Various forms of massage therapy can all work cohesively to establish improvements in an individual's treatment path. Massage therapy is commonly used for treatment with regards to overcoming sports injuries, reducing the symptoms of chronic pain as well as helping with other ongoing conditions within individual patients.
Utilizing various forms of massage therapy can actually work to speed the process of treatment in individuals, lessen pain as well as work at prevention. Massage therapy has shown to have an effect on the immune system and it can lead to potential improvements with preventing disease as a result of these properties.
A type of massage therapy that isn't well known that can provide any cute form of therapy for a specific condition is the idea of a Lymphatic massage. In this article, we will be exploring this type of massage therapy and its benefits. Although this is a highly specialized form of massage, it could provide a massive improvement for individuals suffering from a number of conditions.
What is Lymphatic massage and why was it developed?
Lymphatic massages otherwise known as manual lymph drainage. The original form of this massage was developed as a procedure in Germany to combat accumulations of fluid that can commonly occur when lymph nodes are removed after surgery.
Lymph nodes can be commonly removed during a mastectomy for breast cancer and this can often lead to extra swelling and fluid accumulation. Another condition that also creates extra fluid in the lymph nodes is called lymphedema. This can occur at birth as well as develop during the early stages of adulthood and puberty. This swelling can affect all four limbs as well as other parts of the body throughout time. Lymphatic massage is also beneficial for reducing the look of extra fluid retention post liposuction.
This type of massage was originally created for these types of conditions and to essentially massage the fluids out of the lymph nodes so that a person can find relief if they are affected by these conditions.
The conditions that Lymphatic massage is used for:
Lymphatic massage is common for use today with relation to the aforementioned conditions. Roughly 25% of breast cancer patients who get their lymph nodes removed will receive some type of lymphatic massage. Massage can take place throughout the legs or other parts of the body depending on where lymph nodes were removed.
Certain types of surgery for melanoma, colon cancer, bladder cancer or prostate cancer can cause swelling in other areas of the body. This also risks where radiation treatment, infection during treatment or excess trauma can lead to new swelling and pain near areas where lymph nodes have been treated or removed.
Fluid retention can continue long after lymph nodes have been removed and regularly performing lymphatic massage can help to reduce the symptoms of swelling and help a person to find relief if they regularly experience this fluid retention.
Lyphatic drainage is also quite common as a treatment after liposuction. Many physicians recommend the use of this treatment because it can speed recovery in the patient. Scheduling an appointment for Lyphatic drainage after receiving liposuction can ensure that there can be less chance for fluid retention, bruising and more. Around the 4th or 5th day after surgery can be one of the best times to take on this massage for the fastest results in healing.
What to expect during treatment:
Lymphatic massage sessions are designed to be as comfortable as possible. In most cases, a therapist will lightly examine the area and then perform the massage therapy. There are specific directions that involve gentle rubbing, strokes, taps and light pushes across the skin in different directions that will follow the basic structure of the lymphatic system. This can work to drain out the accumulated fluid through channels in the body that have been formed for fluid drainage.
The procedure itself is not designed to be a painful experience as the fluid will be draining out of pre-existing channels. The massage process also doesn't have much of a stimulating effect like some other forms of massage therapy that can be extremely relaxing or calming for the full body. The therapy is mostly focused on the idea of fluid drainage to prevent pain and swelling over time.
It's important to expect roughly 45 to 60 min. for this therapy and depending on the level of swelling the treatment needs to be performed at least 4 to 5 times a week for up to a month at a time. The first week of treatment often result in the largest swelling reduction and the rest of the treatment is mostly designed to stabilize results over time.
In most cases its ideal to receive at least two treatments before a major procedure takes place. If you are planning on a mastectomy or another major procedure it can often influence feeling to have at least one form of treatment beforehand. Scheduling your appointment for treatment can help to make sure that you can properly plan the process of your healing and a reduction in the chances that you could experience fluid retention.
