Lymphatic drainage massage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage, relieves swelling that happens when medical treatment or illness blocks your lymphatic system. Lymphatic drainage massage involves gently manipulating specific areas of your body to help lymph move to an area with working lymph vessels. Lymphatic drainage massage, also known as manual lymphatic drainage, is a gentle form of massage used to relieve painful swelling in your arms and legs caused by lymphedema. Lymphedema often affects people recovering from breast cancer surgery. Lymphedema happens when your tissues retain fluid left behind after your cardiovascular system sends blood to your tissues and organs. The remaining fluid is called lymph. Normally, your lymphatic system collects your lymph and returns it to your heart via a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes. When something disrupts your lymphatic system’s process, lymph collects in your arms and legs, making them swell. A massage therapist uses lymphatic drainage massage techniques to move lymph from your tissues to your lymph nodes, which eases the swelling in your tissues. A lymphatic drainage massage is a two-step process.
Step one: Clearing. This step releases lymphatic fluid in your tissues.
Step two: Reabsorption: This step moves your lymphatic fluid to your lymph nodes.
Generally speaking, lymphatic drainage massage is a safe treatment to relieve lymphedema. There are some conditions and circumstances where lymphatic drainage massage is not recommended: heart condition, kidney failure, blood clots and infection. Few people have negative reactions to lymphatic drainage massage. Some people, however, complain of headaches, nausea and fatigue. When that happens, you should ask your healthcare provider about managing your side effects.
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