There are many different types of massage, and each type has a specific purpose and unique benefits. While every massage can be relaxing and relieve pain and tension in the body, some forms of massage go even deeper than that. One such form of massage is lymphatic drainage massage.
Most people think of lymphatic drainage massage as a tool for those suffering from lymphedema, but this form of massage can be used by nearly every person on the planet. Its benefits are not reserved for those suffering with lymph node issues or complications associated with the lymphatic system in the body.
Lymphatic drainage massage is a specialized massage that gently assists the lymphatic system in maintaining the body’s blood circulation, immune mechanisms and fluid balance. The lymphatic system is a network of vessels and nodes that contain and circulate lymph. Lymph is a mixture of water, proteins, waste products, immune system components and other elements of cell metabolism. The lymph nodes filter out the debris and can be found throughout the body. There are large clusters of lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and groin areas.
Lymphatic drainage massage originated in the 1930’s with a Danish husband-and-wife team, Emil and Estrid Vodder. They developed the strokes, techniques and a sequence of movements termed “lymphology.” The technique became popular in France and quickly became a recommended treatment for those suffering from lymphedema brought on by radiation and chemotherapy.
The specially trained massage therapists who perform lymphatic drainage massage will use a series of compressing, gliding, stretching and cupping motions over the patient’s body. There is no massage oil used during this treatment. The soft rhythmic movements stimulate the lymphatic system without compressing the vessels. This allows lymph to flow and move easily through the tissues and lymph nodes. There is a very specific sequence to this type of massage that insures that lymphatic fluid is not trapped anywhere. The same amount of time and care is applied to all areas of the body during this massage.
Aside from patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation, lymphatic drainage massage can benefit anybody dealing with swelling. Fluids tend to rush to the injured areas as part of our body’s self-defense mechanism. However, if this fluid doesn’t drain, over time it can actually cause damage to the tissues and inhibit healing.
Lymphatic drainage massage can be incorporated into skin and wellness routines too. Proponents of the procedure say the technique can be effective for pain relief, skin conditions, cellulite, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, allergies, headaches and more. A growing number of massage therapists are training to learn the technique because of the high demand.