Manual lymphatic drainage is a gentle massage which encourages the circulation of the lymph throughout the body. This massage technique was developed by a Danish massage therapist in the 1930s, Dr. Emil Vodder.
The lymphatic system is a network that carries a type of fluid called lymph. Lymphoid tissue can be found in many organs, especially in lymph nodes and lymphoid follicles such as tonsils. The system is dedicated to the production of lymphocytes. Compounds that are dissolved in the blood would first enter the interstitial to form the interstitial fluid, and then to the body cells. When this fluid enters the lymphatic system, it is called the lymph. Physiologically, the circulation of lymph along the lymph ducts is controlled by the peristalsis of the duct and the movement of skeletal muscles, which push/squeeze the lymph along its vessels.
Manual Manual lymphatic drainage- The lymphatic had 3 functions.
- To remove the interstitial fluid from tissues.
- To absorb and transport fatty acids from the interstitial tissues to the circulatory system.
- To transport antigen presenting cells to the lymph nodes so that an immune response will be stimulated.
Thus, by massaging and promoting lymphatic circulation, one could remove harmful substances from the tissues and increase immunity. Studies show that lymphatic massage is useful in treating edema, sports injury and strengthening the immunity. Congestion’s of lymph vessels could cause aches, soreness, pains and flu. By performing the massage, such symptoms could be relieved.
One could promote lymphatic circulation by doing stationary circles massage on the neck. The neck region contains approximately 30% of lymph nodes in our body. A neck massage can be done by raising your elbows to 90 degrees, use the middle part of you fingers to gently circle the skin down, and release slowly to let you skin move your fingers upward. This movement can be repeated few times and the similar way of massaging can be done at the top of your shoulders.
The jaw could also be massaged by placing your hand on both side of your chin and make stationary circles toward your years. Stationary circles can be done on the flatter areas of your zygomatic bone and on both side of your nose. Similar movement could be use just above the cheekbones to reduce puffiness and discoloration under the eyes.
Manual lymphatic drainage – Massage
Massage of the lower extremities can start with making stationary circles on the groin area towards the body. Bend the knee, by placing one hand in front and one hand on the back of the leg, use the hand to stretch the skin gently and ease the skin up towards the body. The hand at the back of the leg could push the skin upward lightly in a scooping motion.
The massage of the spine is done by placing your thumbs on the spine, and gently move the skin, first forward and then out with the palms. Release and let the skin bring the hands back to its starting position. The motion can be repeated to enhance the effects.
Today, manual lymphatic drainage is used to manage lymph edema.
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