Lymphatic self-massage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage, is a therapeutic technique used to help manage lymphedema. The massage helps to stimulate the lymphatic system to remove excess fluid and waste products from the body.
Daily self-massage can help to decrease swelling in the lower body and improve overall lymphatic function. It’s important to first learn the proper technique from a therapist before attempting to do this Lymphatic Self-Massage at home.
How does Lymphatic Self-Massage help with lymphedema?
When the lymphatic system is not working properly, fluid can build up and cause swelling in the affected area, known as lymphedema.
Manual lymphatic drainage massage uses gentle, rhythmic strokes to move the skin in the direction of the lymphatic flow, helping to stimulate the lymphatic vessels and encourage the flow of lymphatic fluid. This can help to reduce the swelling and improve the overall function of the lymphatic system. Note that a trained therapist should perform or guide this massage as it can cause harm if done incorrectly.
There are several advantages to performing lymphatic self-massage:
- Reduces swelling: can help to reduce swelling in the affected area caused by lymphedema.
- Improves lymphatic function: Lymphatic Self-Massage stimulates the lymphatic vessels and encourages the flow of lymphatic fluid, improving the overall function of the lymphatic system.
- Increases relaxation: a gentle, non-invasive therapy that can be relaxing and may help to reduce stress and tension.
- Increases range of motion: lymphedema can cause stiffness in the affected limb and decrease range of motion. Lymphatic massage can help improve flexibility.
- Improves skin condition: can help improve the condition of the skin, making it softer and smoother.
- Cost-effective: performing the Lymphatic Self-Massage at home can reduce the cost of visiting a therapist regularly.
- Increases self-awareness: allows a person to become more aware of their own body and to recognize early signs of lymphedema, which can help in early treatment.
There are several precautions to take when performing lymphatic self-massage:
- Learn the proper technique from a trained therapist before attempting to do it at home.
- Avoid areas with active infections or open wounds
- Avoid massaging over varicose veins to avoid increasing the pressure on these vessels and causing further damage
- Avoid massaging over bony prominences such as the ankle and knee (can cause pain and discomfort)
- Avoid massaging over areas of recent surgery
- If you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications, it is important to consult your doctor before starting any self-massage program