In the realm of beauty treatments, we hear all kinds of promises. If someone has ever complained about something, someone in beauty has tried to address it. Some addresses, like vampire facials, have staked their claims to stay. Others, like waxing legs for the ultimate hair removal have been replaced. Then, there are treatments that disappear forever, with good reason.
One treatment to survive the times is the lymphatic massage or lymphatic drainage. If you’re not privy to the lymphatic system and what it does, don’t worry. It sounds fancy, and while I’m definitely one to praise the body for doing amazing things, it’s pretty simple. Your lymphatic system is like the cleaning crew of your inner workings. It’s the system in your body that’s responsible for gathering and clearing toxins.
More on the Lymphatic System
To get a little more specific—the lymphatic system is a network of organs and tissues that work together to extract and expel toxins. It is made up of lymphoid tissue, vessels, ducts, cells, bone marrow, nodes, the spleen, tonsils, adenoids, and thymus organ. Lymphatic tissue is also contained in the bowel, and mucous membranes.
Structure shows that the lymphatic system spans across the whole body, which makes sense as it is intended to cleanse it in its entirety. The process works through a circulation of lymph fluid. It goes through the vessels and veins. This circulation contributes to the three main functions of the overall system:
- Work with the immune system in defense against harmful toxins and bacteria.
- Create a balance of essential fluid, referred to as fluid homeostasis.
- Assists with the body’s ability to absorb essential fats and nutrients.
It’s obvious to note that the lymphatic system is pretty amazing in what it does. But what’s the deal with massage? How can such a sophisticated system in the body benefit from massage?
Complications with the Lymphatic System
While the lymphatic system works meticulously to ensure the body’s proper health, it can have its difficulties. What can occur is a blockage of the system, which is also referred to as lymphatic obstruction. The nodes or other pathways that carry the lymphatic fluid intended to be flushed from the body becomes trapped and collects at one site.
It creates buildup of toxins in areas that are not equipped to accommodate them. Resulting in medical conditions like lymphedema, which is swelling of that particular area. Fibrosis of the skin, infection, aching, discomfort, and decreased range of motion may all come as a result of the blockage.
In more severe cases, these types of issues may happen as a byproduct of receiving cancer treatment, having cancer, or other infections.
However, even if the obstruction is not severe, the reality is that many of us may experience a drainage system that is not working to its fullest potential. It’s often due to lifestyle choices, habits, or patterns. For example, lack of exercise or adequate blood circulation may affect how well your body is able to dispose of toxins. Insert: lymphatic massage.
The Benefits of Lymphatic Massage
Deemed as a beacon of beauty, and available at cosmetic med spas abound; the lymphatic massage has gained popularity as a de-puffing, anti-cellulite solution. While not often guaranteed to consumers and sold more like a “possible” treatment, lymph massage can have its benefits both cosmetic and medical.
What’s it Like?
To a newbie who has barely heard of it and is new to what it entails, a lymphatic massage might seem like an abrasive, heavy-duty process. What’s interesting is that it doesn’t take much to get the blocked fluids going. In fact, at times, it can feel like almost nothing. Massage therapists will use light, gentle pressure to move the fluid. It’s almost like little buttons that need to be pressed throughout the body to activate cleansing.
The Reach of a Lymphatic Massage
As mentioned, lymphedema occurs from the obstruction of drainage. Other medical conditions that may be relieved from lymphatic massage are fibromyalgia, lymphoma, and lymphadenitis. However, draining lymph fluid can help to prevent these sort of conditions as well.
Other systems that are benefited by getting a lymphatic massage are the immune system, central nervous system, and digestive system. Of course, each of these sytems work to process what enters and is expelled from the body. Getting this type of massage may result in improvements with overall health as these systems deal with extensive aspects of the body.
Anything from simply feeling lighter, to getting sick less can be attributed to getting that fluid moving. Cosmetic advantages mostly involve dropping water weight, or a reduction in cellulite. However, it is important to note that each person is different.
Those Who Should Avoid It
It’s always a sound decision to check with a physician, but there are some fine lines for those who should avoid lymphatic drainage. Those with cancer or blood clots, specifically breast cancer, should not have their lymph fluid drained. This is due to the potential spread of cancer cells that moving the fluid may bring.
Keep in mind, if you get a lymphatic massage and “nothing” happens, it’s possible your body is already doing an A+ job of keeping toxins at bay.