What does manual lymphatic drainage technique involve?

The lymphatic drainage procedure involves a certain amount of massage using superficial, gentle movements applied on the surface of the skin. The aim of this procedure is to improve the functioning of the lymphatic system. Both medical and aesthetic benefits are obtained through the lymphatic drainage procedure. The manual lymphatic drainage massage is a procedure that aims to improve the lymph flow circulation.

This type of massage can accelerate the lymph flow up to 20 times. Therefore, this helps the system to eliminate toxins more easily. Manual lymphatic drainage can also be a much faster recovery procedure in case of colds or to combat fatigue. This massage can be applied to the upper and lower limbs, as well as to the abdomen.

How manual lymphatic drainage is performed

The therapy involving the manual lymphatic drainage procedure is that massage technique that includes several maneuvers performed strictly on the lymph pathways and in those areas with lymphatic edema. The objective of these maneuvers is precisely to stimulate the intrinsic motility of the lymphatic vessels. At the same time, the aim is to mobilize the edema fluid that has been accumulated through stimulation of the lymphatic vessels.

Each maneuver performed during lymphatic drainage strictly follows the direction of lymph circulation, i.e. from the periphery to the heart. This is why the therapy starts in the supraclavicular area. A session’s duration depends on the severity of the lymphatic edema and the number of extremities that are covered by the edema. Most of the time such a session lasts 45-60 minutes at most.

Intrinsic motility stimulation of the lymphatic vessels following a manual lymphatic drainage session lasts approximately 6 hours. Therefore, this procedure can be performed even twice a day during an intensive treatment for those who are experiencing lymphatic edema.

Characteristics of manual lymphatic drainage massage

Manual lymphatic drainage therapy is completely non-invasive and has no adverse effects on the body. It is a procedure that has beneficial effects based on the pressure that is applied to the body. It is painless and even relaxing procedure. Any discomfort or numbness that may occur is due to the regulation of the pressure applied by the therapist to the body.

Situations in which manual lymphatic drainage is not recommended

Despite the benefits that manual lymphatic drainage can offer to patients, there are situations where this therapy is not recommended. Here are the main situations when this procedure cannot be applied by the therapist:

  • The occurrence of acute bacterial infections in edematous regions
  • The occurrence of acute viral infections, general infections
  • The cases of acute, deep or superficial thrombosis
  • The presence of decompensated heart failure
  • The presence of acute and high intensity cutaneous allergic manifestations
  • The diagnosis of radiogenic ulcers from acute dermatitis, often arising from radiotherapy.