What Is a Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Patient at the physiotherapy gets massage or lymphatic drainage

The lymphatic system is like your body’s sewage system. It maintains fluid levels in your body tissues by removing all fluids leaking out of your blood vessels. In addition, the lymphatic system is an essential part of the immune system, helping to remove excess fluid, toxins, and pathogens.


However, the lymphatic system can become clogged or blocked. This occurs when there is a build-up of lymph fluid and a lack of circulation in the lymphatic vessels. Unlike the circulatory system, which has the heart to pump blood, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to move the lymph fluid throughout its system. 


It relies on other factors to help it move, such as exercise, movement, breathing, diet, and herbs. Additionally, massage can help to move stagnant lymph—particularly a type of massage called “lymphatic drainage massage.”


What Is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?


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Lymphatic drainage massage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage massage, is a gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body. It is a technique that involves using long, gentle, and rhythmic strokes to help move lymph fluid and restore the normal function of the lymphatic system.


When lymph gets clogged, it can interfere with your body’s ability to remove toxins. Instead, these toxins can build up your body and lead to poor health. Lymphatic drainage massage helps to manually move this stagnant lymph, thereby helping the body to remove built-up toxins. It is excellent massage therapy for health, especially for detoxification and immunity.


What Are the Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage?


Some of the top lymphatic drainage massage benefits include:


  • It helps drain lymph build-up
  • Supports healthy lymphatic system function
  • Relieves swelling
  • It helps remove toxins in the body
  • Supports immune system health
  • Can relieve muscular pain and discomfort
  • May improve skin health
  • May boost energy levels and relieve fatigue


Lymphatic drainage massage can benefit anyone, but it is especially beneficial for those with lymphatic stagnation. If you have a clogged lymphatic system, you will notice a big difference between before and after lymphatic drainage.


While having a trained professional perform a lymphatic drainage massage on you is best, you can do some lymphatic drainage massage techniques at home.


At Home Lymphatic Drainage Massage


To perform a lymphatic drainage massage at home:

  1. Begin first by sitting in a comfortable position with your spine straight.
  2. Start with gentle deep breathing exercises—this alone can help move lymph fluid through lymph vessels and nodes.
  3. Try inhaling your total lung capacity slowly and deeply, and exhale, emptying your lungs.
  4. Repeat this several times.


Next, you can gently use your fingers to move lymph through your skin. Starting with the neck, tilt your chin up slightly to the ceiling. Place three fingers from each hand on either side of the neck, just beneath your jaw. Gently press and drag your fingers down toward the bottom of your neck. Move your fingers back to the original position, and repeat these strokes a few times.


When doing a lymphatic massage, always move in the direction of your heart.


In the same way, you did with your neck; you can use your fingers to gently put pressure on your skin and move the lymph fluid beneath the skin in the direction of the heart. Some other areas that are especially good for lymphatic massage include:


  • The armpits
  • Groin
  • Upper abdomen
  • Arms
  • Legs


Herbs for Lymphatic Movement


In addition to self-massage, certain herbs may also help stimulate lymphatic movement. We at Zuma Nutrition have developed a Lymphatic Detox Tonic that contains a synergistic blend of herbs to support lymphatic drainage and overall lymphatic function.


Other Tips for Lymphatic Movement


Some other methods for stimulating lymphatic flow include:


  • Regular exercise
  • Deep breathing
  • Drinking much water
  • Rebounding (jumping on a small trampoline)
  • Yoga
  • Nutritious diet


The best way to maintain a healthy lymphatic system is to combine multiple modalities, such as herbs, lymphatic drainage massage, regular exercise, and a generally healthy diet and lifestyle.

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