What is lymphatic drainage and how does it work?

Lymphatic drainage is the natural function of the lymphatic system:

a network of tubes throughout the body that drains fluid (called lymph) from tissues and empties it back into the bloodstream – and an essential part of immunity. If this function is not working properly, it can cause serious health problems.

Two or three weeks after a surgery, the patient will accumulate liquids that harden forming a fibrosis.  Many patients will notice this as a hardness or lumpiness under the skin in the areas surgical work was performed. Surgeons often recommend lymphatic drainage massage to release the inflamed, hard tissues,  increase the lymph flow and improve circulation throughout the body.

What are the benefits of lymphatic massage?

 Lymphatic drainage massage helps to:

  • Reduce pain, swelling and inflammation
  • Improve healing and prevent subcutaneous fibrosis
  • Prevent capsular contracture in breast augmentation
  • Accelerate the disappearance of bruising
  • Assist healthy scar formation
  • Decrease patient’s recovery  time
  • Improve body shape and contour

Does lymphatic massage hurt?

The lymphatic system runs very close to the surface of the skin so lymphatic drainage is gentle, painless and relaxing. Our therapists use a  combination of several types of feathery movements that are soothing yet effective. The lymphatic system also supports the immune system,  so it acts directly on the central nervous system by releasing endorphins, substances that generate deep relaxation and pain relief.

When is the best time to start lymphatic massage?

To provide your body what it needs to recover completely and as quickly as possible, it is suggested that lymphatic drainage massage therapy start as soon as it is approved by your doctor. This is usually within 24 hours to 5 days after surgery, dependent on your procedure.  2-10 sessions of one hour to one and a half hours is usually recommended.

Is lymphatic drainage before surgery helpful?

Fatigue, stress, infections, medications, alcohol consumption, smoking, lack of physical activity, and age all play a role in the health of your lymphatic system.  Having one to two treatments before surgery will help reduce the potential sources of inflammation,  swelling and infection experienced after surgery.