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What is Manual Lymph Drainage Massage?

Lymph or lymphatic massage is a descendant of Swedish massage. Dr. Emil Vodder, Ph.D of Copenhagen, Denmark, pioneered the practice of manual lymph drainage massage in the 1930’s. Dr. Vodder’s method of manual lymph drainage massages uses light, rhythmical, spiral-like movements to accelerate the movement of lymphatic fluids in the body.

The techniques of lymph massage are based on alternate pressure and release movements and light stroking. Light compression movements create a pumping action that encourages the movement of lymph through the lymph vessels. Decreased pressure opens lymph valves, while increased pressure closes them. Light stroking moves lymph through the deeper channels.

This process is contraindicated for persons with high blood pressure, heart condition, osteoporosis, or broken or cracked ribs.

The therapeutic goal of lymphatic drainage massage is to reduce lymphatic congestion and retention of wastes, and to condition the immune system; the goal is affected by assisting the flow of lymph along its normal routes. Impairment of lymphatic flow can stem from a number of causes, the most prominent and common being infection, poor diet, and stress.

Lymphatic massage stimulates the flow of lymph mechanically, with very light pressure on the surface of the skin, tracing the lymphatic routes, and with passive joint movements that reproduce the body’s normal means of “pumping” lymph.The client assists the process by breathing in such a way as to stimulate lymphatic flow. This mechanically induced boost in the flow acts to clear the system of blockages and create the conditions whereby it can drain normally.