from functioning optimally. Lymphatic drainage massage might be the solution. Commonly known as lymphatic drainage, it is a gentle, rhythmical massage treatment that helps in stimulating the circulation of lymph fluid throughout the body. It also helps in preventing swellness after a surgery or an injury. Additionally, it provides a great boost to the immune system.

What is lymphatic drainage?

How Does Lymphatic Drainage Work?

The main goal of lymphatic drainage is to boost the efficiency of the lymphatic and circulatory systems. When the volume of the retained fluid is reduced, the risk of an impeded circulation is also reduced. This in turn increases the capacity of the lymphatic system to rapidly drain the retained fluids and any built-up toxic waste. It also makes the patient feel energized after the massage therapy.

Lymphatic drainage involves gentle massage techniques that only affect the superficial layer of the skin. It stimulates the lymph nodes, which filter harmful substances in the lymph fluid, with a series of long, gliding strokes and direct the toxins to the tissues that are responsible for their elimination. Clearing the lymph nodes of excessive fluid prevents swelling and supports the immune system.

It should be remembered that lymphatic drainage is not recommended for people with the following health conditions:

  • Congestive heart failure
  • History of stroke or blood clots
  • Current infection
  • Kidney problems
  • Liver problems
  • Skin infections

What are the Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage?

A damaged lymphatic system may result in edema, or the swelling of the arms or legs, and lymphoedema, a medical condition resulting from lymph build-up in the bodily tissues due to infection or surgical treatments that involve the removal of lymph nodes. Lymphatic drainage reduces swelling, improves circulation throughout the lymphatic system and boosts immunity. It also offers the following benefits:

  • Helps the body fight off infection
  • Speeds up healing and recovery from an illness
  • Helps in reducing water retention
  • Boosts weight loss
  • Reduces the chances of developing minor colds and viruses
  • Improves skin texture
  • Increases metabolic rate

Research shows that this type of manual therapy can also help people with the following conditions:

  • Breast cancer
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Arthritis
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Orthopedic injuries 

What Can You Expect From Lymphatic Drainage?

A lymphatic drainage massage is unlike other massage styles as it involves gentle pressure rather than firm pressure. Also, it doesn't stimulate the muscle tissues but the surface of the skin, focusing on the lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and legs. The treatment session is held in a heated room in order to dilate the lymphatic vessels and allow the lymph fluid to flow through the system with ease.

The session can last 60 minutes to an hour and a half. Before showing up to your appointment, eat a light meal and drink plenty of water. It would be best to arrive early at the clinic so that you have time to empty your bladder and relax before your treatment session begins. 

Lymphatic drainage can leave you thirsty and sleepy as your body's organ systems adjust to their cleaner environment after the toxins have been flushed out.