What Does A Lymphatic Drainage Massage Do?

Your body's lymphatic system helps create, stock, and deliver lymph to combat disease and infection (per National Cancer Institute). It is a part of the immune system. The lymphatic system is vast and made up of adenoids, bone marrow, the spleen, tonsils, as well as the thymus (per MedlinePlus). There are also lymph nodes and vessels extending throughout the body and its tissue groups.

Lymph nodes — small seed-shaped glands found in the abdomen, armpit, chest, groin, and neck — are connected by lymph vessels, says National Cancer Institute. MedlinePlus says that lymph is fluid made up of white blood cells and other proteins and fats. Lymph fluid may carry waste materials, bacteria, and cancer cells to the lymph nodes (per Canadian Cancer Society). When these kinds of harmful substances are present in the lymph fluid, the nodes may swell as they produce the white blood cells, or lymphocytes (via MedlinePlus). A swollen lymph node may be a sign of a condition like strep throat or mono, says Medical News Today. Further, swollen lymph nodes may be tender or cause some pain (via Mayo Clinic). However, sometimes the lymph fluid does not drain properly and requires some assistance.

Lymphatic drainage massage: procedure, benefits, and risks

If you have painful swelling in your arms or legs, then you may have a condition called lymphedema, where lymph fluid builds up in the body (per Cleveland Clinic). According to Medical News Today, a lymphatic drainage massage is usually performed by a specialized medical professional. However, you can also learn how to do it at home. During a lymphatic drainage massage, the areas of the body with fluid build-up are released. The fluid is then guided to flow towards areas of the body with lymph nodes (per Cleveland Clinic). WebMD says that there are several types of lymphatic drainage massage techniques that incorporate circulation motions, sweeping movements, periods of rest, or combinations of techniques.

There are many potential benefits of lymphatic drainage massage. WebMD says that lymphatic drainage may help the body regulate immunity through the maintenance of blood circulation and regulation of body fluid. Further, this type of massage can reduce the pain and swelling that comes with lymphedema (per Medical News Today). However, lymphatic drainage massage is not for everyone. Cleveland Clinic says that if you have blood clots, an infection, a heart condition, or kidney failure, then lymphatic drainage massage is not recommended.