What’s a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage and the way does it work?

Lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage is a sort of therapeutic massage remedy that will assist to alleviate swelling that happens when medical therapy or poor well being causes blockages to the lymphatic system. That is the a part of the physique that protects us from an infection and illness.

Sure well being situations – together with weight problems, irritation, an infection and most cancers – could cause lymph fluids to construct up, a situation referred to as lymphedema. Lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage can assist to scale back this by utilizing mild strain to maneuver lymph (extra fluid) out of your tissues to your lymph nodes.

“In case you consider your physique like a fish tank, the lymphatic system acts like a filtration system,” says Jules Willcocks, founding father of Body Ballancer® Systems Ltd. “In case you don’t take care of the filtration pipes, it doesn’t matter what number of occasions you fill it up with recent water, it could rapidly get clogged and poisonous.”

Willcocks says it is because the mechanics that assist to maintain the water recent and wholesome aren’t working correctly. The lymphatic system works in the identical method – should you don’t have a completely functioning wholesome lymphatic system it should, over time, get clogged with toxins that result in plenty of well being issues.”

Right here, we’ll dive deeper into how lymphatic therapeutic massage works, the potential advantages, and a step-by-step information on find out how to carry out a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage your self.

What’s a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage?

“The lymphatic system sits alongside the physique’s cardiovascular system, quietly serving to to take care of your well being,” explains Willcocks. The explanation it’s so necessary is as a result of it performs three essential features. It helps your immune system by eradicating toxins, useless blood cells, pathogens and different waste. It helps your physique to soak up fat and fat-soluble nutritional vitamins out of your digestive system, delivering these vitamins to cells the place they’re used as gasoline. And it additionally removes extra fluid – referred to as ‘lymph’ – and waste merchandise from the areas between the cells and organs of the physique.”

Willcock says {that a} wholesome lymphatic system can turn into compromised resulting from sickness, lack of bodily exercise, stress, poor eating regimen or poisonous overload. This will result in a spread of points, together with tissue swelling, poor pores and skin tone, extra weight, cellulite, headaches, joint ache, fatigue and higher susceptibility to sickness.

“Lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage can assist to maintain the physique working easily by enhancing lymphatic circulation,” she says. “The therapeutic massage gently targets the fragile lymph vessels and nodes that sit slightly below the pores and skin, which solely require very mild strain with the intention to transfer fluid via. In contrast, therapies like aromatherapy, sports activities and Swedish therapeutic massage use a firmer contact to work into a special space of the physique and the muscle mass.”

What does a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage do?

Lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage, or guide lymphatic drainage as it’s also identified, can assist the physique to keep up correct blood circulation, physique fluid steadiness and immune perform.

It’s a therapeutic massage approach that works to encourage the pure motion of lymph fluids, with studies suggesting it might assist folks with the next well being situations:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lymphedema (swelling within the legs, ft or arms)
  • Fibromyalgia (a long-term situation that causes irritation, discoloration of the pores and skin and swelling) 
  • Power venous insufficiency (when leg veins don’t enable blood to circulation again to the guts, inflicting blood to pool within the legs)

A randomized controlled trial wanting into the influence that lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage had on health-related high quality of life and signs of continual venous insufficiency additionally discovered that it helped to scale back ache ranges.

What are the potential advantages of a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage?

“The lymphatic system helps your immune system by eradicating toxins, eliminating extra fluid and serving to your physique to soak up nutritional vitamins out of your digestive system,” says Willcocks. “As we all know, the lymphatic system can usually get blocked or overrun due to issues like stress, sickness and an unhealthy way of life. Whereas an excellent eating regimen and common train are necessary, lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage could give your lymphatic system a lift, resulting in a variety of well being, aesthetic and health advantages.” 

These may embody:

  • Lowering swelling attributable to water retention
  • Boosting the immune system to assist forestall sickness and illness 
  • Eradicating pathogens and toxins
  • Enhancing digestion
  • Serving to you are feeling lighter and fewer bloated
  • Aiding sleep and rest
  • Enhancing physique form
  • Supporting quicker muscle restoration to assist with train

The best way to carry out a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage

In addition to receiving a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage from a licensed therapist, you may be taught fundamental methods to make use of at residence.

“To carry out lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage, use mild strain that solely impacts the pores and skin – that’s to say, don’t press so laborious that you simply really feel the muscle,” says Lizzie Learn, sports activities therapeutic massage and sports activities remedy coach from P3RFORM. “Use a flat palm, or fingertips, and tender, easy actions. Though lymphatic therapeutic massage can be utilized to scale back swelling and irritation, keep away from instantly massaging any areas which might be swollen as this might trigger additional irritation to that space.

“Lymph fluid in the end drains into the bloodstream on the base of the neck, so that is a very powerful place to focus any lymphatic therapeutic massage – even when you have swelling or irritation in different areas. Use sluggish, aware actions – not laborious and quick such as you would possibly discover with deep tissue therapeutic massage. Discover a mild rhythm whereas training lymphatic therapeutic massage. Don’t therapeutic massage in round motions, therapeutic massage in strokes, in a single course solely.”


Bergmann, A., Baiocchi, J., & de Andrade, M. (2021). Conservative therapy of lymphedema: the state-of-the-art. Jornal vascular brasileiro, 20, e20200091. https://doi.org/10.1590/1677-5449.200091 

dos Santos Crisóstomo, R. S., Costa, D. S., de Luz Belo Martins, C., Fernandes, T. I., & Armada-da-Silva, P. A. (2015). Affect of guide lymphatic drainage on health-related high quality of life and signs of continual venous insufficiency: a randomized managed trial. Archives of bodily drugs and rehabilitation, 96(2), 283–291. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apmr.2014.09.020 


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