Lymphatic Drainage Massage: Read This Before Your Next Appointment

What is a lymphatic drainage massage? 

Lymphatic drainage massage, also known as Manual lymphatic drainage massage, is an ancient practice that has been used for thousands of years by many cultures around the world. It is one of the most effective ways to help your body release toxins and waste products from your tissues, muscles, and organs. When it comes to the lymph system, we are talking about something much more than just a "drain". The lymph system is a network of vessels and glands throughout our entire bodies that remove toxic substances from cells and return them to the bloodstream. This process helps maintain homeostasis in our bodies. When this system becomes overloaded or clogged with toxicity, it can lead to disease [1].

Everything you need to know about lymphatic drainage massage

Composition Of Lymphatic System

Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage works on all levels of the lymphatic system: the lymph nodes, the lymph capillaries, and the lymph ducts. By stimulating these areas through gentle pressure, vibration, heat, and other modalities, we can help flush out the toxins that have accumulated there and allow the lymphatic system to function properly. The lymphatic system is made up of:

Lymph Nodes

This is where immune cells reside and fight infection. They also contain special receptors that detect foreign invaders such as bacteria and viruses. These lymph nodes are found throughout the body, including the neck, groin, armpit, and underarm area. In event that they become infected, they send signals to the rest of the lymphatic system to alert other lymph nodes to take action.

Lymph Capillaries

These tiny vessels connect lymph nodes to the bloodstream. They carry lymph fluid back to the heart and lungs so that it can be filtered and returned to the blood. Your body uses the lymph capillary system to transport nutrients, hormones, antibodies, and white blood cells throughout the body. Something you should know about the lymph capillaries is that they do not drain into the veins. Instead, they empty directly into the lymph node closest to their origin.

Lymph Ducts

These tubes run along the sides of the internal organs and connect the lymph nodes to the lymph capillaries. They help move lymph fluid away from the area where it was produced and toward the nearest lymph node. Most people don't realize that the lymph ducts are connected to the lymph nodes. When you stimulate the lymph nodes, you are also helping to clear the lymph ducts.

How Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Work?

During a your massage, A therapist will use his hands, fingers, elbows, knees, feet, and even a vibrator to gently press and manipulate the different parts of the lymphatic system. Through this stimulation, he may use any number of techniques to help promote proper flow and circulation within the lymphatic system. Some common methods include:

Massaging The Lymph Nodes

This involves using the fingertips to apply light pressure to the lymph nodes. Over time, this stimulates the lymph nodes to produce more lymphatic fluid. In this method, the therapist may also apply firm pressure to certain points on the body to encourage the lymph nodes to contract. This increases the amount of lymphatic fluid being released.

Stimulating The Lymph Capillaries

Using the tips of the fingers, elbows, or knee caps, therapists can gently tap the lymph capillaries to increase the movement of lymph fluid. This helps remove waste products from the tissues and return them to the lymph nodes for filtering. When stimulating the lymph capillaries in this way, the therapist may also place one hand over another to create a vacuum effect. The result is an increased rate of lymphatic fluid production.

Stimulating Lymph Ducts

By applying pressure to the lymph ducts with the elbow, knee, or foot, the therapist can encourage the lymph fluid to travel down the tube. Once again, this helps remove waste products from tissue and return them to the nearby lymph node for filtering. In some cases, the therapist may use a vibrator to stimulate the lymph ducts by placing it against the skin. By doing this, he can encourage the lymph fluid traveling through the lymph ducts to release faster.

Massaging The Muscles

The lymphatic system plays a critical role in maintaining muscle tone. When we exercise our muscles, toxins build up in the tissues. These toxins must leave the body if we want to maintain good health. The lymphatic system transports these toxins out of the tissues and returns them to the lymph nodes. If you have tight muscles, you may benefit from this massage. A lymphatic drainage massage works best when done immediately after exercising your muscles. It's important to remember that this massage doesn't replace regular exercise. Instead, it complements it [2].

Massaging the muscles

Different Types of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

There are various types of lymphatic drainage massage available. Some of the most popular methods include:

Deep Tissue Massage

Deep tissue lymphatic drainage massage uses only the palms of the hands to apply gentle pressure to the affected areas. Using long strokes, the therapist presses into the muscles to help move toxins and fluids away from the area. Deep tissue massage is often used before bedtime because it encourages relaxation. If you're looking for a deep tissue massage, ask your therapist what type of technique he prefers. He should be able to give you a recommendation based on your needs.