The two main stages of the lymphatic massage:
Lymphatic massage is mostly divided into two stages called clearing and reabsorption. The basic idea of clearing creates a gentle pressure vacuum that can prepare the area for bringing in more fluid and eventually building a flashing effect in the lymph area. Clearing motions can be completed even after a massage therapist has completed the official treatment. Patients can perform their own clearing motion and it comes highly recommended after treatment takes place. This procedure mostly involves opening up the channels and creating that vacuum effect that will be so effective in the second stage of the massage.
The absorption step in the massage involves the fluids leaving during the vaccum stage and being redistributed away from the area of swelling. It usually recommended by lymphatic massage therapists to dedicate around 20 min. to the process of absorption and to provide the clearing effect for at least 10 min. per day. The clearing stage involves using a sweeping motion with pressure along the skin to move some of the fluid through the already opened channels which have been properly primed.
Performing home care between sessions and long after you have received professional sessions in lymphatic massage can work to maintain the effectiveness of results. Dedicating 30 min. of your day to this type of procedure can help to make sure that the fluid can be properly redistributed throughout the body while reducing your chances for further fluid retention.
A professional lymphatic massage therapist can take you through some of the basic procedures that you will need to perform this home care. Combining massage therapy, home care and other procedures can work at helping you to prevent future difficulty with fluid retention.
Cosmetic procedures and lymph drainage:
If you have noticed an extra lumpiness or hardness in areas that are affected by light the section or cool sculpting, it has become very popular to now treat these issues with lymph drainage therapy. Choosing this therapeutic massage option can gently move the fluid back into the lymph vessels and create a much more even skin tone.
Rather than experiencing swelling and discomfort, massage can even out results as well as work to make sure that patients can enjoy the best possible results in conjunction to a procedure like Liposuction or dermal fillers.
Assistance with bruising:
An interesting additional benefit to Lymph drainage is that it can have an overwhelming effect with healing and reducing the accumulation of cellular debris. If you have an area that is prevalent with bruises, the application of this type of massage can work to remove some of the old red blood cells in the tissue and redistribute them throughout the site of the bruise.
What this ultimately does is help with the process of speeding up stealing time by cleansing out some the extracellular spaces where materials have been trapped. If you've been the victim of an accident or an area with severe bruising, it can often be beneficial to choose the option for lymphatic massage because it can help you with the process of healing that bruise quickly.
Treatment at any time:
If it has been over a month or more since you have taken on the lymph massage therapy, you can still receive the same benefits by booking another appointment. Fluid retention can regularly occur where there has been lymphatic damage or a previous procedure that has led to the re-disperse all of fluids throughout an area of your body. Choosing re-admittance to lymphatic massage and undergoing treatment again can help to reduce the swelling and bring the area back to its original condition.
If you happen to still feel lumps, fluid retention or hardness in an area it's very important that you contact your physician and book a fresh appointment for lymphatic massage as soon as possible. Treating the area before it has a chance to swell up with more fluid and cause you discomfort can be wise. This will help you to prevent pain as well as to address an area early on when you will require less sessions of massage to reverse the damage.
Governed like any other massage therapy:
Lymphatic massage practitioners are governed like with any other form of massage therapy. In order to practice this form of therapy a massage therapist needs to complete traditional coursework as well as hands-on instruction in lymphedema therapy. The guidelines and specifications for this training are currently overseen by the lymphology Association of North America which is responsible for administering certification examinations to massage therapy practitioners. The average practitioner can be a physician, occupational therapist nurse or registered massage therapist.
Finding a massage therapist that specializes in lymphatic massage:
By visiting the national lymphedema network you can find a series of practitioners that are currently able to practice this form of massage therapy. Alternately, you could also consider going to your physician and asking for a referral. If your physician knows of your condition and thinks you would be a good candidate for lymphatic massage, they may recommend you to a massage therapist that specializes in lymphatic massage therapy.
Not a form of deep massage:
If you've ever had a deep tissue massage before you could be skeptical on the idea that lymphatic massage could be a painless procedure. Deep tissue massage can actually work in decreasing the swelling as well but other forms of massage would also increase circulation to the site of the lymph nodes which would increase fluid retention.
