LYMPHATIC MASSAGE BASICS
Just like dining out at a new restaurant, choosing which massage or spa treatment is best for you can be fairly overwhelming. The menu is often quite extensive and even confusing for inexperienced spa-goers, especially when you see something strange like lymphatic drainage massage or myofascial release therapy.
Balinese Massage is the standard whole body massage, particularly wonderful for easing aches and pains. Warm Stone massage is so soothing and comforting that it is almost like a sedative for the mind and body. And who would not find a Lomi Lomi massage enticing just by the images it evokes of tropical island lifestyles. Any of these options would make your family and friends jealous of your immersion into the world of wellness.
In contrast, imagine you came home and told your loved ones that you just had a Lymphatic Drainage massage. Maybe they will shriek in horror thinking you had just been diagnosed with an awful illness. Despite its less than enchanting name, it is an incredibly gentle and therapeutic massage. To understand why, you first have to appreciate how a well functioning Lymphatic system is so crucial to your over-all health.
WHAT IS THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM?
Think of it as rail system inside the body. It has main lines that feed into key stations, in this case critical organs, and others that take you to outlying destinations, for example the arms and legs. Lymph vessels are like the rail lines that carry the lymph fluid to various stations known as lymph nodes located primarily in the neck, groin, armpits and tummy districts. When loud and visible public transportation systems don’t work in the real world, it affects many people who rely on it daily. Yet when the silent Lymphatic system breaks down most people are not even aware of it, blaming the resultant health problems on other factors. Annoying aches, low energy levels, fatigue, mood swings and frequent colds may all be due to an impaired lymph system. That is why a well-functioning system contributes significantly to over-all wellness.
WHY IS THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM SO IMPORTANT?
Its main role is to collect excess fluid, clean it of all waste products, and return it back into circulation. Without it, our bodies would become bloated so that we looked like a big marshmallow.
Our cells would also be infested with all sorts of harmful pollutants brought to us through poor environmental conditions and dietary habits. Even the most wellness-focused person needs the lymphatic system to clear itself of unwanted substances such as bacteria, viruses and fungi in order to fend off potential infections and illnesses.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
For most of us, the lymphatic system just keeps humming along however, it really benefits from a recharge. A lymphatic drainage massage can increase the volume of lymph flow which holds metabolic waste, some of it toxic, by as much as 20 times. It is like a liver detox program without the hunger pains! If you do opt for a detox, a lymphatic massage is a great way to expedite the release of toxins from the body.
Although this in itself is of immense value to your long-term health, the massage has also proven to help reduce swelling problems such as lymphedema that frequently occurs after cancer treatments. Similarly, breast feeding mothers benefit from unplugging tender lymph nodes. For anyone with bloated or swollen joints, it can really help drain the fluids and provide comforting release.
By delivering more antigens to the lymph nodes, it can relieve the symptoms of sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis and laryngitis.
As no massage oils are used it can focus on the face to relieve puffiness due to fluid retention. Due to the quick draining process, it firms and smoothes the skin.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A LYMPHATIC MASSAGE
Forget about any pain from a therapist digging deep into tissues and joints. A lymphatic massage is all about light, feathery strokes – so soft that some people gently fall to sleep during a session. The paradox for many is how such a superficial technique has such a deep impact. However, it is really quite simple as a lymphatic massage enlivens and accelerates the body’s normal processes.
The process starts on the upper part of the rib cage to force muscles to work a bit harder with breathing resistance. It moves to the neck area, an area full of lymph nodes, with pumping actions. Strange as it may seem at first, the therapist then starts to perform pumping techniques in the navel area. This is because the largest lymphatic vessels are on this level, so it further speeds up the progression of fluid into the nodes.
Next comes massaging the lymphatic nodes themselves, a painless process. In fact, it should almost feel like someone was caressing your body in a thoughtful manner.
It is recommended to drink plenty of water before a massage as the quick disposal of excess fluids can make you feel a bit unfocused immediately afterwards.
WHERE TO FIND A LYMPHATIC MASSAGE
Let’s get real. Lymphatic Drainage Massage is not typically found on spa menus, despite its many genuine health benefits. As it is quite different than typical massages which use moderate to strong pressure, it hence requires a longer training period to get it just right. Most spas just choose to offer more mainstream bodywork treatments.
If you do find a spa in your area that features it, check that the therapists are well trained, preferably with international certification such as CIBTAC, ITEC or CIDESCO. Especially if you are there for any medical reasons, be sure to ask management about their training.
If you are in the USA, you can find a qualified therapist here.
When in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia, Taksu Spa has an excellent team of well-trained Balinese therapists who display a degree of sensitivity to your needs that is not often found in other cultures.
Wherever you choose to try a Lymphatic Drainage Massage, you will certainly not regret it. More likely, you will keep coming back for more.