Also known as manual lymphatic therapy, this popular treatment is a very gentle, noninvasive massage technique used to stimulate the flow of lymphatic fluid around the body. Using slow, soft strokes, lymphatic drainage has been proven to help treat a wide range of health conditions and illnesses.
Pioneered in Germany for treatment of lymphedema, an accumulation of fluid which may occur after the removal of lymph nodes during surgery, lymphatic drainage is generally a whole body treatment that helps to relax the nervous system and promote high immunity.
In a nutshell, it’s our body's’ main defence against infection.
This network of tissues and organs also has the important task of transporting waste, excess water and toxins from the body. Unlike remedial massage, which focuses on the repair of weight-bearing muscles deep below the skin, lymphatic drainage concentrates on the connective tissues located immediately below the skin; tissues which often go neglected.
Lymphatic drainage has actually been proven to help to relieve a huge number of health conditions, including arthritis, dermatological conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, fluid retention, headaches and migraines, sports injuries, and fatigue.
It’s also a great treatment option for patients who have developed lymphedema, a relatively common condition of fluid retention and tissue swelling which can often be caused by cancer treatment. While fluid retention isn’t always life threatening, it’s certainly uncomfortable, and an ailment which can often be easily relieved.
Ever experienced swelling of the ankles or legs after a long haul flight? This treatment may be just the ticket. For new and breastfeeding mothers, lymphatic drainage can be a great option for relief from swelling, and plugged milk ducts.
It’s pretty straightforward, really. After a thorough consultation with a trained professional, you’ll be asked to lie face down on a massage table - no different to any standard massage table you’ve seen before. Your therapist will then begin to apply a specific amount of pressure to the skin using rhythmic, circular motions to decongest the lymph nodes and stimulate fluid circulation.
The main groups of lymph nodes are located in the groin, armpits and under the jaw - you know, the ones that get all swollen when you’ve got a cold - so you may find your therapist focuses largely around these areas.
Appointments last, on average, around 60-90 minutes, and specific treatment and techniques will vary depending on your area or ailment of concern.
Make sure to keep well hydrated before your treatment, as dehydration will impair your body’s ability to effectively detoxify. Arriving on an empty stomach is also well advised, as drainage is usually performed around the stomach and abdomen area. Massage + full belly = bad idea.
In conjunction with a healthy diet, lymphatic drainage can have a hugely positive impact on the body and mind. Before and after treatment, it’s best to avoid foods that slow the lymphatic system down, such as dairy, processed foods, artificial sugars and fatty, oily foods. All the good stuff, right? Trust us, it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Swap these system-sluggers for nutrient-packed super foods like leafy greens, citrus fruits, herbs and spices, chia seeds, hemp and flax, and you’ll be laughing. After treatment, be sure to remain active and exercise regularly.
Having a healthy lymphatic system is the key to promoting high immunity and overall health and wellbeing, so why not make an appointment for a lymphatic drainage treatment with Bookwell today?