You may have heard about lymphatic drainage and have nodded sagely when someone tells you how you should be getting it, but haven’t a clue what it actually is. You are not alone. It’s a treatment that has been around for a long time, but it is getting a lot of buzz recently with celebrities from Jennifer Aniston and Kendall Jenner to Chloe Grace Moretz adding it to their regular health and wellness routines.
But what is it, why is it good for you and what does it feel like? Don’t worry I’ve got you. Here’s all you need to know and then you can decide for yourself, if it’s for you.
What is the Lymphatic System?
It’s our body’s drainage, where we get rid of all the toxic build up from a poor diet, illness and infection, stress overload, anxiety and not enough sleep. The body can get clogged up and fluid can then not flow freely round the body making us feel sluggish, bloated, tired, or inflamed this is known as Lymphoedema.
The lymphatic system is made up of lymph nodes which clean this fluid, and then flush it back into the bloodstream or to the kidneys to be removed from the body. There’s no circulation in this system unlike your blood, so sometimes it needs a helping hand to clear the rubbish and reduce water retention.
Often after surgery or with an injury the lymphatic system can be damaged and if it’s not working efficiently, then it can add to the fluid retention.
Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage
This is the method we use to assist the body in clearing excess fluid retention, by stimulating the movement of lymph into the nodes to be broken down and cleaned. It is an extremely light touch massage, very different to deep tissue or myofascial work. The lymph is superficial under the skin so there is no need to go deep into the tissue.
The therapist will use scooping and pumping actions in a rhythmic pattern, clearing pathways along the lymph vessels. It’s also a dry massage, no oils or lotions are used. So it’s totally suitable for most people including the elderly and pregnant women.
If you have obvious swelling then you should see immediate results leaving you with less pain. It’s also extremely relaxing as it’s so rhythmic.
What can lymphatic drainage do for you?
Some of the many benefits to a lymphatic massage;
Boosts your immune system
Reduces pain and inflammation
Detoxifies and eliminates waste
Helps to reduce bloating
Reduces swelling and puffiness
Creates a feeling of lightness
Clears sinus congestion
It is very effective and recommended for;
Headaches and migraines (the pressure is super light)
Post cancer surgery and chemotherapy to enable detoxification
Poor immune system and consistent infection, such as sore throats and colds
Injury or trauma that has caused inflammation
Post cosmetic surgery where fluid is not draining efficiently
Swollen ankles during pregnancy
Post flight water retention
If your body is feeling lethargic and you have low energy, or you have repeated infection, pain and inflammation that won’t go away, a lymphatic drainage massage by a trained and certified practitioner could be highly beneficial.
Lynsey Keyes, is certified in Manual Lymphatic Drainage by WISC