Where deep tissue massage requires heavy use of body weight to work, lymphatic massage is very much it’s opposite. The touch used is near feather-light because the lymphatic system is superficial to the muscle tissue. This means that lymph vessels and capillaries rest just beneath the skin’s surface and on top of the muscle fibers. This superficial system accounts for 60-70% of lymph circulation. In a typical massage, the manual pressure applied compresses the lymph pathways thereby limiting drainage of central nervous fluid and waste products. It’s easy to see how a lymphatic massage might help the body function well.
The lymph system is a network of organs and tissues that help rid the body of toxins. The system helps maintain the body’s homeostasis by collecting accumulated tissue fluid around the cells and returning it to the bloodstream. This system carries infection fighting white blood cells through the lymph capillaries and lymph veins that are connected to lymph nodes and lymph nodules. As part of the immune defense system, the lymph nodes filter to destroy foreign substances and microorganisms.
Interstitial fluid comes from blood plasma that seeps through capillaries and becomes lymph when it moves into the lymph capillaries. When there is a build-up of fluid that becomes more than the lymphatic system can manage then edema occurs. Edema can occur for variety of reasons:
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- chemotherapy for cancer
- an increase or decrease in exercise
- scar tissue and muscle tension
Lymph Drainage Therapy was developed to manually attune to the specific rhythm, direction, depth, and the quality of the lymph flow. LDT is used by following a map of lymphatic pathways with the hands. Our massage therapists trained in Lymph Drainage Therapy use this lymph flow map to assist in determining the most appropriate pathways for drainage.