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Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic massage, sometimes called manual lymphatic drainage, is a specialized type of medical massage. It can help treat lymphedema, in which lymphatic fluid collects in certain areas of the body because it cannot drain away effectively.

Lymphatic massage aims to improve the flow of lymph fluid, which should reduce swelling.

Massaging an area without swelling will make space for fluid to flow to those parts from more congested areas.

The lymphatic system plays a key role in the body’s immune defenses.

Lymphatic fluid flows through lymph vessels, which connect lymph nodes. As it passes through the lymph nodes, white blood cells trap and destroy harmful particles, such as bacteria.

Like blood in the circulatory system, lymphatic fluid is always moving. If it stops, swelling can occur, as lymph fluid builds up, often in the arms or legs. Health experts call this lymphedema.

Who can benefit?

Lymphedema can benefit people who have a buildup of lymphatic fluid:

  • cancer and cancer treatments that involve the removal of lymph nodes

  • filariasis, which is infestation of the lymph nodes by a parasite carried by mosquitoes

  • some types of vascular surgery, such as vein stripping

  • burn scar excision

  • lipectomy, a type of surgery to remove fat from the body

  • infection or trauma in the lymphatic system

  • a buildup of fluid due to deep vein thrombosis

  • health conditions that affect blood flow to the extremities, such as the hands and feet

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