Manual lymphatic drainage means: a type of massage that stimulates, promotes and speeds up the circulation of the lymphatic system.
The fluid retention and cellulite are acumulaçõe ‘s lymphatic fluid. For this type of massage, the pressure on the patient should be light because the lymphatic system is superficial, so the therapy has a pleasant and relaxing effect.
Lymphatic drainage is performed on:
- Members with water retention
- Stretch marks
- People who underwent liposuction
- Patients whose lymph nodes havebeen removed, so the limbs swell, such as post-operative mastectomy
Lymphatic massage should be performed without oils or creams so that the therapist’s hands do not slip on the patient’s skin, however, it is necessary to apply a few drops of oil on dry skin to facilitate sliding of the hands.
There are two different ways to perform lymphatic drainage:
- The Vodder method
- The Leduc method
During warmer seasons: spring and summer, the feet tend to swell and retain more fluids, so treatment is particularly recommended at these times of the year.
How does lymphatic circulation work in the human body?
In our body circulation consists of:
- The arteries that originate and terminate in the tissues of the body, carry blood rich in oxygen and nutrients
- Veins that collect blood full of cellular waste and transport it to the heart.
- Lymphatic system, that is, a complex system of blood vessels, capillaries, lymph nodes and lymphatic organs that serve to carry the fluids contained in the tissues to the heart.
The lymphatic system consists of a network of thin tubes called lymph vessels and oval structures called lymph nodes that are found throughout the body.
This network serves to collect and filter the lymph.
The lymphatic system is parallel to the venous circulation.
A yellow liquid called lymph leaves the blood vessels, mixes with water and the interstitial fluid (ie, between the cells).
This liquid contains nutrient substances, the blood cells of the immune system and the waste expelled from the cells.
The lymphatic system carries the fluid in the lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes that contain the cells of the immune system.
Therefore the lymphatic system does not have a system to push the fluid, the movement of the muscles of the body pushes the liquid to the heart.
When the fluid reaches the lymph nodes the lymph is filtered and pathogens are killed.
Other organisms that work with the lymphatic system are:
- The spleen that receives the dead or damaged red blood cells and contains the white blood cells used to fight diseases
- The thymus that produces white blood cells
- Tonsils and adenoids that protect the digestive system and in particular the respiratory system
The pressure that creates the heart gives a boost to the bloodstream, but the lymphatic system does not have an internal pressure.
The only way to drain lymph fluids is to increase the pressure caused by muscle contraction.
If excess fluid is too bulky, it forms lymphedema : swelling or lymphatic fluid accumulation.
The lymphatic system forms a parallel flow that venous because it originates from the body tissues and pours into the thoracic veins, before entering the heart.
Lymph mainly consists of water, proteins, viruses, bacteria and dead cells.
Along the path of lymphatic circulation there are many small organs called lymph nodes that produce antibodies and serve to filter out residual substances, viruses and bacteria.
If the level of the lymph nodes is decreased, the lymph accumulates in the spaces between the cells and lymphedema forms.
How is manual lymphatic drainage performed?
The Vodder lymphatic drainage technique consists of “pumping” the lymphatic fluid towards the heart, it should be smooth and parallel to the lymphatic circulation, so do not press into the body.
The first part of the therapy is called lymph node opening because it should release any blockage and obstacle at this level.
Then you continue to push the blood to the heart with maneuvers similar to a “bomb”. The drainage begins from the parts closest to the trunk and ends at the farthest.
The lymphatic drainage should not be painful and should not be too strong because it would cause a vasodilation, meaning a strong blood flow in the treated area would then worsen the situation.
This treatment is performed by specialized people who know where to act and who developed a manual character that does not cause harm to the patient.
At the end of the session, we can apply a compressive dressing or kinesio taping(neuromuscular) on the treated parts .
What techniques are used?
To perform a lymphatic massage, it is necessary to learn to use the techniques perfectly, we can achieve this objective by participating in some courses.
The techniques used in lymphatic massage treat pathologies that cause lymphatic edema, that is, the lymphatic gland obstruction of the arms and legs. Lymphatic massage is an effective way to detoxify the body (free of waste).
Lymphatic massage techniques are performed with delicate pressures towards the lymph flow to empty blocked lymphatic vessels.
The physiotherapist performs lymphatic drainage techniques with a kind of circular motion on the individual’s skin.
Lymphatic massage techniques are done with bare skin, it is not necessary to apply essential oils, aromas or massage creams. Treatment is most effective, using your own hands.
During the manual lymphatic drainage session, the therapist chooses one of these very effective massage techniques to promote drainage.
Fixed circles , the therapist performs a circular spiral movement continuously holding the finger firmly against the skin, but moving the underlying tissue (lymphatic vessels).
This technique is performed on the neck, face and lymph glands.
Lymphatic drainage should be light and done toward the heart.
Pumping technique, in this technique the therapist rests both hands on the patient’s skin, pushing the liquid towards the heart with the thumb, index finger and part of the hand between the two fingers.
This lymphatic massage technique covers the walls of lymphatic vessels and facilitates fluid drainage.
Turning technique , in this case, the therapist massaging the skin with cyclic movements, keeping the palms of the hand face down on the individual’s body. The pulses are used to impose and reduce the pressure of the pulse.
Technique of the spoon , the massager uses the palm of the hand upwards while the fingers are completely extended, so the hands are in the shape of a spoon.
The rotational movements of the lymphatic massage are applied on the individual’s skin to promote cellular waste elimination.
How many sessions should I do? How long does it last?
To get a good effect in the medium term, it is necessary to cycle 10 sessions for about 45 minutes.
What are the contraindications of lymphatic drainage?
Manual lymphatic drainage is contraindicated in the following cases:
- Infection ;