The healing touch of lymphatic massage

February 22, 2021 Providence Women's Health Team

The healing touch of lymphatic massage

Key takeaways: 

  • Your lymphatic system protects your body from infection, cancer and illness. 

  • Lymphatic massage can help reduce the swelling and pain caused by lymphatic blockages. 

  • Lifestyle changes like a balanced diet and regular exercise can help improve your lymphatic health. 

[3 MIN READ]  

Gentle massage could be the key to reducing the swelling, pain and heaviness caused by lymphatic obstructionotherwise known as lymphedema. 

Your lymphatic system protects your body from infection, cancer and illness. In a very real sense, its’s your body’s drainage system. It’s made up of a network of lymph nodes and blood vessels that transport fluidthroughout your body, help remove excess and keep you balanced.  

What is lymphatic obstruction? 

Lymphatic obstruction occurs when a blockage in your lymph vessels clogs your lymph passages and prevents your lymph fluid from draining like it should. The condition causes a number of symptoms including swelling, heaviness in your affected limb(s), restricted range of motion, pain and recurring infections. 

Lymphedema frequently occurs as a result of a mastectomy in which underarm lymph tissue is removedInfection, injury, radiation therapy or cellulitis can also lead to lymphatic obstruction. Some forms of lymphedema may be present at birth, but they are rare and happen very infrequently.  

Swelling from lymphatic obstruction ranges from a barely noticeable increase in size to extreme fluid retention that makes the limb difficult, if not impossible, to use. If you experience sudden or recurring swelling, contact your doctor for diagnosis and treatment. 

The benefits of lymphatic massage 

One of the best ways to break up accumulated fluid and reduce swelling is a lymphatic massage using gentle pressure. When paired with other strategies such as compression or lifestyle changes, massage can help reduce swelling and ease discomfort. 

Lymphatic drainage massage has traditionally been used to treat lymphedema that happens after a medical condition or surgery. However, in recent years it has become a popular treatment to address a number of health concerns, including skin care, weight loss and detoxification of your lymphatic system.  

You can receive lymphatic massage from a trained, certified professional or perform basic drainage techniques yourself. It may not be appropriate if you have a heart condition, liver or kidney disorder or a current infection. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new healthcare routine or practice. 

Here’s how it works. 

Has #LymphaticMassage made a difference in your health and overall quality of life? Share your experience with readers who share your #lymphedema struggle @providence. 


Find a doctor 

Through Providence Express Care Virtual, you can access a full range of healthcare services. If you need to find a doctor, you can use our provider directory or search for one in your area. 



Related resources 

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions. 

About the Author

The Providence Women's Health team is committed to providing useful and actionable insights, tips and advice to ensure women of all types can live their healthiest lives.

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