Therapeutic Benefits of
Manual Lymphatic Drainage
Most people are familiar with deep tissue, hot stone, or
sports massage and the therapeutic benefits they have on
the mind and body. But many aren't aware of another
type of therapeutic massage that helps to release toxins
in your body - manual lymphatic drainage.
Lymphatic drainage is a gentle form of massage that
stimulates the lymphatic system to promote the removal
of bodily toxins and waste and encourages a healthy
immune system. To fully understand the benefits of
lymphatic drainage, it helps to learn more about the
The lymphatic system is an extensive drainage network that helps
keep bodily fluid levels in balance and defends the body against
infections. It is made up of lymphatic vessels that carry lymph a clear, watery fluid that contains nutrients - throughout the
Lymph fluid flows through the lymph nodes, which act as filters
trapping anything harmful that the body doesn't need. This
includes bacteria, viruses, damaged cells, or cancer cells. When
bacteria or other immune threats are present in lymph, lymph
nodes increase production of infection-fighting white blood
cells, which can cause the nodes to swell. The human body has
between 400-700 lymph nodes depending on the person.
The lymphatic system has no "pump" of its own to move
lymph through the system. Rather, regular body
movement and breathing function to move liquid
lymph through the vessels and filters of the lymph
nodes. For people who get too little exercise and eat
too much processed food, the lymphatic system can
easily be overtaxed and not function efficiently leaving your body susceptible to infection and disease.
By stimulating the lymph nodes through massage, it
helps to clear any blockages and gives the lymphatic
system a boost keeping it running healthy and strong.
What to expect
Lymphatic drainage is a specialized hand technique
that consists of very gentle and rhythmic
movements, administered by a highly trained
therapist. Each stroke slightly moves the skin in the
direction of the lymphatic flow to encourage the
drainage of fluid and waste.
Depending what your complaints are, the focus of a
lymph massage for general immune stimulation is
typically on the upper body, including the face,
neck, and arms. After your lymph massage, it's
important to drink plenty of water, reduce your
salt intake and avoid alcohol.
Lymphatic drainage massage can benefit just about everyone. The
benefits are many and include:
Detox: At the end of winter the body benefits from lymphatic
drainage to reduce the sluggishness brought on by consuming too
many starchy, high fat foods and getting too little exercise.
Headache: Most headaches including those resulting from sinusitis
have a component of congestion that responds well to lymphatic
drainage. Once tissue is decongested, blocked fluid and blood
flow improve, reducing pain and discomfort.
Promote healing: After surgery or injury, tissues may be
swollen and sore. Lymphatic drainage will help drain the
tissues, reduce inflammation and improve healing.
Pregnncy and after: There is often fluid retention in pregnant
women and lymphatic drainage can improve comfort
especially in the legs and feet.
Reduce swelling: After long periods of immobility such as air
travel, fluid tends to stagnate in the tissues making them
puffy and tender. This condition responds well when fluid is
reduced with lymphatic drainage.
Reduces scar tissue: lymph drainage regenerates tissues to
reduce scarring at surgical incision sites.