The lymphatic drainage is a pleasant decongestive therapy in which the flow of lymph in the body is stimulated by gentle grips, pressure and relaxation techniques. Since manual lymphatic drainage is not a classic massage, it should only be done under the guidance of trained experts. Used professionally, lymphatic drainage can do a lot. For example, lymph drainage has long been used on the face in the field of dermatological cosmetics, where it is used for example against acne or scars. Manual lymphatic drainage has also been recognized in medicine for years and is used, for example, for the treatment of lymphoedema.
The principle of lymphatic drainage
As early as the 16th century, doctors and scientists speculated: In addition to the blood circulation, there must be a second vascular network that supplies and cleanses the body's cells. They were right. The lymphatic fluid flows through the human body on branched lymphatics, transporting nutrients and fats to the cells, and at the same time taking with them viruses, germs, cell wastes and pollutants.
In order to cleanse the lymph of its dangerous cargo, filter stations are repeatedly activated on the lymph channels, the so-called lymph nodes. These are about the size of small kidney beans and are usually grape-like near veins, around the armpits, elbows, knees, loins, chest and neck. In the lymph nodes sit white blood cells and germicidal cells that cleanse the blood. In case of illness, the white blood cells multiply, causing the lymph nodes to swell.
Lymphatic drainage: lymph and lymph nodes
The lymph does not have its own pump, but is coupled to the pressure of the blood system. Therefore, it sometimes takes a while for the pollutants to be transported away in the blood. With manual lymphatic drainage this process can be accelerated. It is stimulated from outside with stroking, circular movements of the flow of the lymph.
This principle of lymphatic drainage discovered in the 1930s, the Danish physiotherapist Emil Vodder. He had noticed that patients with chronic colds often had enlarged lymph nodes. When he began to gently massage the lymph nodes (lymphatic drainage) in some patients, they soon became healthy. Today, lymphatic drainage is a treatment technique used both in the medical and cosmetic fields.
Application of manual therapy
Long before the lymphatic drainage was used in the medical field, it was a common treatment method in dermatological cosmetics. There, lymphatic drainage is used primarily on the face, for the treatment of acne and scars or for the pre- and post-treatment of surgeries.
Especially with surgical interventions in the chest, scarring can be reduced by previous lymph drainage. The deep incision during surgery can destroy fine lymphatics and lymph nodes. As a result, the tissue water can no longer be removed, accumulates and swells and thus presses on the fresh seam. This not only slows wound healing, but can also result in ugly scars and adhesions.
In addition, the lymph node massage in lymphatic drainage generally strengthens the immune system, reduces stress and prevents allergies and water retention.