Top 9 Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy
By Siegrid Delaney BHScTCM
Lymphatic Drainage Therapy Crows Nest is an incredibly gentle, helpful, and powerful health management tool. In this quick article we look at What is Lymphatic Drainage Therapy? How does it work? And most importantly, What can it do to improve YOUR health and happiness?
If you’ve ever had breast surgery or you’re really into detoxing you’ve probably looked into Lymphatic drainage before, but for most people, Lymphatic drainage is clumped into the “Massage” category and overlooked in favour of remedial massage. It’s such a shame that more people aren’t tapping into its gentle, far -reaching benefits and that’s really because it’s amazingness is a bit of a mystery, which is why I’m writing this. With this list I’m hoping to shine a light on the brilliance of Lymphatic work and catapult it into the arena with the big -guns of health and wellness.
Lymphatic drainage therapy “LDT” (known also as Lymphatic drainage Massage, or Manual Lymphatic Therapy) is a hands-on treatment for improving the flow of fluid in the body. “Improving the flow of fluid in the body” sounds simple on the surface, but it’s what happens after that starts to get very exciting.
I like to think of the lymphatic system as a kind of fusion between sewerage piping and an agricultural irrigation system, arranged as an intricate system of fluidy streets (lymphatic vessels), ranging from massive freeways down to tiny laneways, accessing every part of our body including muscles, tendons, fascia, skin, bones and organs, travelling through major interchanges somewhat like server exchanges (lymph nodes) along the way. When you look at it this way you can start to see how any therapy that influences this system can have far reaching effects.
Before we get into the top 9 benefits of Lymphatic drainage therapy, let’s look at what stuffs it up and slows it down.
The main culprits are:
- surgery and traumatic injury,
- diets high in fat and/or processed foods,
- exposure to toxins,
- bacteria and viruses,
- poor hydration, and
- a sedentary lifestyle.
Of course Lymphatic drainage therapy can’t change years of lifestyle impact overnight but it can help a lot, especially if you combine it with a healthier lifestyle program and you’re super pumped (get it? :-D) and ready to clean up the damage of the past.
So here it is: Top 9 Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy
- Supports whole body Detoxification
Our bodies are literally swimming with cellular waste and dying infectious organisms, not to mention the living ones and the hazardous chemicals that have made it into our bodies from our food supply and the external environment. Lymphatic drainage therapy improves the lymphatic systems ability – along with the liver and kidneys – to clear it all out and keep our whole body as clean as possible. (This is an almost ashamedly, vastly simplified view of the detoxification process but for my purpose writing this it’s enough – and I don’t want to lose you with microbiolgy overwhelm)
- Improves Immunity
The lymphatic system is intricately related to the immune system and includes the Spleen and Thymus. The Spleen is responsible for scanning circulating blood for foreign invaders and initiating an immune response. The thymus is responsible for differentiation of immature immune cells into the type of immune cell most needed to win the attack. The lymphatic fluid transports white blood cells between the two and into circulation. Lymphatic drainage therapy improves lymph flow through the lymph glands, Spleen and Thymus right at the heart of our immune response. Any person suffering from repeated colds and flu or other infections should definitely prioritise lymphatic drainage therapy into their recovery and prevention program.
- Improves Vitality
The lymphatic system operates extremely closely with the vascular system, in fact one of its primary functions is to return fluid to blood circulation. Arteries and capillaries are constantly losing tiny amounts of fluid into interstitial spaces due to the pressurized nature of blood flow. Without the lymphatic system returning fluid into arterial circulation, blood would become thick, sticky and dirty. Lymphatic Drainage Therapy improves energy and vitality by increasing oxygen rich blood delivery to cells throughout the body, and by taking waste product away. It also helps the look of vitality through a healthy hydrated glow to the skin – yes please!