Leduc is a French technique that was developed in the 1960s. In this method, the therapist applies firm pressure to specific points on the body. This causes the lymph nodes to contract and release their contents. As a result, the lymphatic fluid moves more quickly. This technique has been proven effective at relieving pain caused by arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other conditions. In any case, the therapist will use his thumbs to press firmly into the affected area while moving his hands back and forth.

Swedish Massage

Swedish massage involves using both hands to apply firm but not painful pressure to the skin. While pressing into the skin, the therapist moves his hands across the surface of the body. Swedish massage is commonly used to relieve stress and tension. This is one of the most common forms of massage therapy. The therapist usually begins with light pressure to relax the muscles. Over time, he increases the intensity until he reaches the desired level of comfort.

Sports massage

When it comes to lymphatic drainage massage, sports massage is an excellent choice. Sports massage is designed to improve athletic performance. It's also useful for treating injuries. In addition to being beneficial for athletes, sports massage can help reduce swelling and soreness following injury. To perform a sports massage, the therapist typically starts with light pressure. Then, he gradually increases the amount of pressure as needed.

Hot stone massage

The hot stone massage is very relaxing. It's similar to Swedish massage, except that instead of applying pressure with the hands, the therapist uses heated stones or bricks. The heat helps loosen muscle tension. Heated stones are placed directly onto the skin. They can be moved around to different parts of the body. The therapist then kneads the skin with his fingers.

Myofascial trigger point therapy

Trigger points are small knots that form when muscles become tense. Trigger points cause stiffness and pain. Myofascial trigger point therapies aim to unclench the muscles and break up these knots. The therapist may use his hands, elbows, knees, feet, or even his head to work on the problem spot. He'll also use a variety of techniques to stimulate the nerves and encourage them to send messages to the brain.


There are several benefits associated with lymphatic drainage massage. These include:

It Relieves Chronic Pain

When it comes to chronic pain, a lymphatic drainage massage is a great option. Chronic pain occurs when there's something wrong with the nervous system. It can affect any part of the body. Chronic pain can be difficult to treat. However, this massage can help ease the symptoms. It works by encouraging lymphatics to function properly. This reduces inflammation and improves circulation. It also stimulates the immune system. In some cases, the therapist might recommend additional treatments such as acupuncture, chiropractic care, or physical therapy.

Improves Sleep Quality

If you have trouble sleeping, you're probably familiar with the feeling of having a knot in your neck. That's because the muscles in your neck tighten during the day. When they do, they often keep you awake at night. You might try taking a warm bath before bedtime. Or, you could ask your doctor if you should take medication. However, you might find that a massage helps you get more restful sleep. Lymphatic drainage massage encourages the flow of fluids through the lymphatic system. This helps remove toxins from the tissues. As a result, it promotes better blood circulation. It also improves the health of the lymph nodes. This prevents infections and other conditions.

Reduces Cellulite And Lymphedema

Cellulite is caused by fluid buildup under the skin. Fluid collects in pockets called adipose tissue. Fat cells are normally filled with water. But, when people gain weight, their fat cells swell. This causes the cells to push against each other. Over time, this leads to dimpling and bulging of the skin. Cellulite isn't just a cosmetic issue. It can lead to discomfort and poor self-image. Fortunately, lymphatic drainage massage has been shown to reduce cellulite. During treatment, the therapist will apply pressure to specific areas of the body. He'll use massage strokes to move the fluids out of the affected area. The goal is to improve blood flow to the affected area. As a result, the swelling goes down and the dimples disappear.

Increases Energy Levels

People who feel tired all the time tend to have low energy levels. If you're one of those people, you might benefit from a lymphatic drainage massage. It can boost your energy level by improving your mood. In addition, it can increase the amount of oxygen flowing through your bloodstream. This allows your heart to pump more efficiently. As a result, you may experience less fatigue.

