Lifelong exposure to environmental pollutants contributes to the accumulation of toxins in the human body, including harmful microorganisms, microscopic particles like asbestos and harmful chemicals. Your body has its own natural method of detoxifying by means of the lymphatic system, but considering the amount of pollutants modern humans are exposed to, the lymphatic system can use some help.
The lymphatic system is your main line of defense against disease. Lymph begins with plasma that is excreted from blood capillaries, carrying nutrients to your tissues and washing your cells to pick up metabolic waste and toxins. This now-contaminated fluid is absorbed into microscopic lymph vessels and carried toward lymph nodes to be purified.After purification, lymph is carried through progressively larger lymph vessels until it is returned to blood circulation through large veins in your neck. In a sense, the lymphatic system is the sewer system of the body, removing waste and purifying tissue fluids through lymph nodes.
Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage
- Lymph drainage massage stimulates the reproduction and circulation of white blood cells and removes toxins from tissues, to be destroyed in lymph nodes.
- It reduces swelling which would manifest as puffy eyelids or in swollen joints.
- The number of white blood cells and natural killer cells increases with regular massage.
- It also reduces stress, beneficial because chronic stress inhibits the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.
How Lymphatic Drainage Massage is done:
- Lymphatic Massage or Lymph drainage massage is a gentle style of bodywork that mimics the movement of lymph vessels.
- Peripheral lymph vessels contract at a rate of six to 10 contractions per minute, so massage movements are repeated at the same slow rate.
- There is a rich bed of lymph capillaries immediately below the skin, so it isn't necessary to use deeper pressure to affect them.
- Lymph massage therapists use a light touch, less than nine ounces per square inch. Lymph drains toward lymph nodes in the neck, armpits and groin, before traveling to the largest lymph vessels and back into the cardiovascular system.
- Your therapist will massage your lymph nodes first, and then will massage lymph toward the lymph nodes, before massaging your trunk and extremities.
How to a Simple Lymphatic Massage yourself:
- Gently place your fingers, relaxed, on either side of your neck right under your ears
- Gently move the skin in a downward motion towards the back of your neck
- Repeat 10 times by gradually positioning your fingers lower and further down from your ear.
- Place fingers at the top of your shoulders on either side of the neck
- Gently massage by bringing the skin closer to the collarbone
- Repeat 5 times