- Increases speed of recovery after traumatic injury and surgery
As most of us have experienced at one time or another, soft tissue injury typically results in swelling and pain of the affected area. Lymphatic drainage therapy speeds recovery by moving stagnating fluids away from the injured area. It also brings in more proteins for tissue repair, increases oxygen in the system by increasing fluid to capillaries, and delivers other healing minerals like magnesium for muscular relaxation. It is also especially useful after surgery because the lymphatic system will have been damaged to some degree in the surgery, not to mention the impact of anesthetics to be removed from the system, and new pathways need to be established. A skilled Lymphatic therapist can feel the lymphatic flow, and support activation of these new pathways, reducing swelling, speeding recovery time and improving comfort.
- Softens old scar tissue
I recently worked with a woman who had a 12 year old scar that was red, raised and keloid, and was causing pain through restricted movement. Before the session was out, the scar had faded and softened, the movement was improved and the pain down by 80%. With Lymphatic drainage, even though it is gentle, changes can be amazingly fast and effective.
- Helps clear Chronic Sinus Congestion
Did you know you can have lymphatic drainage done on your face? Apart from being super helpful for your sinuses, it is one of the most relaxing things to have done. When a focused and skilled Lymphatic therapist is working on your “fluid body”, your whole body slips into an alpha wave state similar to a state achieved in deep meditation. The Lymphatic therapist will gently work to correct and drain any stagnation through the sinus cavities. Especially good for chronically blocked ears and nose, repeated bouts of tonsillitis, ear ache and headache.
- Painless and relaxing
One of the greatest benefits of Lymphatic drainage therapy is the gentle pressure required and the deeply relaxed state it conjures. As an acupuncturist I know very well how some people can’t handle the thought of needles so stay away. With Lymphatic drainage therapy there is hope for the sensitive! It may be a good time to note that Lymphatic drainage therapy is definitely not the same as remedial massage or the like, there is no kneading and no oil, but it can have powerful results in only one session, even releasing a tight neck or soothing a sore lower back.
- Moves Fluid
It might seem kind of funny to list this one in terms of stating the bleeding obvious but it’s true – Lymphatic drainage therapy moves fluid, and this means it’s good for swelling. For some people swelling can be painful, unsightly and generally awful to endure. It can be temporary, such the classic “Cankles” associated with pregnancy, or chronic, such as the kind associated with veinous insufficiency, lipoedema or lymphoedema. For any type of swelling, skillfully applied Lymphatic drainage therapy is definitely recommended and can dramatically improve quality of everyday life.
- Improves Period Pain
Period pain can be caused by a lot of different things including diet and other lifestyle and environment factors. It might seem strange that Lymphatic drainage can help until you know that it can be applied to the abdomen, opening and improving lymph flow through the major junction at the groin, called the inguinal iliac nodes. Improving lymph flow in the pelvis helps remove waste matter, metabolic byproduct, viral and bacterial waste plus improve immune system function and blood flow in the area, particularly useful when wanting to positively influence the health and function of the reproductive organs. In combination with a program including diet and certain supplements and herbal medicine, Lymphatic drainage therapy can absolutely speed up your results. I highly recommend it.
So there are the top 9 benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Therapy – there are still more, it’s a pretty incredible tool and I hope that helps explain a little of what Lymphatic drainage can actually do.
On a personal note – I’ve found that adding Lymphatic drainage to my skillset has been hugely beneficial to the speed and success of my treatments. On one hand it is most definitely due in part to the 9 reasons listed here – anything that improves the function of the lymphatic system improves health and wellbeing. But it’s also more than that – The lymphatic drainage training I have undertaken over the last 3 years has enhanced my palpation skills and made me more perceptive to the subtleties at play in our bodies than I was able to tap into previously. I love working with fluid, it’s the space where transformations can be made with the least resistance and the greatest impact, and I can’t receommend it highly enough.
If you have any questions or comments please get in touch, we love to hear from you.
If you’re ready to be on the receiving end and try it out for yourself, Follow this link to book yourself in.
Written by Siegrid Delaney, bringing you the best in lifestyle medicine and cutting edge health transformation. Acupuncture. Lymphatic Drainage. Nutritional Medicine. Energy Awareness
Look out for another article coming soon about exercises and dietary changes to cleanse and enhance the health of your lymphatic system.