Lymphatic Drainage: What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

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Your body has a natural way of eliminating toxins. Your lymph system moves toxins along while your lymph nodes and lymphatic ducts act as the drain, flushing waste out. But like a sink, your lymphatic drainage system can clog. This is especially noticeable after surgeries like liposuctions, breast augmentation or mastectomy, or other types of surgery. 

Before you start a detox program, consider lymphatic drainage massage. Here we explore how lymphatic drainage massage can help prevent lymphedema and the other health conditions it can help relieve.

Pump is a technique used in lymphatic drainage massage.

What Is Lymphatic Drainage?

Your lymph system includes a highway of vessels, sending fluid throughout your body to help cells fight infection and inflammation. The lymph system also collects excess fluid from tissue and absorbs fat and proteins from your digestive tract, returning it to the bloodstream. It also carries waste away from healthy tissue and organs, passing through the lymph nodes for cleansing and into lymphatic ducts for elimination. 

Your lymph system can become clogged when disrupted by chemotherapy or radiation and after surgery, especially if you’ve had lymph ducts or lymph nodes removed from your neck, armpits, groin, or tummy. When this happens, you may feel tired or sluggish, notice skin breakouts (the waste has to go somewhere!), or have painful swelling in your hands, feet, arms, and legs. Severe swelling is known as lymphedema.

Why Get Lymphatic Drainage Massage After Surgery?

Lymphedema is serious, and getting and keeping your lymph moving is crucial. It prevents swelling after surgery and other health conditions. There are ways to treat lymphedema and other symptoms caused by lymph drainage issues. Exercise, a compression sleeve, a pneumatic pump, weight loss, and manual lymph drainage massage are common treatments.

Lymphatic drainage massage, also called manual lymphatic drainage, helps stimulate the fluid directly. A certified lymph massage therapist uses gentle pressure to move fluid through the capillary vessels to the lymphatic ducts, where it can be cleaned and drained back into the bloodstream. Lymphatic drainage massage after a tummy tuck or liposuction is crucial because your stomach area is ground zero for lymph node drainage— all lymph fluid finds its way there. If drainage is blocked, fibrosis can develop, meaning the area hardens from swelling.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage Vs. Regular Massage

Deep tissue, neuromuscular, and prenatal massage techniques typically mainly target muscle groups. These involve various levels of touch and pressure, depending on your issue. Only light pressure is applied during a lymphatic drainage massage because the capillaries where lymph fluid flows are just under the skin.

Unlike a Swedish massage, which also involves light pressure, the lymphatic drainage massage is performed in a particular pattern on the body, moving up from the extremities into the arms and legs and eventually the torso. The goal is to get fluid to flow to the center cluster of lymph nodes near your stomach area, where it can properly drain.

Health Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage helps prevent lymphedema and fibrosis. Even if you haven’t had surgery but experience fatigue, swelling of the feet or hands, skin breakouts, and other inflammation issues, manual lymphatic drainage can help! Here are some potential health benefits of lymph massage:

  • Improves circulation
  • Speeds up healing
  • Reduces pain associated with rheumatoid arthritis
  • Helps with symptoms of fibromyalgia
  • Relieves chronic venous insufficiency

Get a Professional Lymphatic Drainage Massage in Jacksonville

Whether you have had lipo, breast augmentation or mastectomy, or other types of surgeries, chances are your lymph system has been impacted. First off, drink plenty of water and incorporate movement into your day-to-day. Secondly, a professionally trained and certified lymphatic drainage massage therapist can target problem areas and stimulate drainage.

At First Coast Neuromuscular Massage, Ron Jarvis is a highly-trained massage therapist specializing in manual lymphatic drainage for post-surgery patients and those seeking relief from swelling or inflammation. Contact us today to schedule!