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Lymphatic Drainage

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What is The Lymphatic System?


The extraordinary workings of the lymphatic system make blood circulation look simple by comparison. Made up of fine vessels and lymph nodes, this little-known circulation is an important part of the immune system. It quietly goes about its business, filtering out waste and debris, and carrying nutrients to cells.


The lymph nodes do the collection and filtering of waste material from cell fluid, while the lymph vessels return the fluid back to the general circulation.  It clears the entire body, stopping excess fluid from lying around in the tissues.  It always heads towards the heart. 


Unlike the heart, lymph doesn’t have a pump to push it round the body.  It relies mainly on our muscular action and body movement to keep the fluid moving.  As well, it needs all areas of the body to be in good condition; that means adequate fluid intake, excellent nutrition and high level well-being. 


What Goes Wrong?


When the lymphatic system doesn’t work efficiently, the tell-tale signs of oedema or tight swollen tissue appear.  A common instance is seen after a long-distance air travel: ankles and legs become tight and puffy. It’s due to lack of movement, pressure on lymph vessels from sitting, and the hanging position of the legs.  Medical conditions can also be the cause of oedema. But as well, by the end of winter, after too little exercise, too much starchy food, and far too many hot chocolates, our bodies may be pretty sluggish and longing for a fresh start to get that fluid moving.


What is Lymphatic Drainage?


When you intervene and encourage the fluid to drain properly, it’s known as lymphatic drainage. You can jazz up your whole system with a treatment, whether or not you have fluid retention.  It can be a stand-alone procedure, or it can be incorporated into a massage treatment.  You can even do it yourself.


All treatments are not the same; it depends on the condition being treated, but the aim is always to get the fluid moving out of the tissue and towards the heart.


What Can It Be Used For?


A surprising number of conditions respond to lymphatic drainage. If a medical condition is involved, you should consult your practitioner first:

Swollen ankles and legs after air travel

Tight sore breasts – PMT or fibrocystic disease


Medical conditions like Cancer – after removal of lymph nodes

Following cosmetic surgery – liposuction, scar tissue

How To Do Lymphatic Drainage 


Lymphatic vessels are generally fine and close to the skin, so it’s never a deep treatment.   


Stimulate the closest lymph nodes first, so they’re ready to drain the fluid that you send to them. The main groups are found in the groins, armpits and under the jaw, just below the ears.   For swollen ankles, you massage the groin first. Then you clear the fluid closest to the nodes, and gradually work down the leg, always moving the fluid towards the heart. The last part to be massaged will be the ankle and foot itself, having cleared the fluid backlog between it and the nodes.


One technique is to use a flat hand on the tissue, and move the tissue under it just a few millimeters in the direction of the nodes. Gently stroking the tissue will also work.  Each area of tissue is worked for a minute or two, before moving down to the next area. When the whole section has been worked, you re-do the nodes, and repeat the procedure.


It feels very gentle, but it’s extremely effective. Make sure you are always directing the fluid towards the heart.


Additional Help For Lymphatic Tune-up

Exercise, especially yoga, will really improve the way your lymphatic system works   

Extra water will help to keep your body well hydrated

Add fennel and celery and parsley to other fruits and vegetables, for their diuretic ability.

Essential oils such as geranium, juniper, lemon and rosemary are all stimulating and cleansing.  They can all be used in baths and massage. Take care that they are diluted well, and that there is no sun exposure for at least 12 hours after using lemon or any other citrus oils


And now you’re ready to step into spring full of vitality. If traces of sluggishness remain, find a lymphatic drainage practitioner in your local area.


What is The Lymphatic System?


