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What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

March 11, 2010

Lymphatic drainage massage (LDM) is a gentle rhythmic style of massage that mimics the action of the lymphatic system to stimulate the immune system and treat and reduce edema/lymphedema. LDM uses precise rhythm and pressure to stimulate lymph vessel contraction. In LDM, the therapist gently moves the client’s skin in different directions in order to stretch the microfilaments just below the skin that control the openings to the initial lymphatics, allowing interstitial fluid to enter the lymphatic system. Fluids are then propelled forward through the lymph vessels away from the tissues where fluid has pooled. LDM is very light, gentle and strictly placed. It does not use long strokes, heavy pressure, rapid movements or cause pain and discomfort.  

LDM can be used to treat simple edema or more serious diseases such as lymphedema. Edema may be temporary and can be caused by many factors such as too much salt in the diet, a sedentary lifestyle or minor injuries. Lymphedema is much more serious and can be caused by congenital deformations or due to secondary factors such as infection, irradiation or surgery. Knowing the cause of edema and lymphedema is extremely important before treating any client with LDM. A solid understanding of the lymphatic system is also required before performing LDM on clients.  

When moving lymph and fluid, certain principles are more meaningful than the hand movements which are performed. The following are imperative principles in LDM:

If you are interested in learning more about LDM, please visit our 12 CE hour Lymphatic Drainage Massage course page by clicking here.

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