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What does a lymphatic drainage massage feel like?

Understanding the technique: Benefits and process

You know when your toothpaste tube is running low and you squeeze it to get every last bit out? The maneuvers with your hands are intentional, directing the "flow" of toothpaste, and to get every last bit, you have to be systematic. The process of a lymphatic drainage massage is kind of like that.

Lymphatic drainage is a powerful and multi-faceted technique. On top of that it's a unique experience. The technique is "used to help the lymphatic flow up the lymphatic vessels, to help the metabolic waste, lactic acid-filled fluid drain from the distal extremities, and dump back into the bloodstream, where it can be cleared out by our cleansing organs, like the liver and kidney."*

Personal experience: The efficacy of lymphatic drainage massage

It was one of the best massage experiences I've had. It was ultra-relaxing, due to this massage being known to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (our 'rest and digest' system of the autonomic nervous system).

What I love even more about it is the benefits are dynamic – spanning from mental to physical and emotional.

The dynamic benefits: Mental, physical, and emotional wellness

Your lymphatic system plays a huge role in immune function, waste removal, and fluid balance. The massage uses light, rhythmic pressure to stimulate the lymphatic vessels, thereby to encourage the movement of lymphatic fluid through the body. It relieved stress and pressure in certain areas of my body.

Lymphatic system and immunity: An intricate connection

Your lymphatic system is most commonly interlinked with your immune system. It has also been noted to improve the body's immune response by increasing the filtration rate and identifying and attacking "invaders" quicker!

My masseuse did an "assessment" first to see where the healthy areas were and to identify the problem areas. I quickly became aware of the problem areas as it was a significant pressure and a bit uncomfortable.

Toxins breakdown

The region I felt the most pressure was my thoracic duct.

The thoracic duct is the "largest lymphatic vessel"** draining about "75% of lymph in the body."** This is draining lymph from both the lower extremities and the abdomen.

You hear some sounds and feel some movement as the toxins/lactic acid buildup are being broken down. "Any blockage or sub-optimal flow in the lymphatic system will create problems in the digestion process."*

Symptoms and solution: Lymphatic drainage for digestive health

Have either of these symptoms?

• Constipation

• Bloating

Perhaps inquire about a lymphatic drainage with a trained masseuse... as this type of massage "will help mobilize the proteins and fats that are stuck in the area, trapping fluids in the area."***

It is "an effective and proven treatment to help reduce symptoms and kick-start a healthy digestive process."***

A lymphatic drainage massage is essentially "decongesting" your body.

I could tell the massage was helping me rid toxins and lactic acid buildup.

This migrates through your body and is expelled through your urine. That's why it is key to drink a lot of water before and after!

Major benefits of lymphatic drainage: A holistic perspective

Benefits of lymphatic drainage:

• Eliminates toxins from the body

• Aids in preventing swelling and fluid retention

• Improves circulation of lymph and blood fluids

• May be beneficial for Fibromyalgia, Rheumatoid Arthritis

• Helps boost the immune system

At the end of the massage, I was groggy and felt like I had just woken from a deep sleep.

Post-massage advice and expectations: Ensuring optimal recovery

• Drink a lot of water as my body was now in a state of dehydration

• Abstain from working out for at least 45 minutes

• Do not eat any fatty or fried foods the rest of the day

What to expect after a lymphatic drainage massage?

• Any "gurgle" sounds coming from my body are normal

• Light fatigue or dizziness is normal

I felt "gurgles" for just under 24 hours. This told me my body was benefiting from the experience.

The day after my lymphatic drainage massage I felt super alert, practically jumping out of bed (no coffee required).

I was energized and my body felt like everything was running smoothly. I'll be doing this again.

If your health provider agrees it's a good fit for you – based on my experience, I would say give it a try!

If you have a health-related question that I can ask an expert, submit it at

*Drummond Chiropractic

**Science Direct

***Clinique Santé & Physique


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