Last year I completed my training in Lymph Drainage Therapy (LDT). You may have heard that our bodies are 50-70% water. A lot of this water is lymph!
Lymph is part of the circulatory system. Blood leaves the heart and travels through the arterial network to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the interstitial fluid, the fluid space that surrounds the cells.
The return journey to the heart has not just one, but two parallel pathways: the venous and lymphatic systems.
The lymph carries large proteins, foreign bodies, cell debris, and pathogenic substances which can’t be carried by the blood. These substances are broken down in the lymph nodes before the lymph returns to the blood.
Most of us are not aware of the central role that lymph plays in the body, but its action is central to good health, and even our very survival.
Lymph Drainage Therapy stimulates the flow of lymph manually by applying extremely light pressure at specific locations and in a particular sequence. As the lymphatic system increases its output, detoxification of the cellular environment occurs. In addition, the increased flow of lymph through the lymph nodes stimulates the activity of immune cells.
So in addition to being part of the circulatory system, the lymph is also part of the immune system!
Here are a few of the many indications and benefits for LDT:
- Drain excess fluid from the tissues in the case of trauma or injury, which promotes healing of the injury
- Prepare the tissues pre-surgery
- Reduce swelling and pain post-surgery, and promote healing
- Detoxify the body (fasting, dieting, withdrawal from tobacco and other substances…)
- Reduce water retention and puffiness due to inflammation or PMS
- Stimulate the relaxation response and reduce the stress response
- Reduce muscle spasms
- Stimulate the immune response
- Reduce headaches
- Improve skin health and appearance
- Drain lymphedema due to cancer treatment
- Drain sinus congestion
Some people seek LDT specifically, but most people are not aware of this form of massage and its benefits. I often find myself combining techniques as needed. For example, an injury might be swollen and benefit from clearing the fluid first, which reduces discomfort and allow for better access to do detailed release work on the tissues. Or the tissues can be so restricted that they do not allow the lymph to flow freely, in which case the myofascial work would be done first, then a little LDT to help resume the free-flow of fluids through the area.
Now that you are acquainted with the lymphatic system, you can seek help for this vital system through the gentle techniques of Lymph Drainage Therapy.
You can also take steps in your daily life to keep your lymph healthy:
- Practice daily movement and exercise, which stimulates lymph flow
- Eat a healthy diet, free of additives, artificial ingredients, added hormones and antibiotics
- Eat in moderation
- Drink alcohol in moderation
- Drink plenty of water
- Take contrast showers: 2 minutes cold, 2 minutes hot, alternating for a few rounds (The temperature should be slightly shocking but neither freezing nor burning)
- Self drainage – I can show you some techniques you can apply yourself.