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 the cells of the body. This process can be slowed 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 you flush toxins, reabsorb fluids, and feel better.
Unlike the circulatory system, where the heart pumps blood through arteries and veins, there is no pump in the lymphatic system.
Instead, the lymphatic system relies on physical movement, breathing, and smooth muscles to push fluid through the lymph vessels. Most lymph vessels are just beneath the skin and can be accessed through this form of massage.
Lymphatic drainage massage can be particularly helpful for people with the following conditions:
- post-op swelling from operations like liposuction, tummy tucks, mommy makeovers, breast augmentation or reduction *, mastectomy, face lift, arm lift, thigh lift, and Brazilian butt lift (BBL) surgeries — read more about post-op massage in Knoxville, TN
- lymphedema †
- edema or swelling
- skin disorders
- tiredness and stress
- difficulty sleeping
- digestive problems
- arthritis and other inflammation
- migraine headaches
In fact, lymphatic massage can speed 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. (For a more intense form of lymphatic bodywork that contours the body, see wood therapy.)
Lymphatic massage can also reduce scarring, especially in conjunction with scar release massage and cicatrisant essential oils.
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.
While this offering is suitable for pre-surgery, those seeking lymphatic massage as part of surgery aftercare should book a package of post-op massages instead.
* Note: Due to state law, male massage therapists cannot perform manual lymphatic drainage on female breast tissue. Drainage of the armpits, back, and areas adjacent to the breasts is still quite effective in reducing inflammation, pain, and speeding up recovery. Contact me for details or for a referral to a female therapist.
† We do not have a Certified Lymphedema Therapist (CLT) on staff at this time. Feel free to contact us for referrals, or read “How to Find a Qualified Lymphedema Therapist.”