If you’re familiar with the list of treatments that we offer here at Phoenix Health and Wellbeing you will have seen the term Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage on the list.
This therapy is incredibly relaxing and super beneficial to your overall health – especially when you need to detox or have been experiencing physical or emotional stress. Here’s why!
What is lymph?
The first part that may be helpful to break down is the ‘lymphatic’ part. What exactly is lymph? Lymph is a clear fluid. If you have ever had a cut or abrasion, you may have noticed a clear fluid coming out of the wound before the blood. This is lymph.
This clear fluid performs a vital role in our bodies. It is basically a huge nurturing, cleaning and decontamination system. This list shows a few of the functions of lymph but this wonder fluid does so much more:
- absorbs fats and fat-soluble vitamins from the digestive system and delivers these nutrients to your body’s cells
- removes excess fluid, and waste products from the interstitial spaces between cells
- picks up toxins and carries them to the liver and spleen for processing – this plays a major part in stress management
- is packed with infection fighting cells that seek out virus and bacterial threats and destroy them. It then transports the ‘threats’ for excretion from the body.
So how does it work?
This wonder fluid moves around lymph vessels just like blood does around blood vessels (although there are twice as many lymph vessels as there are blood vessels!). The major difference is that where blood has the heart to pump it round the body, the lymph system has no pump. It relies on our day-to-day movement to get around – the muscle contraction and relaxation makes the lymph move. This is sometimes why if you sit for a long time your ankles swell!
This is where the drainage part comes in
Lymphatic drainage is a specific type of massage. It is done by therapists who have qualified in this specialism (Find qualified therapists by visiting www.fht.org.uk or www.ctha.co.uk). It uses different techniques to other forms of massage: small circular movements encourage the lymph vessels to open while long, gentle strokes encourage the flow of the lymph towards lymph nodes and onwards to be cleansed and processed.
So why is lymphatic drainage massage good for stress management?
When we are stressed our body’s stress response kicks in. Hormones are produced which promote certain reactions in our body’s systems and processes. These hormones can be quite toxic. They are designed to be burnt off by physical exercise. A lot of the time, however when we are stressed we are sitting at a desk or in a chair not running or fighting for our lives as our body’s intended.
The lymph system moves these unused chemical messengers through it’s system of vessels and nodes. Eventually the toxins are passed to the organs of excretion for onward processing!
Further benefits of lymphatic drainage massage:
- boosts your immune system by helping the lymphatic system to move dead imposter cells quickly through your system
- by moving the lymphatic fluid you are not only speeding up the removal of toxins and waste but also speeding up the delivery of vital nutrients to you body’s cells
- can aid weight loss, especially where this is related to fluid retention
- may reduce water retention, by getting the fluid flowing around your body that may have gotten trapped, easing things like swollen feet or hands.
- can improve skin texture and clear out pores.
- will drain the excess fluid that can cause pain and discomfort to people suffering with lymphoedema.
Self-help! What you can do
The lymph system can be aided by our own everyday activities, such as keeping active, and drinking plenty of water to help the system flush out any nasties. But if you’re ever in need of a boost, a gentle lymphatic drainage massage may just be the thing you need.
If you’d like more information on lymphatic drainage massage take a look at our website or call us on 0113 234 0818 to chat more.
If you have private health insurance, you may be able to claim for some or all of the cost of your lymphatic drainage massage. Check your policy.
Phoenix Health & Wellbeing is a Charity. By coming to us for a treatment you are helping us to continue to support people in West Yorkshire who have chronic health issues and low incomes. We use the proceeds of your treatment to subsidise those who would not otherwise be able to access our therapies. Roughly £4 to every £10 spent with us will go to help others. Click here for more information
Monday to Thursday from 10:00 to 20:00
Friday and Saturday from 10:00 to 16:00