Lymphatic drainage is a therapeutic massage treatment. The massage uses very light pressure and long, gentle, rhythmic strokes to increase the flow of lymph and reduce toxins in your body.
The lymph system is part of your body’s immune system and helps fight infection. Lymph itself is a clear, slightly yellow fluid. It transports nutrients and oxygen to cells, collecting toxins on the way and flushing them out through the lymph nodes. You have around twice as many lymph vessels as blood vessels in your body. However, unlike blood, which is pumped around by your heart, the lymph system has no pump. The pressure from your blood vessels and movement from your muscles push the lymphatic fluid around.
Lymphatic drainage massage can have a beneficial effect on your general health. Because lymph is key to keeping your immune system working properly, improving the flow and drainage of lymph around the body is good for you in lots of ways.
Lymphatic drainage can:
- reduce the chance of you suffering from minor colds and viruses; it helps your body fight off infection, and speeds up healing and recovery from illness
- help reduce water retention; for instance, because the lymph system has no pump, if you sit for a long time without moving, the lymph can’t flow easily — this is why you may experience swollen feet or fingers
- boost weight loss, as improving the lymphatic system will improve your metabolic rate, which helps you burn calories more efficiently.
Manual lymphatic drainage is also used in the treatment of lymphoedema.
Lymphatic drainage massage can improve your skin texture by:
- reducing swelling, puffiness and blotches
- giving you clean, healthy pores
- speeding up healing in scar tissue, so it may, for example, improve the appearance of stretch marks
- helping to reduce cellulite; the massage increases blood flow and circulation to the affected areas, which helps the body break down the toxins which cause dimply skin.
Always tell your therapist in advance if you are, or think you might be, pregnant, have any medical conditions or are receiving any treatment or medication, have recently had an operation, or are allergic to anything.