The lymphatic system is the secondary system of circulation in the body with a very complex set of tasks. The major tasks are cleaning and nourishing the cells.  Sounds simple enough, but without it, we wouldn’t survive long. The lymphatic system is a sort of go-between from the blood circulation to the individual cells. Lymph is a clear fluid containing nutrients and oxygen similar to blood but without the red and white corpuscles. It comes from the general circulation and is deposited around the cells to keep them nourished.  The cells are able to discard waste and toxic materials into this fluid.  The lymphatic vessels pick up this waste and any excess fluid from around cells and transport it, via the lymph nodes which filter it, back into the general circulation.  It’s a one-way shuttle, so lymph should only ever flow in one direction – away from the cells and towards the heart.


Find out more in our article What is Lymphatic Drainage?


Reasons for Poor Lymphatic Flow


Poor lifestyle choices are the commonest causes of an inefficient lymphatic system, though they are certainly not the only ones.

Lack of exercise - lymphatic fluid needs muscle power to push it round the body

Poor diet – may increase congestion and produce more waste for the lymph to pick up and dispose of

Pollutants – environmental and dietary

Surgery and trauma



Major Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage


Every part of the body is influenced by the lymphatic system, because no matter what the purpose of the cells, they all need nourishing and cleaning.


It’s important in immunity, inflammation and healing in general, so an efficient lymphatic system is going to help in many areas.  Lymphatic drainage is a way to achieve that efficiency.



Skin care: For a clearer complexion and to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in facial tissue, as well as reducing puffiness around the eyes.
Old scar tissue can be reduced while the appearance of new scars can be minimized. It’s commonly used before and after cosmetic surgery. 

Detox: At the end of winter, or after a period of high stress, the body will really benefit from lymphatic drainage, to reduce the sluggishness brought on by too many starchy, high fat foods and too little exercise. 

Headache: Most headaches including sinusitis have a component of congestion that responds well to   lymphatic drainage.   Once tissue is decongested, blocked fluid and blood flow improve, reducing pain and discomfort. 

Promote healing: After surgery or injury, the tissue may be swollen and sore. Lymphatic drainage is a gentle treatment that will help drain the tissue, reduce inflammation and improve healing. 

Pregnancy and after: There is often fluid retention in pregnant women and lymphatic drainage can improve comfort especially in legs and feet.  Breast feeding will be enhanced by this treatment, especially when there are problems with blocked ducts and sore tight breasts. 

Reduce swelling: After long periods of immobility such as air travel or lessened mobility, fluid tends to stagnate in the tissue making it puffy and tender.   
Conditions such as arthritis often have joints that are congested with fluid. All of these respond well when fluid is reduced with lymphatic drainage.

Relaxation: Because it is such a gentle treatment, it is one of the most relaxing.  And the relaxation is enhanced as the cleansing and rejuvenating effects relieve stress.


Most people will notice improvements in their level of wellbeing after a treatment because lymphatic drainage has so many benefits.  Keep yourself looking and feeling in tip-top condition with a regular session. 


Read more:





I will list a few under each category:



    tramatic, neurologic, dermatologic, gynecologic, autoimmune



    tooth pain, gum disease, periodontitis



    rosacea, seborrhea, some pigmentation spots



    sagging breasts, skin complexion, cellulite, "bags" under eyes



    chronic constipation, Crohn's disease, diverticulosis



    stress, fatigue, detoxification, cholesterol, jet lag



    memory loss, tissue regeneration, immune system stimulation



    PMS, cyst formation in breasts, breast feeding, menstruation



    chronic sinusitis frontalis, laryngitis, allergic nasal cattarh



    headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, Bell's palsy, multiple sclerosis



    visual acuity, macular degeneration, cataracts



    sprains, hematomas, fractures, traumas



    neck pain, low back pain, sciatica, whiplash


OTORHINOLARYNGOLOGY - ORL (ear, nose, throat)

    Sjogren's syndrome, tinnitus, vertigo, peridontal disease



    bronchial asthma, bronchitis, emphysema



    Rheumatod arthritis, gout, scleroderma, fibrositis syndrome,

    lumbago, carpal tunnel syndrome, lupus



    pre and post surgery




NOTE: Many times results are immediate; other times within a few hours you will notice a change for the better.


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