Lymphatic Stimulation (see image below) is a highly specific form of massage (technique), which uses light, rhythmical, very precise movements, pressures and sequences and requires the therapist to develop a great degree of skill, having an intimate knowledge of the workings of the anatomy of the lymphatic system. This technique works at a skin level to influence the direction and speed of lymphatic flow.
The lymphatic system is a complex one which integrates with other bodily systems, for example, the circulatory system and the urinary system. As well as playing a major part in immunity, it facilitates waste removal at cellular level and assists with bringing nutrients and oxygen to cells. Interstitial fluid, the fluid that bathes all cells, contains a rich soup of proteins, plasma, long chain fatty molecules, cell waste and debris and any molecules which are too big to pass into the venous system – these enter the lymphatic system and become ‘lymph’.
We have three times more lymphatic than we do blood, and our lymphatic system does not have a pump, like our heart, which conducts our circulatory system. That means we need to rely on other ways to move the lymphatic fluid through our body to keep us healthy. These are the three ways we naturally move lymphatic fluid.
- Laughter, we stimulate our diaphragm with every motion of our belly moving in and out as we laugh.
- Walking, Jumping, exercise
- Massage, intentional light rhythmical movements applied to the skin in a certain sequence
Estheticians have been using lymph drainage massage for years to enhance the quality of the skin, especially on the face. When the lymph is flowing, the cells are being bathed in fresh fluid, causing the skin to look fresh and alive. We have all experienced having minor edema in our faces- that puffy feeling and baggy eyes when we first wake in the morning after a long night. Usually after a few minutes of being vertical the lymph system starts to drain the face. Redness, sensitive skin or reactive skin all benefit form lymphatic drainage as the skin color, texture and elasticity improve with the treatment.
These are health benefits of the lymph massage:
- Cellulite. Cellulite appears when the fat deposits in our hips and thighs become filled with interstitial debris from an ineffective lymph flow. When our body is not working efficiently, the tissue fills with liquids and toxins and the fat deposits tend to produce the “orange peel skin”.
Utilizing lymphatic stimulation along with proper products and methods, it is easy to activate the flow of the accumulated wastes and improve the elasticity and appearance of the skin. Normally, just three months are enough to see satisfactory results.
- Swollen, heavy and legs and feet. Lymph flows from the periphery of the limbs to their center. When this path is interrupted, the lymph falls back due to the action of the gravity and causing swelling. The lymph drainage helps to retrain the lymphatic system of the path.
- Pregnancy and PMS syndrome. The drainage is very effective in both cases, but as a preventive method. The hormonal changes during pregnancy determine liquid retention and a decrease in the tonus of the vein and lymph vessels. The drainage can be started beginning with the third pregnancy month and made till the delivery. It is also effective against the swelling experienced by many women a few days before the menstruation. In this case, the massage is made immediately after the end of the cycle for a week.
- Scars. If during the scarring process of a wound interstitial liquid accumulates forming an edema, a hypertrophic (cheloid, swollen) scar forms. The lymph draining has a “planning” effect on the scar, even in older ones, because it activates the lymphocytes, involved in reconstructing the tissue.
- Acne and couperose. In acne, the skin is inflamed, accompanied generally by liquid retained amongst the skin cells. The draining effect of this technique, gradually decreases the inflammation and the edemas, and delivers a soothing result.
Couperose is due to inflammation of the capillaries on the face, especially on cheeks, nose, and chin. In time, the reddening may turn permanent. If the condition is addressed during the initial phase, lymphatic drainage can fix it, but if it’s on an advanced stage, lymhatic stimulation can diminish the appearance.
- Surgery. Lymph drainage is effective for getting rid of edemas and hematomas and boosting tissue regeneration following a surgery. But it is good not only after the operation; if made a month before the operation, it favors the elimination of the liquids and toxins from the body, stimulating cells’ ability to regenerate and repair tissues. Having treatments post-surgery will speed up recovery time, spawn healing, and enhance the results from the surgical procedure.