How (And Why) To Do A Lymphatic Drainage Massage

How (And Why) To Do A Lymphatic Drainage Massage

There are many massage variations and each one has its purpose. The effects of a Swedish massage are quite relaxing, while a deep tissue massage, though painful in the moment, helps get out stubborn knots. Rolfing may help to improve mobility and Thai massage incorporates stretching to loosen up the joints. There is another type of massage that you should know about if you want to help promote detoxification: lymphatic drainage massage

What Is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Manual lymphatic drainage massage, or simply lymphatic massage therapy, is a light-pressure massage that uses circular and pumping movements to encourage the movement of lymphatic fluid throughout the body. A trained lymphatic drainage massage therapist uses stretching, cupping, and gliding motions to stimulate lymphatic flow. It is a very gentle, rhythmic type of massage that does not require oil. Even though there are trained experts in this type of massage, you can easily do it yourself. 

Lymphatic drainage massage has been around for over 100 years, and it has recently grown in popularity. Nowadays, many spas offer this service, which has been widely used in European countries for quite some time. In fact, it is the most prescribed type of physical therapy in Germany! 

What Are The Benefits?

According to health experts, lymphatic drainage massage is a great treatment option for lymphedema. This condition is characterized by swollen lymph nodes caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system, typically in the arms or legs, that results from the removal or damage to lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatments. Primarily, lymphatic drainage massage helps to detoxify the body, ridding it of harmful chemicals that are easily absorbed every day. From skin care products to environmental pollution, toxins bombard the body and affect you, whether you know it or not. 

The body’s primary detoxification channels are the colon, lungs, skin, liver, kidneys, and lymphatic system. When you support these pathways, you support overall bodily health. Increasing the flow and removal of toxins via lymphatic massage, then, is a great addition to your cleansing routine.

Besides aiding the elimination of toxins, lymphatic drainage massage may help those who suffer from fibromyalgia. A meta-analysis looked at the effectiveness of massage therapy for fibromyalgia and found lymphatic drainage massage to be the most beneficial. Not only was it better than connective tissues massage in regards to stiffness, but it also improved quality of life and reduced depression. Lastly, lymphatic drainage massage helps to reduce tension and the appearance of cellulite. Most toxins are held in fat cells, so stimulating lymphatic flow can reduce that build-up. 

How To Do A DIY Lymphatic Drainage Massage

There are several techniques that help promote lymphatic drainage. Doing this therapy on yourself is a great way to assist with the body’s natural detoxification processes. You can easily fit this therapy into your day because it only demands a few minutes of your time. The best part about this DIY lymphatic drainage massage is that you can lie on your back while doing all of the the steps, which are detailed below:

  • Step 1: Lie on your back in a comfortable position and take a few deep breaths. Feel the rise and fall of your abdomen and continue this type of breathing throughout the massage. 
  • Step 2: Cross your arms across your chest and, with your fingers touching the tops of your shoulders, lift your elbows up toward the ceiling a few times. This movement aims to flush the lymphatic areas beneath your collarbones. 
  • Step 3: Return your arms down, but keep them crossed. Start massaging the outside of your neck just above your collarbones. Work your way toward the center of the neck in a fluid motion. Repeat this flow of massage strokes a total of 10 times. 
  • Step 4: Uncross your arms and extend them to the sides to form a T with your body. Bend your arms and interlock your fingers behind your head. Lean your head forward and to the sides to stretch your neck, while simultaneously applying gentle pressure at the base of your neck. 
  • Step 5: Place your left hand behind your head and cup your right palm under your armpit. Gently pull the skin down and in toward your body for a total of 10 times before repeating on the other side. 
  • Step 6: Relax your arms by your sides. Cross your right arm over the body and gently pull the skin on the inside of your left elbow towards your shoulder. Complete 10 pulls and then switch sides. 
  • Step 7: Lymph can easily build up in your lower extremities, so this step aims to release fluid in the legs. Place both hands behind your right knee, interlace your fingers, and gently stretch the skin towards your glutes. Complete 10 pulls and then repeat on the left leg. 
  • Step 8: Place your right hand behind your head and your left hand on your right hip. Gently stretch the skin upwards toward the armpit. Repeat this several times before switching sides. 
  • Step 9: For the last step, you want to move lymphatic fluid away from your fingers and toes. To do this, simply start at your fingertips or toes and gently slide your hand(s) up towards your armpit or groin, respectively.

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