What is a lymphatic massage—and how can this type of therapy help you? This type of massage treatment helps to relieve swelling caused by lymphedema. If you have this type of medical issue, take a look at what you need to know about the causes of lymphedema and how lymphatic massage therapy can ease some of your symptoms.
What Is Lymphedema?
All swelling is not the same. Lymphedema is a type of swelling caused by damage to the lymph nodes or reduced lymphatic system functioning. Without the ability to drain lymphatic fluid (a clear fluid that carries protein-rich disease-fighting cells), this liquid can accumulate in the body. Lymphedema typically affects the arms and legs—but this condition can also impact the neck, abdomen, or chest. Cancer, some types of cancer treatments, removal of the lymph nodes, and some genetic conditions may cause lymphedema.
Why Should You Treat Lymphedema?
Lymphedema isn't always a primary disease on its own. Instead, it's often a secondary condition that can cause other health-related issues. Left untreated, swelling due to missing, clogged, or damaged lymph nodes can cause severe pain or result in skin infections, sepsis (an infection of the bloodstream), lymph fluid leakage, or skin thickening and hardening.
Not only can the treatment of lymphedema reduce the risks of skin or systemic infections, but it can also relieve discomfort. Retained lymph fluid can put pressure on your skin, stretching it to an uncomfortable level. If you have a recent lymphedema diagnosis, your medical provider may recommend a combination of therapies to alleviate the pressure. This could include exercises, compression bandages/garments, and lymphatic massage.
What Happens During A Lymphatic Massage Service?
Unlike other types of massage therapy, this service targets lymphatic fluid retention and the areas that this condition can cause to swell. Instead of stress relief, relaxation, or reduction in muscle pain, a lymph massage helps to drain the fluid buildup. As the massage therapist releases fluid from the tissue in your body, they will move it toward the lymph nodes. This increases reabsorption and can help to reduce swelling.
Which Type of Practitioner Should Provide This Massage Service?
A lymphatic massage therapy service is a specialized treatment. This means the massage therapist must have extensive knowledge, training, and experience in this type of technique. Each state has its own licensure requirements for massage therapists. Some areas may require a license and a specialized certification. To learn more about your state's requirements, contact the board of massage therapy or a similar state-level government agency.
For more info about lymphatic massages, contact a local clinic.