Decreases Stress Levels

Stress affects everyone differently. Some people cope well with stressful situations. Others struggle to deal with them. Stress can cause anxiety and depression. Fortunately, massage relieves stress. The therapist applies pressure to certain points on the body. This encourages the release of endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that make us happy. They also relax our bodies. These effects can help relieve tension and promote relaxation.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage get you better digestion

Digestive problems can lead to bloating, gas, constipation, diarrhea, indigestion, and stomach cramps. These issues can interfere with daily activities. They can also lead to emotional distress. Poor digestion can leave you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable. Fortunately, lymphatic massage can improve digestive problems. During lymphatic drainage treatment, the massage therapist will stimulate the lymphatic system. This encourages the removal of waste products from the body. As a result, the digestive tract operates more smoothly.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage Improves immunity

Your immune system protects you from illness. However, it can be weakened by stress or unhealthy habits. Lymphatic drainage can strengthen your immune system. Studies show that it reduces the risk of colds and flu. Your immune system benefits from improved circulation. And, as we've already mentioned, lymphatic drainage increases blood flow throughout the body. Studies also suggest that lymphatic massage boosts the production of antibodies. Antibodies protect your body from disease.

Reduced pain

Pain is an unpleasant sensation. Unfortunately, many people suffer from chronic pain. Chronic pain can affect your lifestyle. It can limit your ability to work and enjoy life. Fortunately, lymphatic therapy can ease the pain. Studies show that it helps reduce muscle soreness after exercise. It's also effective for treating arthritis. These results occur because the massage stimulates the lymphatic system. This encourages the removal of toxins and wastes from the tissues. As a result, inflammation decreases. Pain relief occurs naturally.

Improved sleep quality

Poor sleep can lead to irritability, drowsiness, headaches, and fatigue. When you don't get enough rest, you won't function at your best. You could even become depressed. Fortunately, lymphatic drainages can improve your sleep. Research shows that they can reduce insomnia and aid in falling asleep. You'll also wake up feeling refreshed.

Increased flexibility

Flexibility improves your performance at work and play. People with poor flexibility often complain of backaches, neck pains, and shoulder aches. Poor flexibility can also lead to injuries. Fortunately, lymphatic massage can enhance your range of motion. Studies show that it can increase the elasticity of muscles. This makes joints and ligaments move more easily. As a result, you can perform better physically.

Improved mood

Mood disorders such as depression and anxiety can have serious consequences. Fortunately, lymphatic drainage can alleviate these conditions. Research suggests that it can boost energy levels and improve concentration. It can also lower stress levels. As a result, you may feel happier and less anxious. When you're happy, you tend to make healthier choices. That means you'll eat well and stay active.

Improved skin health

Healthy skin looks good. Unfortunately, some people are plagued by acne, wrinkles, and other signs of aging. Unfortunately, these issues can cause discomfort. Fortunately, lymphatic therapy can help. Studies show that it promotes healthy cell turnover. This encourages the renewal of cells. As a result, your complexion appears younger and smoother. For instance, one study found that lymphatic massage reduced the appearance of fine lines on the face.

When You Should Get Lymph Drainage Massage

There are several reasons why you might want to get a lymph drainage massage. First, if you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, you might benefit from this treatment:


Feeling tired all the time isn't normal. If you're constantly exhausted, you probably aren't getting enough sleep. This can lead to low energy levels. Fortunately, lymphatic drainages will give you a much-needed boost. They can improve your energy and stamina. If you've been working long hours or playing sports, you may be suffering from overuse syndrome. This condition causes pain and stiffness in your body. Lymphatic massage can relieve this problem. Fatigue is something that everyone experiences. However, when you experience it frequently, it can negatively impact your daily routine. Fortunately, lymphatic massages can help.


A headache is an unpleasant sensation that occurs in the head. It's usually accompanied by nausea, dizziness, and lightheadedness. Unfortunately, these symptoms can be caused by many things. One common culprit is dehydration. Another is sinus pressure. Thankfully, lymphatic massage can ease both problems. The benefits of lymphatic massage go beyond just relieving headaches. Studies suggest that it can treat migraines. In most cases, lymphatic massage helps reduce migraine frequency. In addition, it can prevent them altogether.

