The human body is amazingly resilient. Even when our diets and health are compromised, our body will attempt to combat undesired build-up using the lymphatic system.
Lymph means clear water in Latin, and it describes the fluid that flows through the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes that make up the lymphatic system.
The three primary roles of the lymphatic system the reason we need it in the first place⸺are that:
- It returns fluid from the tissues back to the heart
- It helps large molecules like hormones and lipids enter the blood
- It helps with immune surveillance to keep infections from running amok
Let’s take a closer look at lymph and where it comes from. The blood in the arteries is under a lot of pressure because it needs to reach every single nook and cranny of the body.
Whew, that’s a lot of pressure, right?
Every now and then, your lymphatic system may need a little encouragement from a specialized massage therapist who can aid lymphatic drainage.
So what exactly is lymph drainage therapy?
Lymphatic drainage massages are a type of gentle massage of the lymphatic system that is specially performed to help detoxify the body and stimulate lymphatic flow. The medical and massage communities usually call this procedure manual lymph drainage (MLD).
What does lymphatic drainage do for the body?
Your lymphatic system is a group of organs and tissues that act like a deep cleaner for your body. These interconnected tissues and organs, including your spleen, move lymph through your bloodstream.
Lymph is a fluid that holds a concentrated amount of white blood cells that flow through your lymphatic system to eliminate all the toxins, waste, and unnecessary byproducts that collect in different parts of your body.
How great is that?!
So, just like deep tissue massages alleviate muscle and nerve tension, lymphatic drainage massages gently soothe lymph nodes. In addition, these massages help lymph easily pass through, allowing toxins and build-up to flush through your system.
You can also aid lymphatic drainage by eating healthy foods, like our nutrient-dense drink with adaptogens and supergreens including wheatgrass, spinach, and barley grass, all of which support healthy detoxification of the body.
And be sure to drink plenty of water!
What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage massages?
Lymphatic drainage massages can help relieve a range of issues. Since the lymphatic system is so integral to your overall health, lymphatic drainage massages are increasingly becoming a routine part of people’s health and wellness regimens.
Treatment using lymphatic drainage massage was first recognized to benefit sufferers of lymphedema which can cause swelling in the arms and legs after cancer treatment.
People who have fibromyalgia may benefit from a lymphatic massage as it can help relieve depression and stiffness in the body.
If you have skin disorders like rosacea or acne, this massage may help release toxins before they appear on the skin.
Physicians and massage therapists have explored how lymphatic drainage massages may help with a range of other issues like seasonal allergies, jet lag, cellulite, and even post-cosmetic surgery detoxification.
As a health care option, lymphatic drainage massages are recommended to aid in weight loss, recovering after exercise, recovering from a cold, and fighting infection.
Types of lymph drainage therapy
The Vodder Method is the original, standard method of lymphatic drainage. Created by Emil and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s, the Vodder Method uses specific strokes and hand techniques to massage the lymph system in a specific order. This order is set so that the detoxifying benefits of MLD move through the lymphatic system in the proper progression.
MLD can be adapted to each person according to their current health and symptoms. MLD should be performed by a licensed practitioner only, as it requires specific gentle hand movements in a particular order.
Another method is called the Palper Rouler technique, the popular French method for hands-on relief of congested lymph and the appearance of cellulite.
If you prefer, your practitioner may be able to teach you an at-home method that can be performed by yourself or a loved one. This is the simple lymphatic drainage massage. It typically takes about 20 minutes per day and is best performed before bedtime. If a loved one does help, it further reduces stress and increases well-being.
Want two benefits in one? Try dry-brushing: using a natural-bristle brush to stimulate and help circulate the lymphatic system. Not only will it help lymphatic drainage, but it will exfoliate your skin as well! You can put a dab of your favorite skin-safe oil on the brush to really give your skin a spa treatment.
Or maybe go for an endermologie session. Using a special machine, therapists massage your body to drain lymph while also relieving or preventing cellulite formation and assisting post-surgery soreness.
The cost of lymphatic drainage massage
Just like with most health treatments, the cost of this kind of treatment varies based on where you go and how much you want or need. I’ve found that many places have a 30-minute session that can be anywhere from $40 to $65+.
Most specialists can do up to a two-hour lymphatic drainage massage. This 120-minute session can be anywhere from $80 to $160+.
Be sure to check your plan because lymph drainage therapy may be covered under your insurance, so you’ll want to speak with your insurance provider. If you are a cancer patient, it may also be a part of your post-cancer treatment plans. Also, some clinics may offer packages to reduce the cost of your treatment.
Are lymphatic drainage massages worth it?
Yes! Even if you perform a lymphatic drainage massage at home, I’m positive you will notice the benefits over time.
And, remember to check with your health care provider to make sure it is fitting for your current state of health. According to Healthline, lymphatic massage is not recommended for people with the following conditions:
- congestive heart failure
- history of blood clots or stroke
- current infection
- liver problems
- kidney problems
The lymphatic system is there to help your body detoxify and stay on track. Lymphatic drainage massages may be the answer to fight infection, increase circulation, and rid your body of unwanted toxins.
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XO – Serena