When you think of “massage,” what comes to mind? Maybe warm towels, a dark room, and tranquil music. Maybe it’s a well-deserved day of self care and relaxation. 

There are two problems with that last sentence: “deserved” and “day.”

A massage can certainly be a treat, but it goes so much deeper than that, and a mindset that tells you that self-care has to be deserved and reserved for a day here and there needs to be adjusted. Your body is a wise, intelligent self-healer if it’s given the ongoing tools and attention it needs. That’s why we actually dislike the word “massage,” much preferring to call it body therapy.

It’s also important to note that there are different types of massage treatments that elicit very specific benefits. In fact, depending on your individual health goals, chronic pain, or past accidents, a body therapy treatment plan can be developed specifically for your needs.

Today, let’s focus on lymphatic drainage massage. 

A quick reminder of how your lymphatic system works

As a critical part of your overall immune system, your lymphatic system is like the ultimate recycling machine. After nutrient-rich plasm is moved through your body, the “leftover” waste (lymph) passes through your capillaries and into your tissues. Your lymphatic system then moves that lymph on a journey back to your bloodstream. 

While it’s doing all of that, your lymphatic system also carries fat and protein gleaned during digestion to your bloodstream, and assists with creating the white blood cells that help keep you healthy. It’s a real multi-tasker!

When the lymphatic system isn’t able to move all of this fluid, performing its essential functions, a number of health issues can arise. These issues tend to centralize around your lymph nodes that are located at several points throughout your body and filter the lymph fluid. Even if you don’t have a strong medical background, you likely know how swollen lymph nodes can be a scary discovery. 

What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage?

Lymphedema occurs when your lymph fluid is trapped, collecting in what becomes swollen and uncomfortable regions (typically your arms and legs). While compression clothing can help, many medical professionals also recommend manual lymphatic drainage massage. 

Here are a few of the key benefits:

  • Reduces swelling
  • Manually drains the lymph 
  • Increases circulation
  • Improves your immune system overall
  • Assists with reabsorption of lymph back into your bloodstream
  • Maintaining a healthy fluid balance 

Which conditions does lymphatic drainage massage help alleviate?

Lymphedema is the primary condition, and is extremely common among breast cancer patients, particularly those who are recovering from surgery.  

Additionally, this massage treatment can help those dealing with:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lipedema
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Digestive problems
  • Chronic venous insufficiency…and more

Post-surgery benefits of lymphatic drainage massage

Remember, your lymphatic system’s primary role is to detoxify. Surgeries can often impede these natural processes and the detoxification pathways, causing uncomfortable swelling. This is why lymphatic drainage massage comes highly recommended by many surgeons as part of your post-op care, and is often seen as a routine part of the process for cosmetic surgeries. After all, some swelling is a normal part of healing, but excessive swelling and fluid retention can and should be avoided.

Assisting your body in this healing process has tangible benefits, including:

  • Reduced discomfort
  • Faster healing time
  • Less swelling and bruising
  • Less scar tissue

This is all true for cosmetic surgery recovery, but it’s also true for those recovering from hip and knee replacements. Invasive trauma can have lingering effects and long timelines for recuperation, but strategic, intentional body therapy can help tremendously. 

How do you drain your lymphatic system?

It’s essential that this technique is administered by a trained professional. It has to be done correctly, with light pressure, and with a well rounded understanding of your health needs and conditions. It’s also important to note that caring for your body in this way is not a quick fix. It can certainly provide immediate relief, but to glean the most benefit you have to be consistent, have clear expectations, and work with experienced massage therapists. 

If you have more questions, please contact us at Body Therapy by Tanya Slattery. It would be our pleasure to talk with you in more depth and detail.