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    Lymphatic Drainage Massage: Kickstarting Lymph Nodes From Inside Out

    Davina Catt

    Once considered a niche form of massage for those recovering from terminal illness or maybe suffering from post-natal swelling, lymphatic drainage massage has now become a recognised and popular form of treatment for those feeling sluggish or just stressed.


    In particular, after a lockdown period, which left so many people unnaturally sedentary over an extended amount of time, many have felt the effects of a sluggish metabolism, internal blockages, sense of heaviness and weight gain, and even weakening of muscle.


    Along with lymphatic drainage now being a readily available treatment, its benefits relate directly to the immunity – the massage aims to help the body maintain proper blood circulation, body fluid balance and immune functions.



    To understand its benefits one first needs to understand the lymphatic system.


    This complex body system contains vessels and nodes with lymph, a mixture of proteins, water, waste products, and immune system elements. Lymph nodes positioned all over the body filter all this debris.


    The largest nodes are in the neck, groin and armpits: they all work together to make sure ‘clean’ lymph is transported back to the veins that carry blood toward the heart.



    Health conditions improved by lymphatic drainage massage:


    Lymphedema: this condition generally involves swelling in one of your legs or arms, often caused by lymph fluids collected in soft tissues, generally due to genetic disorders, injury, infection, cancer treatment or surgery. Symptoms include pain, tissue swelling, heaviness of the limbs, weakness foremost.


    Rheumatoid arthritis: this condition can cause poor lymph flow in the body as the disease progresses. Symptoms include tissue swelling, pain in the joints, and skin discolouration.


    As lymphatic drainage becomes ever more popular there are developments in the treatment, which traditionally is a manual form of massage to include radiofrequency current directed at the lymph nodes.



    Manual lymphatic massage uses the below techniques:


    Fodder. This foundational technique uses various sweeping motions around the area the therapist is treating.

    Foldi. An extension of the Vodder technique, Foldi requires the massage therapist to alternate between circular hand motions and moments of relaxation.

    Casley-Smith. This approach to lymphatic massage also involves circular hand motions, mainly using the sides and palms of the hands.

    Leduc. This technique relies on hand motions to collect lymph fluid before redirecting it for reabsorption into the larger lymphatic system.


    Light rhythmic movements stimulate the lymphatic system without pressing hard on the vessel. They make the lymph fluid move easily through the nodes and tissues, making sure the fluid doesn't get trapped anywhere.



    Machine driven treatments:


    These aim to target muscles and consequently activate the lymph nodes and the whole lymphatic system; to help eliminate problems like toxins, fluid retention and cellulite. This form of lymphatic aim to kickstart the lymph nodes to work again on their own and thus prevent a sluggish system.


    Pressotherapy: Compressed air under a certain pressure is emitted to different regions of the body through a body suit. When atmospheric pressure reduces, blood vessels expand and blood flow to the subcutaneous layer increases.


    Microcurrent Lymphatic Drainage: The process involves stimulating the top skin layers under an electric current influence. Impulses ease muscles and vessels, and biochemical processes in tissues strengthen.


    Radiofrequency can also be combined with lymphatic massage for additional slimming, cellulite reduction.

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