What is a lymphatic drainage and when is it useful?
Lymphatic drainage is a massage technique that stimulates the circulation of lymph, a fluid that helps remove toxins and waste from the body.
Initially, lymphatic drainage was primarily practiced by physiotherapists, typically using gentle techniques, for individuals suffering from poor blood circulation and heavy legs. Nowadays, it is widely used in beauty treatments, employing manual techniques or wooden tools (such as madrotherapy). In this detailed explanation, we'll explore why it can be beneficial and how to perform it safely.
The Lymphatic System
Our body has two major vascular systems that work simultaneously:
- The circulatory system, a closed circuit traveled by blood, propelled by the heart's beats, which transports nutrients, oxygen, and water to cells throughout the body.
- The lymphatic system, an open circuit traveled by lymph, which is set in motion by our body movements, breathing, exercise, and other factors. Lymph flows through lymphatic vessels, circulating to lymph nodes.
Lymph collects certain waste materials, bacteria, and damaged cells from within the body tissues, allowing them to be eliminated or destroyed.
Its role involves decongesting specific areas of the body where fluid accumulates, supporting the immune system, circulating hormones, and transporting bacteria and cellular debris to the lymph nodes.
Lymph drains excess fluid and waste from our cells (75% of cellular waste is eliminated through lymph). It transports dietary fats and fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. It protects the body against microbes and foreign substances.
It plays a significant role in the body's immunity. It carries immune cells, such as lymphocytes and macrophages, that help fight infections.
When lymph circulation is impaired, it can lead to increased under-eye bags (where fluid accumulates), facial irritations, blemishes, and, in more severe cases, swelling in the limbs.
There are various massage techniques to boost lymph circulation, which can be performed either self-administered or by a trained professional.
However, these techniques are not suitable for everyone, so it is essential to consult your doctor to ensure you don't have any contraindications.
The contraindications for lymphatic drainage are similar to those for most techniques: fever, infection, wounds, or skin issues (eczema, psoriasis), and a history of cardiac or renal disorders, blood circulation problems (thrombosis, recent phlebitis), etc.