What are the primary steps of a lymphatic massage? If this is your first experience with lymphatic massage therapy, take a look at what you can expect from this type of hands-on treatment.
When Should You Get This Type of Massage?
Lymphatic drainage therapy is different from other types of massage services. While you will get the calming and relaxation benefits, manual lymphatic drainage techniques help to relieve swelling in your arms and legs. As the name implies, this type of massage targets the lymphatic system.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, 20 liters of plasma move through the arteries and smaller blood vessels of the human body daily. While nearly 17 liters return to the circulatory system, three move into the capillaries and the tissue. It's the lymphatic system's job to collect this extra fluid and move it back into the bloodstream. This helps your body to maintain normal fluid levels and protects you from foreign invaders (such as bacteria or viruses).
Some types of chronic medical conditions (such as fibromyalgia or chronic venous insufficiency), infections, cancer, cancer treatments, and trauma can cause lymphedema, commonly known as swelling. A lymphatic massage can help to move or drain fluid that accumulates in certain areas of the body. This reduces swelling, pain, and pressure.
What is the Clearing Step?
Before the massage therapist can move the accumulated fluid, they need to release it from the tissue. This is the first step of the massage process. A highly skilled, well-qualified massage professional should know how to gently and effectively release the fluid that causes arm or leg swelling. Even though this can relieve some of the physical tension in your body, it won't eliminate lymphedema. This is where the next step in the process comes into play.
What Is Lymphatic Drainage?
The accumulated fluid in your body needs to go somewhere. Lymphedema happens when you don't properly or fully reabsorb fluid. After the therapist clears the fluid from the areas of accumulation, they can gently push it toward the lymph nodes. Not only does this move fluid away from the affected areas, but it also moves accumulated waste products out of the tissue.
How Often Should You Get This Type of Massage?
Even though you may see and feel immediate results, lymphatic drainage massage is not a permanent solution or one time and it's done approach to lymphedema. You may need to schedule repeat massage services for lasting or consistent results. The specific massage schedule you need depends on the extent of the swelling, the underlying condition or reason for the fluid accumulation, and how your body responds to the clearing and drainage.