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Massage Aha!

Professional therapeutic massage therapy in Kansas City, MO by Aaron Harris, BCTMB

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What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

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A lymphatic drainage massage is a highly specialized style with a primary goal of moving lymph fluid through the body.

The Lymphatic System

Simplified Lymphatic System Diagram (via WikiPedia)
Simplified Lymphatic System Diagram (via WikiPedia)

The lymphatic system is a vitally important piece of your body’s immune system. Fluid containing proteins, anti-bodies, waste products, and other material circulates throughout the body where impurities are filtered by the lymph nodes. These nodes are located throughout your body, but are especially concentrated in your armpits, groin, and abdomen.

There are a few lymph nodes that you are able to feel on yourself, especially when you have been sick. There are two on the underside of your jaw that will often swell when you have a cold or sore throat. You may also be able to feel the axillary nodes in your armpits (these are an important landmark when doing self-breast exams).

The lymph fluid can sometimes collect in your lower legs and feet or forearms and hands, causing swelling known as “lymphedema”. This is a common problem with patients undergoing chemotherapy or diabetics. This condition can also occur with prolonged periods of inactivity, such as a long flight or car ride.

Various stages of lower extremity lymphedema.
Various stages of lower extremity lymphedema.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LD)

Using a series of compression and light strokes, I will follow a strict routine of flushing lymph fluid from the extremities toward major lymph nodes and towards the abdomen where the fluid is filtered by several internal organs for waste removal.

A lymphatic drainage massage always ends with a slow and precise abdominal manipulation of muscles and other soft tissues, as well as the underlying organs.

Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

There are many benefits to receiving an in-home lymphatic drainage massage.

  • Detoxification
    • Manually moving lymph fluid through the lymph nodes speeds up the filtering and detoxifying effects.
  • Aesthetics
    • LD reduces visible swelling.
  • Pain relief
    • Lymphedema can be quite painful, especially in the lower legs, making walking and standing unbearable.
  • Resolving digestive problems
    • The manipulation of the abdomen and underlying organs can help with intestinal motility and relieve gas pain.
  • Post-Surgical relief
    • A lymphatic drainage massage can help flush anesthetics from you system.
    • LD can also help reduce swelling and the associated pain from affected areas.
  • Stress relief
    • The body produces many hormones and chemicals in response to physical and emotional stress. An LD massage can hasten their exit from your tissues.

I have many years of experience in treating patients with lymphedema with lymphatic drainage massage. Often this type of massage is performed in hospitals, hospices, skilled nursing facilities, as well as in client’s homes or hotels following extended travel.

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