Joint Pain

Joints are made up of cartilage. Cartilage protects bones and allows them to move smoothly. Unfortunately, sometimes joint damage happens. When this happens, it can leave you feeling stiff and sore. Fortunately, lymphatic massage can help. Research shows that it can improve mobility. As a result, it can reduce joint pain. You may not realize how important mobility is until you lose it. For example, studies show that mobility decreases with age. As a result, older adults often suffer from arthritis. Luckily, lymphatic massage can reverse this trend.

Skin Problems

Your skin plays a major role in your overall health. Unfortunately, it can become damaged due to poor diet, sun exposure, genetics, or even environmental factors. Luckily, lymphatic massage can repair damaged tissue. As a result, skin problems like eczema and psoriasis can be relieved. Your skin also plays a role in maintaining proper circulation. Poor circulation can lead to conditions such as varicose veins and spider veins. Thankfully, lymphatic massage can improve circulation. It does so by increasing blood flow to your extremities. As a result, you'll feel more comfortable throughout your day.

Sinus Pressure

Sinus pressure is when fluid collects inside your nose. This can make you feel congested and stuffy. Unfortunately, there's no cure for sinus pressure. However, you can use lymphatic massage to alleviate the discomfort. Studies have shown that lymphatic massage reduces congestion and improves breathing. As a result, it can decrease sinus pressure. Something worth mentioning is that some people who get sinus pressure don't have allergies. Instead, they have chronic bronchitis. This means that their airways are inflamed. However, lymphatic massage can still benefit them. It can relieve inflammation and coughing.

Sleep Disorders

Getting adequate rest is essential to good health. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to do. For example, if you work long hours, you may find yourself sleeping less than usual. You may even wake up feeling groggy. Thankfully, a drainage massage can help. Research suggests that it can promote better sleep. As a result, your quality of life will increase. This type of massage has been used for centuries. Ancient Chinese physicians believed that it could treat insomnia. Today, we understand why. Lymphatic massage stimulates the lymph nodes. As a result, they release chemicals called cytokines. These chemicals cause your body to relax. As a result, you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

Fluid Retention And Lymphedema

Sometimes, your body holds on to water. This can happen because of certain medications. Fortunately, lymphatic massage can eliminate this problem. Studies suggest that it can remove excess fluids from your tissues. As a result, fluid retention can be reduced. In addition, it can help prevent edema. Edema occurs when your body retains too much fluid. As a result, swelling can occur. Thankfully, lymphatic massage can reduce edema.


Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is an unpleasant condition that affects many women during menstruation. Unfortunately, it's hard to avoid. Fortunately, lymphatic drainage massage helps. Studies suggest that it can reduce PMS symptoms. As a result, your mood will improve. Research shows that it can reduce depression. As a result, stress levels will decrease. For some time now, lymphatic massage has been used to treat PMS. It's especially helpful for those with severe cases.


You probably already know that acne is caused by bacteria. Luckily, lymphatic massage can fight bacterial infections. Studies show that it can clear acne without causing any side effects. As a result, pimples won't appear anymore. If you're looking for another way to treat acne, consider using a facial scrub. Facial scrubs contain natural ingredients that exfoliate skin cells. They also help clean pores.

How To Perform Lymphatic Massage On The Legs 

Lymphatic massages are performed to open up the lymphatic vessels. The main point of opening these vessels is to just move the excess fluid back to the lymph nodes in the groin. There are different tricks and techniques to perform this massage but the end goal for all the methods is the same. Now when you have to perform this lymphatic massage on the legs, this is what you have to do; 

  • In order to allow the fluid to drain up, you should always first start the massage from the upper body. Before moving towards the legs, you have to make sure that the fluid supraclavicular area, inner-elbow area and the axillary area is all cleared. 
  • While performing the massage you shouldn’t go too hard on your body. For example, if you can actually feel the muscles under your skin then that means that you are just pressing too hard and you have to slow down a bit. 
  • Start the massage a little further from the injured area. For example, if your ankle is swollen, start from the upper part first. 
  • While performing the massage, make sure that your one hand is on the top of the leg and the other one is on the back side of the leg. 
  • Start the massage a little further from the injured area. For example, if your ankle is swollen, start from the upper part first. 
  • While performing the massage, make sure that your one hand is on the top of the leg and the other one is on the back side of the leg. 
  • Next, start putting gentle pressure on the area and move it all towards the upper part-your hip. 
  • Now repeat this motion and make sure to reach the knee
  • When you reach the knee, you then have to stretch your skin and move towards your armpit. 
  • Repeat the same motion for at least 10 to 15 times. 

