Lymphatic drainage massage was developed by Dr Emil Vodder and his with Estrid in the 1930’s. They worked as masseurs in Cannes in France and many of their clients were English people who had chronic colds and come to the South of France to escape the damp in England which was considered to be aggravating their condition. Dr Vodder noticed that many of them had swollen Lymph glands in their neck and although the treatment of the lymphatic system was not recoomended at the time due to lack of knowledge about it, Dr Vodder decided to develop a system for treating it.
Lymphatic drainage massage is gentle and it uses specific techniques to move fluid around the body more effectively. “It is not like a regular massage, which has a deep pressure that massages the muscles. The massage has a very light pressure because the lymphatic system is close to the surface of the skin. There’s a specific sequence to lymphatic massage. In general, the massage is performed proximal to distal (starting in the central part of the body, then moving towards the extremities). “You would first start by massaging the regional lymph nodes—the lymph nodes that drain a specific area—to ’empty’ the nodes to get them ready to take on more fluid. “It’s like ’emptying’ a glass before you fill it again. You would then start massaging the area that drains towards those lymph nodes that are ready to take on more fluid. It is a very slow procedure and one area on the body can take up to an hour depending on the needs of the client.
Lymphatic drainage massage is now becoming more widely practiced as it has many benefits for generally healthy people, some of the benefits are
- it improves and stimulates the lymphatic circulation
- it encourages the distribution of leucocytes through the body
- it drains toxins and excess fluid from the tissues of the body
- it can aid oedema
- it boosts the immune system
- it can improve skin condition and skin tone
- it is deeply relaxing, stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system
- it is good for stress related conditions
- it can speed healing of injuries and reduce scar tissue
- using lymphatic drainage massage can improve and maintain health.