Why Lymphatic Drainage Massage Should be Gentle to be Effective

The success of lymphatic drainage massage relies on the gentle hand movements performed during the massage session. Slow, monotonous manual techniques during lymphatic drainage massage result in a calmer and more relaxed state.

If the lymphatic drainage massage that is performed quickly or with strong, heavy pressure, the sympathetic nervous system will be instead be stimulated and the client will feel nervous and irritable. Hence, it is important that the massage therapist apply the appropriate pressure with the corresponding smooth, slow, gentle hand movements.

How is it done?

There are four different massage techniques that your massage therapist could perform during lymphatic drainage massage. In general, the massage techniques are performed by making circular movements that may be small, large, shallow, or deep. These manual techniques move the skin to the direction of the lymphatic drainage.

  • Stationary circles

As its name implies, this massage technique is performed by moving the fingers on the same area, moving in stationary circles or in continuous spirals. The direction of the pressure depends on the lymph drainage. Each circular motion is performed with alternating smooth increase and decrease of pressure.

This type of lymphatic drainage massage is best for treating neck, face, and lymph node conditions.

  • Pump technique

The pump technique is performed by placing the palms facing downward on the skin and moving the thumb and fingers together in the same direction, forming oval circles. The fingers are maintained in an outstretched position while the wrist moves like a hinge. The pressure is focused on the motion of the fingers while the motion of the wrist has no pressure.

  • Scoop technique

In the scoop technique, the palms are facing upward and moves in a “giving motion” while the wrist moves in a rotating motion. The pressure is focused on the inward stroke while the outward stroke has no pressure.

  • Rotary technique

The rotary technique is commonly performed on the flat areas of the body. Various individual movements of the different parts of the hand contribute to this lymphatic drainage massage technique. The wrist moves up and down as the whole palm makes inward spirals. The thumb also makes a circular motion directed to the skin’s lymph drainage.

The benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is gaining attention in the medical world as a means to relieve disease symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients.

The effects of lymphatic drainage massage benefit the different systems of the body. This type of massage has effects on our lymphatic system, nervous system, immune system, blood vessels, muscles, and bones.

Here are some of the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage:

  • Improved lymphatic flow

Lymphatic drainage massage can stimulate the receptors of the lymphatic system. The mild, gentle massage movements increase the flow of excess fluids, bacteria, and metabolic wastes toward the lymph nodes. This accelerates the clearing of wastes and toxic substances from our body. This also promotes better blood circulation.

  • Relaxed senses and improved sleep

The slow, monotonous massage technique in lymphatic drainage massage stimulates our parasympathetic system, which is the component of our nervous system that activates the processes that help us calm down and relax.

Another mechanism by which lymphatic drainage massage elicit a relaxing effect is by stimulating the pleasure reflexes, which then activate feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Lymphatic drainage massage also promotes better sleep. Improved sleep patterns help our body to recharge and restore our strength.

  • Enhanced immune functions

Lymphatic drainage massage improves the flow of body fluids through the lymphatic system. Because of this, the bacteria, viruses, or foreign substances present in our body fluids are transported more rapidly to lymph nodes. The lymph nodes would then process and inactivate these substances, hence increasing our immunity.

  • Better quality of life

Patients with systematic diseases such as cancer and fibromyalgia undergo lymphatic drainage massage to relieve some of their symptoms, such as fatigue, pain, and anxiety. After the massage, patients feel better and more relaxed. The stress caused by their conditions was significantly reduced. These effects contribute to the improved quality of life of patients.