The Lymphatic System is one of the most overlooked systems in the body, despite the fact it plays a central role in your overall health. Keeping your Lymphatic System in top shape is an important aspect in maintaining a healthy life.
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a very specialized massage technique designed to attain and sustain proper functioning of the lymph system.
Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage
Due to the nature of the lymphatic system, lymphatic drainage can prove beneficial in the correction of numerous conditions as well as in maintenance of good health. Lymphatic Drainage works to help re-circulate body fluids and stimulate functioning of the immune system. Results may include:
- reduction in edema (swelling), Causes of Swelling and Inflammation
- regeneration of tissues (e.g., from burns and pre & post surgical scarring),
- immune system stimulation,
- reduction of symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, pain relief,
- deep relaxation to aid insomnia, depression and stress,
- most importantly an effective component of the treatment and control of lymphedema.
Overview of the Lymphatic system
This system is the body’s cleaning system, and it runs -by and large- parallel to the blood circulation system. However, unlike the heart, which pumps the blood around the body, the lymph system uses pressure from the normal activity of the surrounding muscles to circulate the lymph. Lack of exercise and insufficient muscle movement can. therefore, affect the way the lymph system function. For example, cellulite is caused by the retention of toxins due to poor lymphatic circulation.
Your lymphatic system functions as the body’s cleaning system by using the pressure of muscle activity.
What does the Lymphatic System do?
Your Lymphatic System performs the vital function of cleansing the fluid that surrounds the cells in your body by removing impurities and waste products. This process not only protects your body from toxins, but also allows cells in the body to function at their best.
What happens when the Lymphatic System can’t function properly?
An unhealthy Lymphatic System can have a serious impact on your health. Poor lymph function is associated with fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, chronic fatigue syndrome, aches and pains, bloating and poor digestion. Studies have shown that an unhealthy lymph system can contribute to cellulite, fat deposits and obesity as well.
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a type of gentle massage which is intended to encourage the natural drainage of the lymph from the tissues space body.
The lymph system depends on intrinsic contractions of the smooth muscle cells in the walls of lymph vessels (peristalsis) and the movement of skeletal muscles to propel lymph through the vessels to lymph nodes and then beyond the lymph nodes to the lymph ducts which return lymph to the cardiovascular system. Manual lymph drainage uses a specific amount of pressure (less than 9 ounces per square inch) and rhythmic circular movements to stimulate lymph flow
It is now recognized as a primary tool in lymph edema management.
“After my first treatment with Mara I felt so much better. The tightness in my legs was reduced and walking was easier. It even made me stand straighter because there was relief from the pain.” G.Williams
If you’ve already had a Lymphatic Drainage, you’ll know how good you feel afterwards. Sometimes there can be side effects, but this is relevant to the amounts of toxins that were removed from your body and how it is performed.
The National Lymphedema Network lists four circumstances under which lymphatic massage or drainage should be avoided:
- When patients who have developed lymphedema after surgery experience a sudden, marked increase in localized swelling. Under these circumstances, patients are advised to stop treatment and to see their physicians for evaluation as soon as possible.
- Patients with a sudden onset of lymphangitis (an infection) should immediately discontinue treatment until the infection is treated and completely clears up. Patients who are at increased risk for blood clotting should be tested to rule out deep-venous thrombosis before being treated. During treatment, these patients should be followed closely, and testing should be performed on a regular basis.
- Patients who have congestive heart failure must be monitored closely to avoid moving too much fluid too quickly, which could put a strain on the heart.
- When pain is present, treatment should be discontinued until the underlying cause has been determined and the pain subsides.