SHA Magazine Natural Therapies
The benefits of lymphatic drainage massages
Acne, constipation, stress, acute pain, and other pathologies are treated with manual lymphatic drainage, a booming therapy that is becoming a standard of excellence within the field of reducing massages. Why is it useful for such different pathologies? For many reasons.
“Manual lymphatic drainage is applied using a very light, rhythmic massage technique. Its objective is to stimulate the flow of lymph in the superficial lymphatic vessels. This helps move the lymph back into the central circulation, improving the overall health of the lymphatic circulatory system“, details Rachel Rose, Mind & Body expert at SHA Wellness Clinic.
Manual lymphatic drainage can be used locally to treat specific parts of the body, or more general lymphatic drainage can be applied to the entire body. In the case of particular drainage, manual lymphatic drainage can be used to, for example, reduce the swelling of a sprained ankle or reduce post-surgery swelling. This therapy is widely used after cosmetic surgery to return the skin to a healthy appearance more quickly or in the rehabilitation of lymphedema. This chronic swelling condition often develops after cancer treatment.
The best post-surgical treatment
Manual lymphatic drainage is a completely safe and effective technique, but only if performed by the right professionals. Scientific studies confirm not only improves the quality of life of patients, but it is also the “best post-surgical treatment available,” according to Rachel Rose. This technique treats everything from scar rehabilitation to reducing swelling and pain. “It’s amazing what can be achieved with just the gentle touch of an expert therapist’s hands,” describes the SHA Wellness Clinic specialist.
The same goes for injuries such as sprained ankles, sprained knees, and bruised skin. All patients respond quickly and holistically to manual lymph drainage. The results after dental surgery are also relevant, as it reduces swelling and relieves pain. The way it is applied requires excellent skill and preparation. “Manual lymphatic drainage adheres to a strict method, as this technique is medically recognized and must follow a protocol. There are different hand movements – circles, pumps, stretches and pushes – that slowly and systematically clear the lymphatic pathways and then direct the lymph from the extremities of the body towards the centre,” describes Rachel Rose.
A therapy recommended for everyone
Who is manual lymphatic drainage indicated for? For everyone. “It should be part of our self-care plan, like yoga or meditation,” says the SHA Wellness Clinic expert. For example, it’s especially useful for women who retain water during their menstrual cycle or during and after pregnancy. It also works wonders for headaches and migraines, as well as can help eliminate sinus and rhinitis, whether chronic or acute, as in the case of seasonal allergies.
Besides, digestive problems can be less troublesome if treated with manual abdominal lymphatic drainage. The small intestine is abundant in lymphatic tissue known as “Peyer’s patches. When the abdomen is gently massaged, central lymphatic drainage is stimulated, and the discomfort of slow digestion and absorption is reduced.
Similarly, the wall of the large intestine is porous, which means that water can enter and leave. The cramps and swelling so common in intestinal pain can be effectively treated with proper manual lymphatic drainage exercise.
It should be noted that lymphatic drainage therapy is contraindicated for the following cases:
– Cancer (active or metastasis).
– Deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
– Renal failure.
– Cardiac or pulmonary edema.
– Acute skin infections.
New lines of research: cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and the immune system
Until now, manual lymphatic drainage has been used for therapeutic purposes to act in fields such as lymphoedema, cystic fibrosis, or multiple sclerosis. But new lines of research are becoming more and more expansive. A hot topic in the world of lymphology is cancer metastasis. Once it was discovered that metastasis moves through the lymphatic system, the medical profession began to take notice of this therapy. “Promising research is being done on cytokines and cancer inflammation, and this would help prolong the lives of cancer patients,” says Rachel Rose.
Meanwhile, manual lymphatic drainage could become a reference therapy in the treatment of autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and for immunocompromised patients with diseases such as Lyme. However, the evidence is not yet clear and more studies are needed to determine conclusive results
“I can see a day in the not too distant future when care and maintenance of the lymphatic system will be as routinary as the care of the teeth. Any doctor can confirm that no clinical or medicine is as powerful or precise as our immune system. The lymphatic system and the immune system are so closely intertwined that they are almost one. By loving our lymph, we increase our immunity so that we live happier, holistically healthy lives,” summarizes Rachel Rose.