Source: Precision MD
The lymph system is the body’s natural cleansing mechanism, ridding our cells of toxic fluids. Without a functional lymphatic system, the body swells and aches, and we feel sluggish and even sick. Lymphatic drainage massage can help the lymphatic system flush these fluids, and jump start the cleansing process when the body has built up too much swelling.
What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?
Lymphatic drainage massage, also called manual lymph drainage or lymphatic drainage, was originally developed in Germany. It was intended to treat lymphedema, swelling caused by accumulated fluid that happens after the surgical removal of lymph nodes, which happens most frequently during mastectomy surgeries. Primary lymphedema can also occur although its cause is unknown; when it does, it typically happens throughout life and can affect many parts of the body. Various other conditions cause lymphedema as a secondary symptom, so a range of patients are looking for solutions to this kind of swelling and the pain it causes.
Manual lymphatic drainage or MLD massage was developed in the 1930’s by Emil and Estrid Vodder and is widely prescribed by physicians in Europe and in the United States and Canada.
- Removes metabolic waste, excess water, toxins, bacteria, large protein molecules and foreign substances from the tissues.
- MLD, through its gentle rhythmical precise hand movements, alleviates pain by greatly reducing the pain signals sent to the brain.
- MLD relaxes the sympathetic nervous system, thus helping to relieve stress.
- MLD supports and enhances the action of the immune system.
- MLD helps the body to heal more quickly from surgical trauma.
- MLD helps to minimize scar formation.
Why is Lymphatic Drainage Massage Important?
A working lymphatic system is essential to the body’s ability to regenerate tissues, drain fluids, filter out foreign substances and toxins, detoxify, and maintain a healthy immune system. The lymphatic system is complex, and made up mostly of nodes and lymph vessels working together to achieve these aims. The lymph itself carries fatty acids, hormone cells, immune cells, proteins, and toxins to be processed by the lymph nodes. When the body is under stress, fatigued, experiencing infections, fighting a disease process, or—in certain cases—recovering from surgery, the process may be slowed down.
Lymphatic drainage massage benefits include enhanced quality of skin, particularly on the face. Skin looks more youthful and alive when its cells are bathed in fluid, as when the lymph is flowing. That puffiness you might experience beneath your eyes after a hard night or a long cry? It’s lymphatic drainage that solves these kinds of problems. For all of these reasons, lymphatic drainage massage can be very important for those who need it.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage after Cosmetic Surgery
Cosmetic surgeries all produce swelling to some extent, because it is part of the body’s normal healing process. Some cosmetic surgeries, such as liposuction procedures and tummy tucks, disrupt the natural pathways taken by the lymphatic system because of the location of the surgery. Other regions of the body, such as the nose after a rhinoplasty, produce swelling that can last for a long time—even up to one year. Other cosmetic procedures that impact the face can also produce months of swelling. However, because of the extensive areas of disruption, tummy tucks and liposuction procedures are usually the cosmetic surgeries with the greatest amount of lymphatic swelling.
When the lymph drifts out into surrounding tissue after a surgical procedure disrupts the normal lymphatic pathways, swelling is the result, but there are ways to combat this problem.
Post Surgery Garments to assist Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Compression garments help the entire process. They prevent the buildup of too much toxin-carrying fluids in any one area of the body, and help the body keep excess fluids from sticking around where they don’t belong. They also make lymphatic drainage massage more effective, keeping the body more receptive and ready for the process. It’s easy to find the right kinds of compression garments for after your procedure, and your cosmetic surgeon will be able to recommend the right garments for you.
If you have questions about lymphatic drainage massage after cosmetic surgery or what to expect after a cosmetic procedure you’re considering, the best thing you can do is have a conversation with your surgeon. Clearly, lymphatic drainage massage is helpful in the prevention of excessive swelling and pain which will make your overall healing from cosmetic surgery much faster and more comfortable.