Lymphatic drainage is a therapeutic massage treatment. The massage uses very light pressure and long, gentle, rhythmic strokes to increase the flow of lymph and reduce toxins in your body.
The lymph system is part of your body's immune system and helps fight infection. Lymph itself is a clear, slightly yellow fluid. It transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, collecting toxins on the way and flushing them out through the lymph nodes. You have around twice as many lymph vessels as blood vessels in your body. However, unlike blood, which is pumped around by your heart, the lymph system has no pump. The pressure from your blood vessels and movement from your muscles push the lymphatic fluid around.
Lymphatic drainage massage can have a beneficial effect on your general health. Because lymph is key to keeping your immune system working properly, improving the flow and drainage of lymph around the body is good for you in lots of ways.
Lymphatic drainage can:
Manual lymphatic drainage is also used in the treatment of lymphoedema.
Lymphatic drainage massage can improve your skin texture by:
Always tell your therapist in advance if you are, or think you might be, pregnant, have any medical conditions or are receiving any treatment or medication, have recently had an operation, or are allergic to anything.
As with any spa treatment, you will get most benefit if you give yourself enough time to relax and enjoy your massage. Arrive soon enough to get ready and settle; try to avoid rushing off straight afterwards.
Lymphatic drainage massage usually takes place in a heated room; warmth is an important factor in increasing lymphatic flow. You are also likely to be more relaxed if you're not cold. Your therapist will usually carry out lymphatic drainage massage with you on a massage table, while you're draped in discreetly placed towels.
Your therapist will probably work her way up from your feet. Lymphatic drainage massage uses very light pressure, as well as long, gentle, rhythmic strokes and soft pumping movements in the direction of the lymph nodes. The main lymph nodes are in the neck, armpits, and groin.
Lymphatic drainage can leave you feeling exhausted. You may want to have a lie down, or at the very least, a very undemanding schedule for the rest of the day. Give your body time to ease back into activity.
Lymphatic drainage is about flushing out your system; you can do this every day by drinking plenty of water.
One of the best things you can do for your lymphatic system is to be more active. Even the most gentle activity will help encourage a healthy lymph flow, as movement of the muscles exerts pressure on the lymphatic vessels and keeps them moving. People who are not usually water-drinkers reaching for bottles of San Pellegrino like it's free champagne!