What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage ?
Lymphatic drainage massage (or MLD) is a gentle yet powerful treatment designed to speed healing, flush toxins, quell pain, balance the nervous system and boost immunity. It can be used as a stand-alone treatment or as part of combined decongestive therapy to treat symptoms of lymphedema for example. MLD can also be used alongside lymph taping to diminish scarring. Healing time from injury is another area which can be greatly improved using MLD.
The lymphatic system vacuums away excess fluid, toxins, fat cells and other ‘undesirables’, whilst transporting immune cells around the body. Immune cells use the lymphatic system to multiply and patrol the body in order to keep us healthy.
How is Lymphatic Drainage Massage different from Other Massage ?
The name lymphatic drainage massage comes from manual lymphatic drainage, or MLD. During lymphatic drainage, your therapist will use relaxing skin techniques to stimulate the lymphatic system. This technique is very gentle because around 80% of lymph vessels live very close to the skin’s surface. On the other hand, ordinary massage uses a firmer pressure in order to get down deeper into the muscles. Muscles can still be treated with lymphatic drainage massage, only without squashing lymph vessels or upsetting fluid balance.
Can I claim This Treatment on my Health Fund ?
Yes, you can, provided you are receiving MLD for remedial purposes. This is a highly specialised treatment that comes under the heading of remedial massage, which is claimable on private health funds.
How does Lymphatic Drainage Massage work ?
When the lymphatic system isn’t working properly, or is under too much load, excess fluid and toxins tend to build up, which creates a breeding ground for disease. Happily, lymphatic drainage massage can help. We can increase the pump rate of the lymph vessels by up to four times the normal speed. The special skin techniques do this by way of what we call the ‘stretch receptor reflex’. Lymphatic drainage massage is different from conventional massage in that it won’t increase blood pressure or push unwanted fluid into the tissue.
Can Lymphatic Drainage Massage really help Me get a Good Night’s Sleep ?
As well as increasing your body’s ‘flush rate’, lymphatic drainage massage soothes the nervous system, helping to reduce stress and bring on a good night’s sleep. The body responds in kind to the slow rhythm of the treatment, sending it into ‘rest and digest’ mode. We call this the sympatholytic effect. In fact, it’s common for people to fall asleep whilst receiving lymphatic drainage massage, as the calming effect can be almost immediate.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the Management of Pain
Lymphatic drainage massage is known for its pain-quelling effects because it can interrupt pain signals to the brain. Therefore, lymphatic drainage massage is a valuable natural alternative to drugs for chronic pain sufferers and those who’ve been injured. If you’d like to know more about how this works, then look up the ‘Gate Control Theory of Pain’ (Dr Ronald Melzack & Dr Patrick D Wall).
Can Lymphatic Drainage Massage help with My Condition ?
Our ability to maintain a healthy body relies on a lymphatic system that works well. Lymphatic drainage massage lowers blood pressure, balances the nervous system, speeds the flushing of toxins and metabolic waste from the body, boosts the immune system and can quell pain. Therefore, many conditions can be effectively treated using this technique.
Here is a list of reasons to get Lymphatic Drainage Massage :
- Lymphoedema – primary and secondary
- scarring & scar prevention
- keloid scars
- acute burns
- laser treatment
- skin trauma
- Dark circles under the eyes.
- stretch marks
- Before and after plastic surgery.
- ankle sprain
- whiplash & other trauma
- venous ulcers
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Crohn’s Disease
- Chronic Pain and pain management
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Sudeck’s Atrophy or Post Traumatic Osteoporosis)
- autoimmune conditions
- To improve sleep quality.
- head trauma
- eye trauma
- post eye surgery
- ear trauma
- glue ear
- chronic sinusitis
- post stroke
- Chronic inflammation including tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, gamer’s thumb, frozen shoulder.
- joint surgery
- hip replacement
- Adhesions after surgery.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Cystic Fibrosis
- Respiratory issues, including bronchial asthma, pleurisy, emphysema and
- autoimmune conditions
- deep vein thrombosis (must have your doctor’s permission)
- post cancer treatment (must have your doctor’s permission)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Down’s syndrome
- Pregnancy symptoms, including mastitis, sore and tight hips and lower back, post natal depression sore and swollen legs and ankles.
- Burn-out syndrome
- Following major surgery or severe illness in the elderly.
- For those on a fasting diet.
- Children with recurrent infections.
- As a palliative therapy.
*** Always check with your doctor if you are unsure about whether manual lymphatic drainage is right for you. Also see contraindications below.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage is not suitable for:
– Untreated malignant disease, including tumour recurrence or metastases
(Untreated means that treatment has either not concluded or has not yet begun.)
– Acute inflammation with infection
– Acute allergy
– Acute DVT (untreated deep vein thrombosis)
– Swelling of an unknown origin