The lymphatic system works to remove cellular waste, specifically toxins, from the body. Sometimes, the lymph system can become blocked, decreasing its efficiency, and this is when a lymph massage can help.
Lymphatic massage was developed in 1932 by a Danish physician, Dr. Hans Vodder, in response to his finding that swollen lymph nodes are directly associated with the common cold and other infections. This technique was first practiced in the United States in 1982. Ultra light, pumping strokes that follow the muscle fibers are used for manual lymphatic drainage or MLD. The lymph flow follows the same path as the muscle fibers. Here are five types of lymph massage:
1. Sports Injury Enhancement
Lymphatic massage can be useful for traumatic sports injuries, such as sprains and muscle strains. This can be performed after the full inflammatory process of the injury has evolved. The massage will help to reduce minor swelling, enhance tissue regeneration and speed up the healing process.
2. Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia and Arthritis
MLD can help manage these chronic, pain-related conditions by reducing inflammation. While lymphatic massage is not a cure for these conditions, it can work effectively as an alternative form of therapy. It can increase flexibility and reduce chronic joint pain and soreness.
3. Skin Quality and Clarity
This type of massage helps to prevent dry skin and weakened underlying muscles, especially on the face. The aesthetic value of this form of therapy is invaluable. Simple lymph massage works to remove the excess fluid that causes under eye puffiness and baggy eyes. It can also help to improve chronic acne.
4. Breast Cancer after Care
Reducing minor swelling in the arm on the affected side after a mastectomy, especially when axillary lymph nodes have been removed, is crucial to a strong recovery and return to self-care. Lymphatic drainage helps to achieve this goal.
5. Immune System Boost
Lymphatic massage boosts the body’s immune system and, in turn, helps to reduce the frequency of colds and breaks up congestion. Before the cold and flu season begins, lymphatic drainage can give a much needed boost to the immune system.
A lymphatic massage should never be done when there is a bacterial infection, cancerous tumor, blood clots or heart disease noted. It is known to cause fatigue in some, an energy surge in others and dehydration so be sure to rest and rehydrate with 1 to 2 liters of water after undergoing MLD.
It is important to weigh the benefits and risks of any new treatment. As always, check with your health care professional before beginning any new medical regime or alternative therapy such as lymph massage.