The lymphatic system is a one-way drainage & transport system that supports our venous system in removing bad substances and toxins from the tissues. This happens through a series of vessels & nodes which take the extra fluid and stuff back to the venous system to be sent to the kidneys and out of the body. So the job of the lymphatic system is to
- Reabsorbs excess fluid from around the tissues
- Maintain blood volume levels
- Prevent tissue fluid levels from rising out of control
- Transport dietary lipids
- Make Antibodies and the immune response
- Destroy viruses and agents which are foreign to the body
The lymph vessels convey excess fluid collected from all over the body back into the blood circulation. Along the way, however, these fluids are forced to pass through the lymph nodes so that they can be filtered. Harmful organisms like viruses and bacteria’s are trapped and destroyed( by the specialized white blood cells, called lymphocytes, that are present) in these nodes. Lymphocytes are also added to the lymph that flows out of nodes and back to the bloodstream. Antibodies are manufactured by the lymph system. Antibodies are specialized proteins that the body produces in response to invasion by a foreign substance. The process of antibody formation begins when an antigen stimulates specialized lymphocytes, called B cells, into action. Antibodies then counteract invading antigens by combining with the antigen to render it harmless to the body.
The fluid in the lymphatic system helps remove waste and toxins from the bodily tissues. However, some health conditions can cause lymph fluid to build up and create edema and sluggish lymph movement.
In this article, we explain the benefits of lymphatic drainage for the people who may benefit from using it, and how they can prepare for and perform this type of massage at home.
What is Lymphatic Drainage (LD)?
Manual Lymphatic drainage massage MLD is a form of gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body using the therapist’s hands. It includes lymph node pumping and slow gentle strokes in the direction of lymph channels, guiding the fluid to move faster and better out of the area. Lymphatic drainage can also include a decongestion machine with sleeves worn on limbs and stomachs. The latest technology is Bioenergy stimulation on lymph channels and nodes which is helping to stimulate the system while manual work is performed on the body. In Advanced OrthoSpine we use all three techniques according to the requirement of the clients.
What are the benefits of LD?
Lymphatic massage for drainage can improve circulation and reduce swelling. While the heart continuously pumps blood through the blood vessels, the lymphatic system relies on the movement of small muscles to transport the fluid through the lymph vessels.
Some health conditions can interrupt the normal flow of lymph, causing lymph fluid to build up in a particular area of the body, often in the arms or legs or maybe face and belly, where it can cause swelling. This condition is called lymphedema.
Lymphatic massage can reduce swelling and improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system. Lymphatic massage usually forms part of a treatment program called decongestive lymphatic therapy (DLT) or Lymphatic drainage
Who can benefit from LD?
Lymphatic drainage massage can benefit people who are experiencing the following:
- want to detox, and improve their immunity
- lymphedema or limb edema
- fibromyalgia or hypersensitivity
- swelling or edema
- Recovery after sports performances
- surgery; general surgery, cosmetic surgery
- digestive problems
- migraine episodes
Research has shown that lymphatic massage might be more effective than tissue massage in relieving symptoms of stiffness and depression in people living with fibromyalgia.
Who should not have LD?
People should not have a lymphatic massage if they have congestive heart failure, blood clots, kidney problems, infections, or circulation problems. If a person has any medical conditions, they should talk to a doctor or their physiotherapist before trying a lymphatic massage.
How to perform a lymphatic massage
People can receive lymphatic massages from trained professionals.
Keep the following tips in mind during a lymphatic massage:
- These massage movements should affect only the skin, so only gentle pressure and we do not press hard enough to feel the muscles.
- Keep the hands relaxed.
- not massaging areas of the body that have undergone treatment for cancer.
- Drink extra fluids, ideally 2 to 4 glasses of water, after each massage to help flush the body.
- Breath deeply and slowly before the LD. Breathing will stimulate the lymphatic system and prepare the lymph nodes to bring in more fluid before a lymphatic massage.
Deep breathing acts like a pump that helps move fluid through the vessels and lymph nodes. Do deep breathing this way; Place both hands on the stomach, Inhale through the nose, expanding the stomach and keeping the shoulders still. Slowly exhale through the mouth. Rest between breaths.
How do you know if it is working?
People can also boost their lymphatic system function and help remove more waste from the body using the following methods:
- drinking plenty of water
- staying physically active
- eating vegetables and fruits
- limiting the intake of processed foods
People who use lymphatic drainage massages for edema may notice that their swelling reduces from the first session. For a person with a certain condition or sluggish lymphatic system, LD should be done on a regular basis, with frequency according to the severity of the condition. For a person without any significant condition LD can be done once a month to detox, refresh and take away the extra fluid from the body especially in people with sedentary jobs, or women pre and post-menopause.
Those who take lymphatic massages/drainage will see an instant change in swelling and edema. In the case of fibromyalgia they might experience less stiffness and pain and also notice improvements in their overall health status.
People can use lymphatic drainage massage techniques to help reduce swelling and improve circulation and immunity. A properly functioning lymphatic system is essential for overall health.
People who think that they could benefit from a lymphatic drainage massage should speak with our physiotherapist, to see if is suitable for them.
Call 043444828 to talk to our specialist at Advanced OrthoSpine Health Centre.