Feeling stuffed up? Bloated? Slow-moving and lethargic? We all have days when it feels like we’re walking through wet cement, plodding along at a slow and steady pace. Even an extra cup of coffee can’t get your motor going on these days. Instead, it’s worth trying something else: lymphatic massage.
While most people are familiar with the benefits of relaxation massage or Swedish massage for muscle repair, lymphatic massage remains a mystery to them. Exploring this massage modality can unlock numerous health benefits by targeting the body’s lymphatic system specifically. The result could have you feeling better, moving through your days at a brisk and nimble pace.
What is lymphatic massage?
Whereas general massage targets muscle and deep tissues, lymphatic massage is tailored to the lymphatic system. Because this system is right under the skin, a lymphatic massage is unlike any other massage you’re familiar with. Instead of long, strong strokes across your muscles and pressure to work knots loose, lymphatic massage uses brisk, gentle strokes in patterned movements to stimulate lymph drainage.
“Drainage” isn’t really a word you associate with massage, either. That said, that’s exactly the purpose of a lymphatic massage. Think of the lymphatic system as the body’s waste collection and removal mechanism. It’s responsible for pulling toxins, bacteria, and microbes out of our bodies, keeping us looking and feeling healthy. But over time, these pathogens build up in the lymphatic system faster than our bodies can jettison them away, which is what leads to that sluggish, apathetic feeling we’re all familiar with.
Lymphatic massage jumpstarts this system, draining the lymphatic pathways to help your body process everything it’s trying to get rid of. As it does, you start to feel better and better.
The merits of lymphatic massage
The aftermath of a lymphatic massage can be a little gross. Expect a runny nose and some possible phlegm—your body’s way of getting all those excess toxins out as quickly as possible! Rest assured, a few tissues are worth the price of how you’ll feel hours and days after the fact. Lymphatic massage is linked to numerous benefits!
For starters, many cancer patients are prescribed lymphatic massage to help reduce lymphedema and its side effects. This modality is also prescribed to individuals suffering from autoimmune conditions, as part of a regimen to boost immunity and holistic wellness. There’s also evidence that lymphatic massage benefits peripheral systems, such as the circulatory system and the central nervous system. There’s even evidence lymphatic drainage may reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines.
Beyond these case-specific benefits, the overarching benefit of lymphatic massage is holistic. Lymphatic drainage is rejuvenating for the body and broadly beneficial as a form of restorative medicine. Because it stimulates the body’s own natural processes, it can strengthen the immune response—which is especially important during cold and flu season, as well as during our current pandemic. A clear, functional, efficient lymphatic system—aided by massage—is ready to defend your body against pathogens and invaders.
Jumpstart your wellness
Bodywork is one of the most therapeutic forms of self-care, and its benefits are widely studied and proven. Lymphatic message takes these benefits to the next level by addressing an underserved part of your body’s broader health systems.
Expect to feel rejuvenated following a lymphatic massage—largely because of the bodywork involved. Your skin is going to feel stimulated and you’ll carry forward a feeling of relaxation, as you would with any form of massage. Then, after a few hours—and for the next few days—you’ll start to feel the unique effects of a lymphatic massage:
- A clearer mind that’s less foggy and more focused
- Less bloating and, instead leaner, firmer physique
- Better mobility and less resistance in key joints
- Less pressure in the face and other areas
- Better digestive health, less gastrointestinal distress
- Faster healing and less discomfort while healing
All these benefits add up to the feeling of being lighter and unencumbered. Many lymphatic massage patients describe the next few days after their massage as feeling like they’ve been cleansed and refreshed.
Follow up with good, healthy habits
Lymphatic massage isn’t a panacea—it’s a tool to help reinforce good, healthy habits. Think of lymphatic drainage as a reset button. Following your massage with good diet and exercise habits, a good night’s sleep, proper supplementation and other mindful practices will leave you feeling worlds better than those days when it feels like your body is being weighed down.
How often should you get a massage to stimulate lymphatic drainage? Listen to your body! If you’re recovering from illness or going through a period of poor health, a weekly massage might be beneficial. If you’re on-track to positive health with good habits, your lymphatic might only need a helping hand every few months.
Use lymphatic massage as a stepping stone to better holistic care. Hitting the reset button and giving your lymphatic system a helping hand is a great way to set the tone for healthier habits moving forward, to preserve that cleansed, refreshed feeling for as long as possible.