Lymphatic Drainage massage works with the lymphatic system.
The Lymphatic system
The Lymphatic system can be thought of as the body's second circulatory system. It is made up of lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, lymph (the interstitial fluid drained through the vessels), and lymphocytes (specialized immune cells). The tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus are all part of the lymph system.Lymph nodes are soft, small structures located in the armpits, groin, and neck, as well as in the centre of the chest and abdomen. The lymph nodes produce immune cells that fight infection while filtering lymph fluid to remove foreign material. When bacteria or other immune threats are present in lymph, lymph nodes increase production of infection-fighting white blood cells, which can cause the nodes to swell.The lymphatic system has no "pump" of its own. So bodily movement, contraction of muscles and breathing helps to move lymph through the vessels and lymph nodes. People who get too little exercise and eat too much processed food, can easily overtax their lymphatic systems resulting in a bodies that are susceptible to infection.
The aim of the massage
The aim of the massage is to move fluid from the swollen area into an area where the lymphatic system is working normally. To do this the therapist, first massages and clears the area they want the fluid to drain into. It might seem strange to have them massage your chest and neck if you have Lymphoedema in your arm. But it means that the fluid has somewhere to drain to when they massage your arm.When you have the massage you feel a gentle pressure. It is not a deep massage. If it is too deep it won’t work because it flattens the small lymph vessels so that the fluid can’t drain. The movements are slow and rhythmic so the lymph vessels open up.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage can help with:
•Lymphatic drainage can help you heal more quickly from a cold or shake off fatigue•Swollen ankles during pregnancy•After surgery on or removal of lymph nodes such as surgery for breast cancer (check with your consultant before booking a LDM)
Circumstances under which lymphatic massage or drainage should
•When patients who have developed Lymphedema after surgery experience a sudden, marked increase in localized swelling. See your doctor or consultant first. •Patients with a sudden onset of Lymphangitis (an infection) should stop treatment until the infection is treated and completely clears up. •Patients who are at increased risk for blood clotting should be tested to rule out deep-venous thrombosis before being treated. During treatment, these patients should be followed closely, and testing should be performed on a regular basis.•Patients who have congestive heart failure must be monitored closely to avoid moving too much fluid too quickly, which could put a strain on the heart.•When pain is present, treatment should be discontinued until the underlying cause has been determined.