– Lymphatic Drainage Massage –
– Because none of us are strangers to feeling puffy once in a while –
Sometimes we notice it after a deep tissue massage.
Sometimes we notice it after a hot stone massage.
Sometimes we just wake up feeling puffy.
Is there anything to be done about it?
My friends, I give you Lymphatic Drainage Massage
What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM) is a therapeutic massage treatment technique.
The massage uses very light pressure with gentle, rhythmic strokes throughout the body
in order to increase the flow and efficiency of the lymphatic system.
Okay. So what is the Lymphatic System?
I’m glad you asked! An article by Encyclopedia Britannica gives a lovely,
succinct overview of the important anatomy and physiology of the lymphatic system.
I have summarized it below, but the full article can be found here
The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels, tissues, and organs throughout the human body
which is responsible for helping to maintain fluid balance in the body.
The lymphatic system collects excess fluid, filters debris, pathogens,
and particulate matter from said fluid, and re-deposits it back into the blood stream.
The lymphatic system also helps defend the body against infection by regulating
the production and distribution of disease-fighting cells called lymphocytes
As blood circulates, blood plasma diffuses out through the thin walls of the capillaries into the interstitial/extracellular fluid.
This is a good thing. This is how nutrients reach the cells throughout the body.
Most of this fluid is re-absorbed back into the bloodstream after depositing nutrients to the cells,
but some of it is left behind, and is now saturated with cellular debris
and foreign particles the body would like to purge.
This is where the lymphatic system comes in to play.
The fluids that are left behind by the circulatory system are siphoned off by the lymphatic system.
Now that that fluid has been absorbed by the lymphatic system, it is called “lymph.”
The lymph is transported along lymph vessels, filtered clean at lymph nodes, and then reintegrated into the blood stream.
The lymphatic system also protects the body against infection and disease
because tissues and organs found in the lymphatic system are responsible for producing,
differentiating, and proliferating white blood cells (lymphocytes)
which help rid the body of pathogens.
When the lymphatic system is functioning optimally, it maintains the fluid balance throughout the body
and keeps any bacteria/viruses/pathogens at bay. When the lymphatic system is compromised or sluggish,
fluid may begin to pool in the tissues at a faster rate than the lymphatic system can remove it
(this condition is called Lymphedema) and the body may be more susceptible to illness.
So if I’m reading this correctly, Lymphatic Drainage Massage
can help with puffiness and may boost my immune function?
Yes! The benefits attributed to LDM are vast and varied,
but typically involve a reduction in swelling and water retention,
and a moderate increase in circulating lymphocytes.
LDM has shown promising effects on puffiness and swelling in the face,
making it a popular treatment for someone wanting to tone up before a big event.
LDM has shown promising effects when combined with deep tissue and fascial techniques on
the appearance of cellulite, making it a popular treatment for someone with an upcoming beach holiday.
**No massage technique will truly result in the loss of fat from any area.
Treatments targeted at cellulite are designed to break up adhesions and restrictions, encourage fresh blood flow,
and diminish water retention in the area –
effectively smoothing the tissue and diminishing the puckered appearance of cellulite.**
Note our disclaimer that LDM is meant to encourage your body’s natural ability to filter and protect.
Not to replace it. Responses to LDM will vary depending on many things,
including your current lymphatic function, activity levels, nutrition, hydration,
injury and surgery history, and cancer/chemotherapy history.
What should I expect after an LDM session?
As LDM is encouraging your body to filter cellular debris and water at a faster rate
than it was before the session, your body may feel a bit sluggish after an LDM session,
especially if you don’t receive frequent bodywork.
This will pass. If you do feel sluggish, honor what your body is telling you, and take it easy for the rest of the day.
When it comes to prolonging the effects of the LDM session, there are a few common and simple suggestions.
First and foremost, Get Moving!
The lymphatic system does not have its own pump:
the flow of lymph through the body relies on pressure differentials created within the tissues,
and the best way to stimulate all of that is to Move.
Muscular contractions stimulate lymphatic flow. It’s as simple as that.
Other ways to encourage lymphatic flow at home is to drink enough water,
consider lowering your salt intake, and analyze your daily posture.
Poor posture can block lymphatic pathways, and slow flow in that area.