Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (MLD) is a specialized type of massage, and feels completely different from more commonly known massage techniques. It is intended to stimulate the lymphatic system and assisting the natural circulation required for the elimination of metabolic waste, excess fluids, and bacteria from the body, and increasing the activity of the immune system.
The lymphatic system plays a big role in healing all kinds of injuries, and its stimulation has become the go-to care after plastic surgery and liposuction, since it has been noticed that healing happens faster and swelling goes down quickly, leading to less complications after surgery.
In order to really address the flow of lymphatic fluid and activate lymph nodes (often called “lymph glands” but they are actually filtering stations and can have a pumping function, but don’t secrete anything as real glands do) the technique used in MLD is very light touch and a characteristic pumping acting with the fingertips that helps to move excess fluid and reduce edema (swelling), often visibly with just one treatment. Deeper massage, even light Swedish, compresses the lymph vessels and lymph nodes, so true lymphatic treatments have to be light. In some areas like the face and neck, sensitive clients can even feel the liquid draining during the treatment.
When to Apply MLD for Best Surgery Results
It is ideal to already stimulate the lymphatic system before surgery so that the damage done by cutting is minimized. The minimum total of sessions should be six for small surgeries, one or two before, four or five after, but for difficult interventions like liposuction, breast augmentation, butt implants, twelve are better–two before the surgery, ten after. It depends on the surgeon’s recommendation, but Sarah’s experience shows that as soon as possible after surgery, three sessions should be in rapid succession.
MLD After Muscle Tears, Sprains, Strains, Contusions, Bruises, Burns
All injuries result in an excess of waste products that the lymphatic vessels have to transport out of the tissue, that cells of the immune system have to take in and process, that inner organs have to detoxify and excrete. The faster this can happen, the faster the injury will heal, so particularly in sports medicine, MLD has taken an important role and is now seen as much more useful than ice (which has actually been shown to hinder healing).
If you have a sports injury with swelling, a few treatments with MLD can make a big difference in how fast you heal. For most strains, three treatments should be enough if you are careful to not re-injure yourself.
Sinus Problems, Snoring, Sleep Apnea
MLD can help a lot with seasonal allergy symptoms and infections that result in swollen sinuses. Some conditions with swelling in the nose-mouth-throat areas like snoring and sleep apnea can also be much improved with stimulation of the lymphatic system and the resulting reduction of swelling, but our clients like it the most that suddenly, after only one treatment, they can breathe more freely.
Lymphatic Massage for General Wellness and Detox
To better understand the importance of this treatment, consider how vital your lymphatic system is to your overall health. As part of the circulatory system, your lymphatic system consists of a complex network of organs, nodes, ducts, and vessels. The vessels carry lymph fluid toward the heart, and play a key role in your immune system.
If your lymph system is slow or obstructed, it impacts how you feel throughout the day. Our therapy consists of gentle, rhythmic, circular movements, and activates the muscle cells in the walls of the lymph vessels and the surrounding skeletal muscles necessary to propel the lymph through the system. Soon after your massage, you likely “perk up” and your sense of physical and emotional well-being improves. If you’ve been sick, your recovery time can decrease dramatically after a lymphatic drainage massage.
If you’re feeling tired and low on energy, or if you’ve been sick and feeling like your body is fighting to get back on track, lymph massage would likely serve you well. In addition, athletes, surgical patients, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue sufferers may want to consider lymphatic massage. Lymphatic drainage massage has implications for our clients who suffer from serious illnesses, not only those with a general low-energy feeling.
Often, if we’re feeling “run down,” we wait for it to pass, or try to get extra sleep. But sometimes the better, faster, and more effective solution is lymphatic drainage massage.
Make an appointment online with Sarah and see what lymphatic drainage massage can do for you!
More information, clinical studies:
Review of several studies: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2755111/
MLD for sports injuries: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26458244
MLD for lymphedema after breast cancer surgeries: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29304140