Lymphatic massage, sometimes called manual lymphatic drainage, is a specialized type of medical massage. It can help treat lymphedema, in which lymphatic fluid collects in certain areas of the body because it cannot drain away effectively. Lymphatic massage aims to improve the flow of lymph fluid, which should reduce swelling. Massaging an area without swelling will make space for fluid to flow to those parts from more congested areas.
What is a lymphatic drainage massage used for?
Lymph drainage massage has become a popular form of massage due to its potential health benefits. This specialized approach focuses on the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system. This type of massage aims to help the body maintain proper blood circulation, body fluid balance, and immune functions.
Lymphedema happens when your tissues retain fluid left behind after your cardiovascular system sends blood to your tissues and organs.
The remaining fluid is called lymph. Normally, your lymphatic system collects your lymph and returns it to your heart via a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes. When something disrupts your lymphatic system’s process, lymph collects in your arms and legs, making them swell.
A massage therapist uses lymphatic drainage massage techniques to move lymph from your tissues to your lymph nodes, which eases the swelling in your tissues.
Understanding the Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system contains vessels and nodes with lymph, a mixture of proteins, water, waste products, and immune system elements. Located throughout the body, lymph nodes filter all this debris.
The largest nodes are in the neck, groin, and armpits. They all work together to make sure “clean” lymph is transported back to the veins that carry blood toward the heart.
Treating Other Health Conditions
Aside from lymphedema, lymphatic drainage massage can help treat several health problems. Some conditions can benefit more from the massage than others.