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Natural Awakenings Austin

Therapy Spotlight: Lymphatic Drainage Massage

By Destiny Lehew

Most people are familiar with common massage techniques like Swedish, deep tissue, hot stone, or aromatherapy massage. However less is known about a very beneficial technique called lymphatic drainage massage. This technique was developed to stimulate the lymphatic system, cleanse and remove toxins from the body, reduce inflammation, and improve immunity. With these benefits in mind, lymphatic massage is ideal for athletes, surgical patients, oncology patients, and chronic pain sufferers alike. 

The Purpose of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) massage originated in France in the 1930s by Danish physical therapist Emil Vodder and his wife, Astrid, a naturopath. This painless, seemingly magical massage is a potent detoxification method that helps deliver the cellular waste bacteria in the body to the lymph nodes so they can be excreted from the body. To make this process more effective and potent, MLD massage delivers gentle, rhythmic strokes and whispery soft movements to counterbalance bacterial buildup.

What to Expect During a Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Since this therapy is so gentle, it is well tolerated by post-surgical patients, who are often experiencing sore trigger points throughout the body. By encouraging lymph flow and removing waste products, this gentle form of bodywork can help restore immune function and improve vitality.

MLD massage may be performed on different areas of the body. The technique is very light compared to traditional massage, which explains why it is recommended for reducing post-surgery inflammation. It is not uncommon for patients to fall asleep during a lymphatic massage. 
This massage technique is commonly used on women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer, in order to help reduce swelling of the arm, which can be a common complication.

MLD massage has been proven to help:
*Enhance the immune system 
*Lowers inflammation
*Relieves fatigue         
*Removes waste

It’s common to feel sluggish the day after a treatment as the body is doing the hard work of releasing toxins. It’s important to drink plenty of water so that the body can fully detoxify.
Additional ways to keep the lymphatic system moving include regular exercise, deep breathing exercises, dry brushing of the body, and maintaining a healthy diet. 

Either a full body lymphatic drainage massage or a more focused treatment on the affected area(s) may improve the results of other therapies that a patient may have undergone. To learn more, contact an experienced, certified MLD therapist. This therapy should only be practiced by trained personnel to assist with the proper circulation of the lymphatic system. Several sessions may be required to achieve the best results, but it will be well worth each patient’s time. 

Destiny Lehew, LMT, CLT, CMLDT, can be reached at 512-567-5332, [email protected] or by visiting

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