Reabsorption Guide 

After the massage comes the reabsorption stage. Here’s what you have to do here; Start right at the injured part of the body and make sure that you are farthest from the core of the body.

For example, if you are suffering from lymphedema anywhere in your shoulder, arm or wrist then start from your fingertips, lymphatic drainage lymphedema is what you are looking for. All you have to do is to shift the surface of the skin using light gentle pressure in a sweeping motion. Like when you are starting with the fingertips, move towards your hand and then hand to elbow and then to the shoulder.

As per the professionals, you should at least take out 20 minutes out of your day to perform the lymphatic massage because it really is an effective drainage method. Now for the legs, you have to use a pumping motion instead of a sweeping motion.

For this you have to put both the hands behind your knee. Use a rolling motion to pump the backside of your leg and then proceed towards the lower portion of your leg. You just have to prepare your knee to take up all the fluid from the lower part of your leg. To massage the lower legs, this is what you need to do; 

  • Place one hand on the shin and the other behind your leg. 
  • Now use an upward motion to stretch your skin and once you’ve stretched it, you then have to release it. 
  • Now move towards your ankle area.
  • With an upward stroking motion continue down to the ankle and feet. 
  • Now push the fluid upwards towards your toes. 

How To Measure The Effectiveness Of The Lymphatic Massage?

One of the most important questions people often ask is how to know if the lymphatic massage is actually working for them? Professionals claim that if you practice on a regular basis, your lymphedema won’t get any worse. Moreover, it’s important to consume as much water as possible because it helps with the entire drainage situation. 

In order to prevent the fluid from building up, you should also try

  • Wearing a compression sleeve 
  • Head to a professional therapist for the massage 

The thing about lymphedema is that it’s a little tricky to handle. For example, for some people deep tissue massage can make the condition worse so it’s recommended that you consult a qualified professional for it first and then get the massage accordingly. 

How much does lymphatic drainage massage cost?

The average price for one hour of therapy in the US is around $100. However, if you want your massage session to go on longer than this then it will cost more as an extra half-hour could easily bring up a total expense over 150 dollars - making sure that all money spent counts!

What is Brazilian Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Brazilian Lymphatic Massage (BLM) is a gentle, non-invasive form of massage that has been used for centuries to stimulate the lymphatic system. It is a beautiful way to cleanse and detoxify your body; lymphatic massage Brazilian helps boost the immune system, improve circulation and stimulate the nervous system.Pioneered by therapist William Fitzgerald, Brazilian drainage massage Brazilian has been developed over three decades into an effective complementary therapy used to gently massage and drain congested lymph nodes from your body's interior. Brazilian lymphatic drainage massage Brazilians use a technique that concentrates on Brazilian bikinis' skin and lymph nodes. The Brazilian bikinis are highly stimulating for your body and can leave you feeling invigorated and full of life by stimulating the flow of your lymph fluid.

Before And After

Here we collected some lymphatic drainage massage before and after photos. We also collected some other face lymphatic drainage massage before and after photos as well.


In conclusion, From the above information, it should be obvious that lymphatic massage can provide numerous benefits. It can help you sleep more soundly. It can also help you combat various conditions such as sinus pressure. Finally, it can treat acne. So it should come as no surprise that lymphatic massage can boost your overall well-being.


  • “Manual lymphatic drainage for breast cancer-related lymphoedema”— Y Shao , D-S Zhong  — PMID: 27167238, DOI: 10.1111/ecc.12517
  • “Effects of a physical therapy program combined with manual lymphatic drainage on shoulder function, quality of life, lymphedema incidence, and pain in breast cancer patients with axillary web syndrome following axillary dissection”— Youngki Cho , Junghwa Do , Sunyoung Jung , Ohyun Kwon , Jae Yong Jeon  — PMID: 26542271, DOI: 10.1007/s00520-015-3005-1
  • “The Effectiveness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage in Patients With Orthopedic Injuries”— Tricia Majewski-Schrage, Kelli Snyder  — PMID: 26458244 DOI: 10.1123/jsr.2014-0222