The procedure with lymphatic massage is designed specifically to be a movement that is different from deep tissue massage. It is patented and designed for evacuating fluid from the lymph nodes. It may feel like extremely light massage but it does remain one of the most efficient ways to reduce bruising and swelling.
The procedure of lymphatic massage has been developed through a complex study of the physiology of the lymphatic system. Although procedures like deep massage and seat were commonly used following up like the section, mastectomies and more, this is now considered to be one of the best and widely accepted forms of lymph drainage therapy. As a premier technique used by hospitals and clinics all over the world, deep tissue massage is now considered a treatment of the past for reducing fluid retention.
Although you may be tempted to try deep tissue massage or Swedish massage for assisting with chronic pain or ongoing swelling, it will actually work as a counterintuitive measure leading to even more swelling at the site and even more pain. Lymphatic massages designed as a helpful treatment for moving the fluids through the proper channels with minimal discomfort.
Are there side effects?
There are a few side effects outlined by the national lymphedema network as well as some situations where it's not recommended to try this form of therapy. These include:
- Do not attempt lymphatic massage if you have experienced a sudden infection. If an infection presents itself during the course of treatment, massage should be halted until the infection completely clears up. Getting treatment with an infection leads to an increased risk of blood clotting. Conditions such as deep venous thrombosis need to be ruled out by a physician before treatment can continue on a regular basis.
- Do not attempt lymphatic massage if you have had congestive heart failure. Moving too much fluid through the body could be dangerous to your health and put excess strain on your heart and this is why this form of therapy is not well recommended.
- Do not attempt lymphatic massage if you experience extreme pain during treatment. Lymphatic massage is supposed to be a procedure that is relatively pain and discomfort free. If you come in with symptoms of pain at the site, there needs to be an underlying cause determined other than extensive swelling. If no underlying cause for the pain can be found, it may need to be diagnosed before you can continue treatment as it could be signs of infection or a deeper issue.
- Do not attempt lymphatic massage if you have experienced a sudden highlighted increase in localized swelling. This can often be signs that there could be a different issue at work. A physician evaluation will need to take place if there is extreme localized swelling or fluid retention and it will be very important to stop the process of treatment as soon as possible.
Treatment options that can complement lymphatic massage:
Many lymphatic massage experts will also recommend that patients perform self-massage following the instructions of their therapist at home. It's also likely that a series of light exercises to encourage the flow of lymphatic fluid can also be included as a home treatment option.
Utilizing compression garments such as tape and stockings can also work to encourage lymphatic flow after the process of therapy. Your doctor or a lymphatic massage therapist may recommend the use of these compression devices to make sure that therapy can be more effective.
Other forms of therapy that can also be beneficial in combination with lymphatic massage include wrapping therapy. Wrapping therapy is something that can be performed by a physician and involves ongoing pneumatic compression through a sleeve or connected pumps that intermittently inflates performing movement of the lymph fluid away from the site of swelling. The wrapping technique including the inflated pressure is considered a decongestant therapy or CDT. This combination of therapies is not commonly recommended for patients that have a history of paralysis, diabetes, blood pressure, blood clots or other acute infections.
Whether you are experiencing ongoing difficulty with fluid retention as a result of a treatment related to cancer, liposuction or another issue, seeking out a professional that can provide lymphatic massage could be a highly beneficial way that you can reduce swelling, fluid retention and more.
This is a specifically designed form of therapy that you could regularly practice to prevent swelling and improve your mobility and healing. Preparing with lymphatic massage before a procedure can also make sure that your body is primed and ready for maximizing the effectiveness of treatment.
Lymphatic massage can also speed the process of recovery after liposuction. In order to reduce your risk for swelling and to redistribute built up fluids evenly, you can use lymphatic massage just a few days after undergoing liposuction.
Be sure to speak to your doctor to see if lymphatic massage therapy could be a great option for you. By providing this form of therapy alongside several other solutions, you can work at discovering the best treatment option for your health.