Lymphatic massage, also called lymphatic drainage or manual lymph drainage, is a technique developed in Germany originally used for the treatment of medical conditions from damage to the lymph system. The most common cause of this swelling in the lymph system is cancer surgery where nodes are removed. Most physicians and physical therapist are familiar with MLD only after systemic lymph edema has already occurred. Many cancer patients would greatly benefit from regular preventative lymph massage, as lymph-edema can occur immediately after radiation therapy or surgery, or weeks, months, and even years later.
As a massage therapist with over 23 years of experience, I have also seen the benefit of manual lymph drainage for “minor lymph congestion”. Although Dr Andrew Weil says on his web-site” As long as long as your lymphatic tissues or lymph nodes have not been damaged or removed, Dr. Weil maintains that that there is no need to worry about lymphatic flow and drainage.” He also mentions the importance of regular physical activity to stimulate the lymphatic system.
Unlike our cardiac system that relies on the heart to pump nutrients throughout the body, the only movement of the lymph is through muscular contraction the muscles. Normal lymph movement in the body can be reduced by stress, fatigue, inactivity, cold temperatures, infection, chemical or food additives, even one’s age and heredity.
So if you are not getting daily exercise due to any number of factors, lymph drainage can be of benefit to your immune system. It can reduce fatigue, menstrual cramps, cellulite and water retention, even sinusitis and hayfever allergies. When one suffers from hayfever, the body’s immune system goes into high gear as it over reacts to pollen, mold spores or other foreign body invaders. The result is irritation and inflammation of the sinuses.
Many clients of Dragonfly Therapeutic Massage began receiving this type of massage treatment when they mentioned facial pain or pressure during their regular massage service. Often after a prolonged cold or as a reaction to seasonal allergies not only will the client feel sinus pressure but also feel other symptoms of lymph congestion such as sluggish digestion and general fatigue. Spring allergy season is the perfect time to give your lymphatic system a “tune up.” By manually stimulating the increased flow of lymphatic fluid, it can reinvigorate your immune system and sweep out harmful toxins.
Guest blog y Tracie Pletcher LMT, NMT
Tracie Pletcher graduated from the Lancaster School of Massage in 1992, since that time she has expanded her skills and specialized in Deep Tissue Massage and Neuromuscular Therapy. She has also taken numerous continuing education classes including: Geothermal Therapy (hot & cold stone massage), CranioSacral Therapy, Infant Massage, Pre-natal Massage Techniques and Advanced Myofascial Release. She was a faculty member at Mt. Nittany Institute of Health until it closed in 2010, teaching Deep Fascial Release, Neuromuscular Massage, Polarity Therapy, Pregnancy Massage and Seated Massage. She has been a Licensed Massage Therapist in the State of