Lymphatic drainage massage is a form of gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body.
The fluid in the lymphatic system helps remove waste and toxins from the bodily tissues. Some health conditions can cause lymph fluid to build up. Lymphatic drainage massages can benefit people with lymphedema, fibromyalgia, and other conditions. (source)
What are the benefits?
While the heart continuously pumps blood through the blood vessels, the lymphatic system relies on the movement of smooth muscles to transport fluid through the lymph vessels.
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, where it can causing swelling. This condition is called lymphedema.
People can develop lymphedema as a result of infections, cancer treatments that involve the removal of lymph nodes, and any condition that damages the lymphatic system.
Lymphatic massage can reduce swelling and improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system.
Who can benefit?
Lymphatic drainage massage can benefit people who are experiencing the following:
- swelling or edema
- skin disorders
- digestive problems
- migraine episodes
- Swelling during the pregnancy period
The authors of a 2015 systematic review concluded that lymphatic massage might be more effective than connective tissue massage in relieving symptoms of stiffness and depression in people living with fibromyalgia.
People should not have a lymphatic massage if they have:
- congestive heart failure,
- blood clots,
- kidney problems,
- or circulation problems.
If a person has any medical conditions, they should talk to a doctor before trying a lymphatic massage.
People who use lymphatic drainage massages may notice that their swelling reduces. At the very least, swelling should not worsen.
People who have lymphedema should continue using compression socks or sleeves to prevent swelling.
Those who use lymphatic massages to treat fibromyalgia might experience less stiffness and pain and also notice improvements in their overall health status.
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
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