What is Lymphatic Massage and How Can It Help Me?
Have you heard the term lymphatic massage but aren’t exactly sure of what it is? We are often familiar with our body systems such as the circulatory system and respiratory system, however the lymphatic system is one that not many people know much about.
So what is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of toxins and cellular waste. It plays a role in how fast we recover and heal.
Unlike our circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own series of muscles like the heart to pump it around. It requires physical movement via external methods.
The lymph is a fluid that moves through its own series of vessels towards the neck and then the heart, in a one way action. The lymph collects and transports foreign material, protecting us against disease, bacteria, viruses and fungus. It transports fatty acids and fat soluble nutrients from the digestive system for absorption into the blood vessels. Hormones and proteins that cannot make it automatically into the blood must travel via the lymphatic system before they can be utilised. The lymph also assists our metabolism.
The primary drivers of lymphatic movement are activity and breathing. Even a 15min jog while focusing on deep breaths helps your body shift the fluid around and get rid of metabolic waste. Swimming also benefits lymphatic movement. The water pressure provides a built in compression which further helps lymphatic circulation.
What can go wrong with the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system can stop working properly if it becomes blocked, inflamed or cancerous. Underlying lymphatic problems and blockages are commonly undiagnosed, contributing to many inflammatory disorders and health complaints. Addressing the lymphatic system is beneficial for overall health and immunity. It has shown promising results in helping with inflammation, pain, stress, blockages, weight problems, skin issues, and gut health.
Symptoms of lymphatic problems may include
Muscle aches and pains
Swelling of lymph nodes in the throat, armpits or groin
Sore throats and being sick often
What is lymphoedema?
Lymphoedema occurs when the lymphatic system fails to drain the lymph fluid. This fluid can then accumulate, cause swelling and potentially increase the risk of infection. Lymphoedema may arise because the lymphatic vessels or nodes have been damaged or were not formed correctly.
Secondary lymphoedema is the most common type that develops following damage to the lymphatic system. This can occur with:
Cancer treatments which may involve the removal of lymph nodes or radiotherapy to lymph node groups
Progression of malignant disease
Trauma and tissue damage
What is lymphatic massage?
Lymphatic massage, or lymphatic drainage, is a gentle massage treatment to stimulate the circulation of lymph fluid around the body. This helps to speed up the removal of wastes and toxins. Lymphatic drainage can also be used to help people who have had damage to their lymphatic system following surgery, trauma or due to developmental disorders.
Lymphatic massage has very light pressure because the lymphatic system is close to the surface of the skin. It is not like a regular massage that has deeper pressure to massage the muscles. It also has a specific sequence to ensure the blocked lymph areas are cleared and the lymph is being moved in the right direction.
What conditions benefit from lymphatic massage?
Chronic fluid retention in legs or arms
Post-mastectomy or breast cancer treatment
Swelling of a limb, pre or post surgery
Hormonal and emotional imbalances
Recurrent infections eg colds, tonsillitis, sinus infections
We offer lymphatic massage treatment here at WPH Physio. Contact us if you have any further questions or would like to book in for a lymphatic massage treatment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 9875 3760.