Body and Mind: Improve your wellbeing with Lymphatic Drainage Massage

lymphatic drainage massage

Detoxing diets are all the rage, but the best way to detox your body is to ensure your lymphatic system functions optimally to remove unwanted toxins. You may benefit from a lymphatic drainage massage from an RMT if you notice:

  • Abnormal swelling in legs, arms, and fingers
  • Brain fog
  • Allergies or sinus infections
  • Bloating
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Digestive problems
  • Swollen lymph nodes 
  • Dry or itchy skin for no apparent other reason

A lymphatic drainage massage can help improve your physical and mental well-being. Keep reading to learn more about this treatment, how to prepare for your appointment, what to expect during your massage, and how to promote healing after your appointment. 

What is a lymphatic drainage massage?

It helps improve the flow of lymph fluids throughout your body. Occasionally, bodily fluids (lymph) are retained or left behind when your cardiovascular system sends blood to your tissues and organs. A properly functioning lymphatic system is supposed to collect this excess fluid, return it to your heart, and flush any picked-up toxins out of your body.


In short, your lymphatic system flows through your body, picking up and disposing of waste and toxins. Without a well-functioning lymphatic system, your body may retain  fluids and toxins in your arms and legs, causing you pain and discomfort. 


During a lymphatic drainage massage, your massage therapist will use specific techniques to unblock lymph passages and guide the movement of lymph to your lymph nodes, effectively reducing swelling.


In a lymphatic drainage massage, your masseuse will massage to clear any blocked or stored lymphatic fluid in your tissues. This is usually performed in the lymph areas under the collarbone, under your arms, and inside your elbows. Then, they will help it reabsorb by moving it to the lymph nodes. 

How lymphatic drainage helps

If you’re experiencing painful swelling in your arms and legs (due to lymphedema), this type of massage can help. 

Lymphatic drainage massage is thought to help those suffering from:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency
  • Lipedema
  • Breast cancer surgery
  • Infection or trauma to the lymphatic system
  • Blood flow conditions
  • Migraines 

It can also help relieve cold symptoms, congestion, and allergies.


Lymphatic drainage massage can also support emotional well-being. When performed on your neck and abdomen, it puts you in a peaceful, more restful state, which calms your mind. One study found that this massage helps change your emotional state by reducing your mental stimulation (beta waves) and increasing serotonin (the feel-good hormone). 


Oceana Massage Founder Susan Polano treated Susan A with Lympathic Drainage massage. Here’s what Susan (our client) had to say: 


I went to see Susan while I was cleansing for a lymphatic drainage massage. It really helped complement the detox process I was doing. She focussed on all the major lymph clusters and was very knowledgeable about the process. She also provided a lot of great follow-up tips to further enhance the cleanse I was doing.”


Learn more about it at WebMD.

What to expect before

Before you arrive at your appointment, ensure you’re well-hydrated. Experts suggest drinking 15.5 cups (men) or 11.5 cups (women) of water daily. Other studies suggest drinking half your body weight in ounces(for example, if you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75 oz of water daily). 


Upon arriving at your appointment, your massage therapist will help stimulate the lymphatic system before your massage by leading you through a calming lymphatic breathing exercise. This deep, rhythmic breathing acts like a pump to help get fluids moving. This breathing includes taking slow, deep breaths as you feel the air moving towards your abdomen, then slowly exhaling through the mouth. 


You may also be able to help prevent or lessen lymphatic swelling at home by:

  • Drinking your daily recommended amount of water
  • Being physically active
  • Eating healthy fruits and vegetables
  • Avoiding processed foods 
  • Stretching (ask your RMT about recommended stretches to help pump lymphatic fluid more efficiently)

What to expect during

Your lymphatic massage can be performed alone or as part of a longer-registered massage therapy session. Before you book, always ask your therapist about their training in this type of massage.


During the lymphatic portion of your massage, you can expect:

  • Only gentle pressure (your RMT will not press hard enough to feel the muscles). 
  • Their hands may be more relaxed than a deep tissue massage.
  • They won’t directly massage any areas of swelling, infection, or that have been treated for cancer
  • They won’t use any lotions or oils (only their hands)
  • You shouldn’t experience any pain or skin reddening after the massage

Your therapist will perform a balanced lymphatic massage on both sides of your body, even if only one side has swelling. 


Many patients benefit from batches of four to ten treatments spaced 7-10 days between. Your RMT will recommend a treatment plan for your unique needs. 

What to expect after

After your massage, you may feel physically and mentally at ease and calm, especially if your lymphatic massage was combined with another calming body massage. 


Depending on the location and severity of your swelling, you can usually expect to feel physical relief shortly after your session. It can also help boost your immune system, which allows you to fight off infections and colds better and heal faster from injuries. 


That evening, you may notice improved sleep quality due to decreased stress and pain, which the massage has lessened for you. You may also notice increased cognitive function due to the better flow of fluids and oxygen in your circulatory system.


To help achieve faster results and toxin flushing, drink 2-4 glasses of water right after your massage. 

Where to find a lymphatic drainage massage RMT in Vancouver

Many practitioners at Oceana Massage can include lymphatic drainage massage during your RMT appointments. It can be included in any existing treatment or as part of your full body and wellness massage appointment. 


View available lymphatic drainage massage RMTs and book your next massage online today.