How Exactly Does Massage Promote Lymphatic Drainage


November 8, 2021


Derrick Allen

Did you know that lymph nodes throughout the body can become clogged and cause serious medical problems? Many things can go wrong with the lymphatic system if it is not taken care of. 

Proper lymphatic drainage is important in making sure the lymphatic system functions properly. When lymph nodes can no longer drain as they should, they can cause a variety of problems such as lymphedema.

If you’re worried about issues arising with lymphatic drainage, you might be wondering if there is anything you can do to keep your lymphatic system running smoothly. In fact, there is. A lymphatic drainage massage can do wonders regarding the flow of lymph throughout the body. 

But how does a lymphatic drainage massage work? How does the lymphatic system itself work and why is it important to the overall health of your body?

If you’re asking yourself these questions, you’re in the right place to find your answers. Keep reading and learn all about lymphatic drainage and the lymphatic system below.

What Is the Lymphatic System?

While you may not hear much about the lymphatic system, it is important for your body’s immune system. Similar to your blood vessels and nerves, the lymphatic system is a system of vessels that run throughout the body. However, instead of transporting blood or electrical signals, this system transports a clear liquid known as lymph. 

Lymph is all the waste products left in the blood after the blood has already delivered necessary nutrients to cells throughout the body. The lymph may also absorb excess fat and proteins in the body. The lymph is eventually returned to the bloodstream, allowing for the maintenance of the body’s fluid levels. 

The lymphatic system is also responsible for the body’s immune response. When a foreign pathogen is introduced to the body, the lymphatic system releases white blood cells to attack the threat. Without the lymphatic system, we would succumb to simple pathogens such as the common cold. 

The lymphatic system consists of many parts including the lymph, lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, and collecting ducts. Lymphatic organs include the spleen, the tonsils, bone marrow, the appendix, and the thymus. Every organ and part of the lymphatic system is important in fighting off foreign invaders. 

Medical Conditions of the Lymphatic System

As we have seen, the functions of the lymphatic system are important to the wellbeing of our bodies. When it stops working properly, it can be detrimental to the body. The primary issues that affect the lymphatic system include lymphedema, lymphadenopathy, and cancer. 

Lymphedema occurs when there is a buildup or blockage of fluid in the lymphatic system. It can be an extremely painful condition and increase the risk of serious infection. 

Lymphadenopathy is the swelling of lymph nodes often in response to an infection. Lymphoma on the other hand, or cancer affecting the lymphatic system, is the uncontrollable growth of lymphatic cells. Cancer of this kind can often cause serious blockages in the lymphatic system and can be fatal. 

At this point, you may be wondering: what is lymphatic drainage and how can it be promoted with a massage? We’ll explore just that next.

Understanding Lymphatic Drainage Massages

A manual lymphatic drainage massage can be performed with the hands to remove any buildup in the lymphatic system. It can also promote better lymphatic circulation and reduce swelling. More than that, people with a variety of health conditions may find relief through lymphatic drainage massages. 

This kind of massage can either be performed by a trained medical professional or at home. However, if you do plan on performing this massage at home, it is best to talk to your doctor about it first. 

Many people who get regular lymphatic drainage massages often report various benefits. These benefits can include building up your immune system, reducing stress and anxiety, and promoting chronic pain relief. These massages may also help with migraine headaches and certain skin conditions. 

But what should you expect from this kind of massage?

How a Lymphatic Drainage Massage Is Performed

Before a lymphatic drainage massage, it is important to first start with lymphatic breathing. This is a type of deep breathing that helps to promote lymph circulation throughout the body. It also helps to stimulate the lymph nodes and prepare them to be massaged. 

To start lymphatic breathing, you should rest your hands on your stomach and inhale deeply through your nose, allowing your stomach to expand. Then, exhale via your mouth. Do this a few times until you feel comfortable. 

A lymphatic massage often begins at the neck, chest, and upper arms. However, you can start with the lower body as well. Before you begin massaging, it is important to prepare the target area.

Preparation involves the gentle stroking or pumping of the skin over certain lymphatic vessels and nodes. This will promote lymph circulation. 

The massage itself uses similar techniques. For example, when massaging the chest, place your hand flat on one side of your chest. Then, slide your hand up towards your neck until you feel tension in the skin of your chest, then stop. 

You should not be massaging your muscles in this kind of massage. Rather, you want to slide your hands gently over the skin as to only influence the skin and the lymphatic vessels beneath.  

After the massage, you may feel less swelling and pain throughout your body. However, you will likely feel more substantial results after several massages. 

After your massage, it is important to drink plenty of water and avoid processed foods. By doing this along with lymphatic drainage massages, your lymphatic system is likely to run very smoothly. 

The Lymphatic Drainage Massage

You now know all about how the lymphatic system works and how a lymphatic drainage massage can help promote its function. In order to keep your body healthy, you need to keep your lymphatic system healthy. 

If you’re interested in learning more about this topic, check out what we’re about here