A form of light touch massage, lymphatic drainage massage (also called manual lymphatic drainage or MLD) helps move lymph fluid through the body to aid in detoxification.
The movement of lymph helps remove waste and toxins from body cells, a process that can be retarded or blocked by surgeries and some health conditions like edema, fibromyalgia, and lymphedema.
When the lymphatic system isn’t functioning well, the body can swell and ache, causing feelings of sluggishness and even sickness. Lymphatic drainage massage can help the body flush toxins and reabsorb fluids.
Unlike the circulatory system, where the heart serves as a central pump to move blood through arteries and veins, there is no pump in the lymphatic system.
Instead, the lymphatic system relies on physical movement, breathing, and the movement of smooth muscles to push fluid through the lymph vessels, most of which are just underneath the skin and can be manipulated through this form of massage.
Lymphatic drainage massage can be particularly helpful for people with the following conditions:
- edema or swelling
- skin disorders
- tiredness and stress
- difficulty sleeping
- digestive problems
- arthritis and other inflammation
- migraine headaches
- post-op swelling from operations like liposuction, tummy tucks, and arm, thigh, or Brazilian butt lifts
In fact, lymphatic massage can increase recovery time from cosmetic surgery by up to to 50%.
Lymphatic drainage massage has also been shown to reduce thigh circumference and the appearance of cellulite and fat in women. It can also reduce the formation of scars.
During a lymphatic massage, gentle, rhythmic, strokes are used to open and close the lymphatics, moving lymph towards nodes that filter the fluid and expel toxins from the body. Lymphatic massage also invites relaxation and reduces muscle soreness, swelling, muscle tiredness and weakness, and pain.