What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Image result for lymphatic systemThis is the newest massage service on offer at Ryding2Health, but what is it and who can it help? Well, let us explain!

What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is the way that our body removes excess / waste fluid from our cells, filters it then returns it to the blood stream via the heart. Think of it like your waste / drainage plumbing system. As it distributes this fluid back, it passes through a filter system (called lymph nodes) so that it’s purified and ready to be returned to the blood stream by the time it gets back to the heart.

What does Lymphatic drainage do?

Manual Lymphatic drainage helps to keep the cells healthy by helping to increase immune system circulation/ function.

Lymphatic drainage is sometimes called massage, sometimes called a ‘therapy’ and sometimes simply retains the name ‘lymphatic drainage’. It’s function is to help increase the return flow of this fluid. This is done with very gentle rhythmic movements to act as stimulation.

Who can benefit from lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic drainage is most widely known for the treatment of lymphedema (fluid retention/ swelling usually as a result of surgery/ trauma). However there is also a wide range of other things that it can help to treat. What it does is help promote the flow of fluid back through the system, thus has detoxification and anti inflammatory properties.

Here are just a few other examples of things it can treat:

  • – varicose veins
  • – post surgical swelling
  • – acute sports injuries
  • – sports recovery
  • – sprains / strains
  • – sinusitis
  • – tinnitus
  • – Meniere’s disease
  • – muscle / ligament tears
  • – rheumatoid arthritis
  • – tendonitis
  • – tension headaches
  • – migraines
  • – Multiple sclerosis
  • – carpal tunnel syndrome
  • – stress reduction
  • – irritable bowel syndrome
  • – chronic fatigue
  • – colitis
  • – fibromyalgia
  • – scars / burns

What should I expect from a Lymphatic drainage treatment?

The lymphatic system is a delicate system that mostly lies just beneath the skin. Therefore the therapist will use very light pressure strokes. Due to the fact that it is a centralised system, we work from the trunk outwards, stimulating the nodes to create a vacuum effect, followed by light massage to encourage / promote fluid return. For example, if you came in to be treated for lower leg fluid retention, the treatment would start at the shoulders and work down towards the affected area, then back again.

Some positive effects can sometimes be seen almost immediately, however we would always suggest a series of treatments for 3-4 weeks minimum, to see full benefit. If the lymphatic system is permanently damaged, ongoing monthly maintenance treatments might be necessary once the acute side effects have been treated.

How long an appointment would I need?

This really depends on the area we are treating. If the affected area is head, arms or upper body, 45 mins would be sufficient. If we are treating stomach or legs, a 60 minute appointment would be necessary.

What cannot be treated with lymphatic drainage?

There are some examples when the treatment could make your situation worse. These examples are absolute no-no for Lymphatic drainage

  • – acute inflammation (red, hot, painful and with a feeling of being unwell) Can spread toxins.
  • – malignant tumours (can help to spread the cancer)
  • – thrombosis (can lead to free floating blood clots in the circulation)
  • – major heart problems (can add stress to the heart)
  • – kidney problems (needs medical clearance)
  • – bronchial asthma (can cause an attack)
  • – medications – including chemotherapy. (Can increase the dose)
  • – first 3 months of pregnancy (fear of miscarriage)
  • – menstruation (can increase the flow).


How do I book?

Simple: you can book an appointment through our website right here: https://www.ryding2health.co.nz/services/invercargill-massage

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2 Comments on “What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

  1. Pingback: What do fluid tablets do for you? Should you rely on them? – Ryding2health Blog

  2. Pingback: Carpal Tunnel trial – Seeking participants – Ryding2health Blog

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