So you've been hearing about lymphatic drainage massage and wondering what's so special about it? Well, here's the post where I will give you the goods!
I confess, before I started to do my own training in this form of massage, I also had no idea what it was or why it was something anyone would want. I was also a person who didn't particularly even like massage, after some experiences where I found it painful - not only during the treatment, but in the days that followed.
I was delighted to discover that there could be a highly effective form of massage to treat inflammation, water retention, pain and acute stress that was virtually painless, extremely relaxing and paired beautifully with essential oils.
So what exactly is the lymphatic system?
If you're not sure what the lymphatic system is, you're not alone. It's one of those body systems that most of us have vaguely heard of, but that's about it. You can think of it as a network of tissues and organs in the body that help us to eliminate dead cells, toxins and waste. It also transports lymph, a fluid our bodies naturally produce, which contain white blood cells. These cells are a critical part of how our immune system functions. When our lymphatic system is healthy, it efficiently removes waste and excess fluid from our bodies, as well as keeps our immune system strong. I'd say that's pretty important, right?! When our lymphatic system is unhealthy, lymph becomes stagnant, creating inflammation, pain and poor immune function.
The Role of Massage in Lymph Health
So what can we do to keep this system strong and functioning well? In short, we need to move our bodies. Unlike our arteries and veins, which move blood and nutrients around our bodies via a pump (the heart!), our lymph system has no pump. Movement such as exercise, stretching and yoga are excellent ways to move the muscles and organs, which in their own way "massage" the lymphatic system and keep it mobile.
Additionally, we can receive manual therapies to achieve this in a very specific and powerful way. Enter the drainage massage as well as other techniques such as Gua sha (a technique used in Traditional Chinese Medicine).
Lymph drainage massage uses very specific sweeping movements combined with various pressure points, lifting, squeezing and dragging movements around the body to stimulate the movement and "drainage" of the lymph. It is extremely gentle, relaxing and rhythmic! However, the power of this treatment should not be underestimated. It can be thought of as a full-body detox with each session. Many of my clients are amazed at how something so gentle can give them so many benefits - without the soreness sometimes associated with other forms of massage.
Regular lymphatic drainage massage, especially with essential oils, can have a profound effect on the body and immune system. It can reduce water weight, reduce pain and inflammation throughout the body and increase healthy immune function. People report benefits such as lower stress, better sleep, improved digestion, better mobility and increased energy in the days that follow. It has been proven to help reduce symptoms during hay fever season and lower the occurrence of colds and flus in winter. To get the best results, I encourage 2 treatments per month during acute conditions and once every 3-5 weeks for maintenance.
Combining with Aromatherapy
Working with the healing benefits of essential oils is what my practice is all about. The massage itself if very powerful, but by blending specific oils for each client, I can really help you take your health and healing to the next level. Some oils are more relevant to pain relief, while others are more beneficial for releasing water weight, or soothing inflamed tissues. This is where working with a clinical aromatherapist can really help you get to the heart of what ails you and relax, knowing you are in the care of expert hands. As a clinically trained therapist, I will never "overdo" it and am careful to listen to each client's wishes and levels of sensitivity.
Whatever your specific goals are, know that the benefits of receiving compassionate touch together with organic essential oils and their beautiful aromas will add a depth of pleasure and peace to your experience that you simply have to try to believe!
So often we are so hard on ourselves! Many time our bodies end up taking the brunt of this and it can be so healing to simply rest and experience softness during your treatment.
If you'd like to experience the truly amazing benefits of this therapy for yourself, please do get in touch as I'd love to welcome you for your very own appointment at my private practice in The Hague.
If you live in another region or country, you can still experience the wonderful benefits of this massage by looking for qualified professionals who can offer you a high level of experience. You and your body deserve to receive only the best care, so do ask questions and do feel for yourself if a treatment or therapist is correct for you. A good therapist will ask you about your medical history, inquire as to what your wishes and goals are, and be happy to make adjustments to your preferences and needs.
Wishing you a happy and healthy summer!
Lauren Keizer-Gilbert, MIFPA