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Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Zheng Zhu (Jason) Li, RMT - Registered Massage Therapist

lymphatic drainage massage

The Lymphatic System The lymphatic system is a specialized component of the circulatory system that is responsible for waste disposal and immune response. The lymphatic system transports fluid from around the cells through a system of filters. Lymph and blood are very similar, except that lymph does not have red blood cells or platelets. It carries large molecules, such as proteins, lipids, and bacteria along with other debris.

The lymphatic system permeates the entire tissue structure of the body in a one-way drainage network of vessels, ducts, nodes, lacteals, and lymphoid organs such as the spleen, tonsils, and thymus. Indications for Lymphatic Drainage Massage

  • Simple edema that results from inactivity, for example, a long car ride or extended hours sitting at computer.

  • Travelers edema, which is the result of enforced inactivity, such as sitting in an airplane or a car for several hours (the same is true for anyone who sits for extended periods). Interstitial fluid that surrounds our body cells responds to gravity, causing swelling in the feet, hands, and buttocks of a person who has to sit without moving very much for a few hours. Lymphatic drainage massage can move the fluid and reduce the pain and stiffness caused by edema.

  • Exercise-induced, delayed-onset muscle soreness, which may be partly caused by increased fluid pressure in the soft tissues. Lymphatic drainage massage appears to be effective for reducing the pain and stiffness of this condition.

  • Fluid retention caused by premenstrual hormonal changes.

  • Residual edema in the later stages of the healing of strains, sprains, and other types of injuries.

  • Lymphatic drainage massage, as a specific therapeutic intervention, can be used in cases of a pathologic condition of the lymphatic system.

Contraindications and Cautions for Lymphatic Drainage Massage Lymphatic drainage massage can lower blood pressure. If the person has low blood pressure, the danger exists that it may drop even lower, and the person may become dizzy on standing. During a fever, while blood cells multiply more rapidly and bacteria and viruses multiply more slowly; fever, therefore, is part of the body's healing process. Because lymphatic drainage massage has been said to lower the body temperature, it should not be given to a client with fever.

Lymphatic drainage massage may affect the circulation of fluid in the body, which may overwhelm an already compromised heart or kidneys. Do not give lymphatic drainage massage to anyone with congestive heart failure or kidney failure or anyone undergoing kidney dialysis unless it is specifically ordered by the physician.

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