Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a style of massage designed to work specifically on the Lymphatic System. It is used when people suffer from fluid retention, this can be due to dietary issues, fibre structure (cellulite) when lymph nodes have been removed affecting drainage, or if someone is recovering from illness or needs a boost to immunity. It is also good for general health and aiding in detoxifying programs.
Lymph is actually the fluid that sits between the cells or interstitial fluid and it is an important part of the immune and the elimination systems of the body. As cells do their thing to keep you functioning at your best they excrete waste into the interstitial fluid around them. This waste is or lymph is passed through drainage pathways and lymph nodes to particular areas of the body where the lymph is drained back into the bloodstream at the sub-clavian vein under the collar bone and liver and kidneys then clean the blood and eliminate the waste. The majority of lymph sits very close to the skin, you have skin, fat or adipose tissue, lymph and then muscle. Lymph is moved through the system by our physical movement, so a sedentary lifestyle can cause a build up of lymph or edema.
Lymph is also important for immunity as the nodes which are concentrated in certain areas such as groin, breast, abdomen and the joints act produce lymphocytes which are cells designed to sniff out any nasty bacteria or pathogens for destruction. If you cut your finger for example the first major joint area being the wrist will have lymph nodes that can produce lymphocytes to eat any bacteria that might have entered your system through that cut. It is a major line of defence for the body.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a very light massage designed to stimulate the lymph nodes and drain the lymphatic system. Unlike other massage styles we work proximal to distal, meaning we start near the area of lymph node concentration, drain that first then move out further each time. The easy way to think of it is that you need to empty the "bucket" before you can fill it again.
Lymphatic Massage is light and slow and uses movements such as light C Scooping, Pumping, Deep abdominal breathing and fingertip stimulation. We use Arrowroot powder as this allows for glide rather than oil so we keep the movements slow and light.
Lymph Node Removal
If you have had lymph nodes removed due to cancer or some other physical issue lymphatic drainage will be an essential part of your health maintenance. When nodes are removed areas such as arms and legs can develop a build up of lymph causing swelling, dull aching and pain. When nodes have been removed we compensate for that by moving the lymph to another area of node concentration.
Recovery from illness, Immune Boosting & Detoxifying
If you have had a prolonged time of illness and bed rest with little movement lymphatic drainage can be beneficial as lymph is only moved by our physical movements. Sitting for long periods causes a lymph build up, we see this when we sit at computers and notice our legs feeling achy and ankles appearing swollen. If you have had a repetition of flus or viruses a series of Lymphatic Drainage Treatments will help in stimulating this important system and support good immune function. Think of it as a Spring Clean. Lymphatic Drainage is popular when people are having a detox as it supports waste elimination.
We will assess your needs especially if you have had nodes removed. Massage is often done fully de-robed but with appropriate draping, the reason being that underwear especially if it is tight can interfere with the drainage process in the inguinal node area. You comfort is fully respected and if you wish to keep underwear on you are welcome to do so. As there are a lot of nodes around breast and groin we will work close to these areas, however we will do so with your comfort in mind at all times.
The massage is slow and light, very relaxing our clients often fall asleep and it is best done as series of 3 treatments close together. You can have them once a week or with 3 days apart it is up to you. You can't have Deep Tissue or Remedial Massage whilst having your treatment series as the types of massage interrupt the Lymphatic System for about 48 hours and will actually interfere with the process.