Lymphatic massage moves toxins out of your lymph system so your hard working lymph nodes can successfully fight infection and clear harmful materials from your body. When the lymphatic fluid is clear from debris your skin glows, blemishes fade and your immune system is strong. Cellulite and puffiness melt away!
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), also known as lymphatic massage, uses very light pressure and long, gentle, rhythmic strokes to increase the flow of lymph, thereby strengthening the immune system and reducing toxins in your body.
MLD focuses on the five layers of lymphatic vessels under the skin and enhances the opening of the lymph vessels. After the top layers of the lymph open, the pressure applied can be firmer, but never a hard hand. As the superficial lymph is stimulated, the deep lymphatic system is also activated.
Having originated in France a century ago, MLD has long been recognized in Europe as an effective treatment for a range of health issues including swelling, poor skin tone, excess weight and cellulite, headaches, fatigue and susceptibility to illness.
If you’ve had a history of smoking, exposure to toxins, mold exposure, surgery, chronic infections or a sedentary lifestyle you could really benefit from lymphatic massage.
Your lymphatic system is working all the time to rid your body of toxins by cleaning the fluid that surrounds your tissues and cells (interstitial fluid). This oh-so important and often ignored system is located immediately under your skin. It includes an intricate network of lymph capillaries, vessels, nodes and organs which remove unwanted materials from the body, fight infections, process fats and maintain fluid levels. Thank you lymph!
The unique design of the lymphatic capillary walls absorb toxins around the cells and carry them to the lymph vessels and then onto lymph nodes. Your lymph system is just as vast as your circulatory system which transports nutrients and oxygen to all your cells by pumping blood. However, unlike your circulatory system which moves blood via the pumping mechanism of your heart, the movement of lymphatic fluid is dependent on the contraction of your muscles. So, your body needs to move in order for the lymph to move.
Over time, your lymph fluid can get congested from surgery (eg. breast augmentation), lack of hydration, lack of exercise, diet, infections, scar tissue, skin care products and other toxin exposures. When the flow of lymph becomes stagnant, toxins build-up in the lymphatic vessels and nodes and the lymph fluid becomes dirty. This results in higher risk of infection and inflammation as your body’s immune system becomes compromised.
You also have lymph node clusters in the small intestine called Peyers Patches. This is where your lymphatic, digestive and cleansing processes come together. Peyers Patches act as guards to keep bad bacteria from getting to the rest of the body. These clusters are also responsible for converting fat from food into an extremely fine emulsion that is carried throughout the lymphatic system to the cardiovascular system where it is then used for fuel and lubrication. If the fats don’t breakdown, your body buries it deep in your tissues (away from the heart, brain and vital organs) such as cellulite in the thighs. So, getting a massage can actually reduce cellulite. Who doesn’t think that’s amazing!
Your lymphatic system is located just below your skin. Toxins absorbed through your skin end up in your lymph. Try wearing clothing made from natural fibers (cotton, wool, silk), washing laundry with baby detergent and using non-toxic personal care products (soap, deodorant, make-up, moisturizer).
Staying well hydrated increases the effectiveness of your lymphatic massage and supports your lymphatic system naturally. Drinking lots of filtered water (not in plastic) between meals is key for healthy lymphatic flow and digestion.
Physical exercise such as walking and yoga allows the one-way valves inside the lymphatic vessels to open and close. This encourages the flow and movement of the lymphatic fluid away from tissues. So, if you’re not moving, neither is your lymphatic fluid.
Dr. Tara Meyerink
Dr. Tara is a Doctor of Clinical Nutrition and is a National Board certified Integrative and Functional N Nutrition Practitioner.
She believes that getting to the root cause of health issues is the key to sustaining health and wellness. Teaching clients the “why” behind recommended action steps for health improvement empowers them to learn to listen to their body and pro-actively take responsibility for their health. She believes one never stops learning.
Dr. Tara worked 20+ years in public education and educational administration prior to becoming a healthcare provider. She has authored and co-author peer-reviewed publications, does public speaking regarding longevity and nutrition, and mentors/supervises functional nutrition residents/candidates for their national boards.