Edema is a condition where there is accumulation of fluid in the tissues resulting in swelling. Edema usually affects the dependent parts of the body such as extremities. The causes of edema are various medical conditions and massage therapy may not benefit in systemic causes of edema. However, massage therapy can be beneficial in local causes of edema. Massage should always be started after the patient has consulted with his/her health care provider. Patient should always get massage done by an experienced and qualified massage therapist, because if massage is done by an amateur or if done incorrectly, it can cause more harm than good.
Lymphatic Massage Therapy for Edema
Lymphatic Massage involves a light touch massage therapy which helps in enhancing the functioning of the lymphatic system. It is also known as Lymphatic Drainage Massage or Manual Lymphatic Massage. If there is a problem in the functioning of the lymphatic system, then it leads to swelling, headaches, cramps, fluid retention, fatigue, lethargy, joint pain, and repeated cold and flu infections.
The lymphatic massage technique involves stimulating the lymphatic drainage system. This helps in encouraging the drainage of accumulated fluids and helps in restoring the normal function of the lymphatic drainage system. Lymphatic massage technique involves gentle touch with the massage strokes directed towards the heart (direction of the lymphatic flow). Preferably one finger should be used to perform these massage strokes. The massage strokes should be short and in one direction beginning with the affected limb lying closest to the trunk.
Leg and Foot Massage for Edema
- Using a single finger, start the massage using gentle and light strokes on the affected leg nearest to the trunk of the body.
- Make sure the massage strokes are in upward direction.
- Slowly move downwards along the limb using similar strokes. These massage strokes help in encouraging the fluid drainage through the pathway. The reason for beginning from the trunk is to remove any obstructions that could be blocking the normal flow of lymphatic fluid towards the heart and preventing lymphatic tissue damage.
- This massage should be done in the proper manner by a qualified massage therapist. Each massage session could last for over 30 minutes.
Benefits of Lymphatic Massage
- Lymphatic massage therapy should be done by trained and professional massage therapists only.
- Only light pressure with circular rhythmic movements should be used in order to stimulate the lymphatic system in improving its function.
- Lymphatic massage, when done properly, helps in removing the blockages present in the lymphatic system.
- Lymphatic massage helps in increasing the lymph flow in the body which in turn helps in removal of waste and toxins from the body and enhances metabolism and makes the immune system stronger.
- Patient feels very rejuvenated, energetic and relaxed after a lymphatic massage. Patient may also feel thirsty and must drink lots of water.
Benefits of Lymphatic Massage in the Following Conditions:
Lymphatic Massage For Stress/Strain
Lymph massage helps in reducing stress and re-energizing you if you’re feeling tired and lethargic or if you have been ill. It helps in relaxing the nervous system, decreasing anxiety, depression and improving sleep.
Lymphatic Massage Reduces Swelling
Lymphatic Massage is beneficial in reducing pain and inflammation due to sinusitis, allergies, injuries or surgeries. Patients suffering from lymphedema and fibromyalgia feel a marked improvement after lymphatic massage.
Lymphatic Massage For Skin Care
As the lymphatic massage increases the lymph flow which leads to flow of fresh fluids to the cells, this results in a fresh looking skin. Lymphatic massage also helps in reducing the puffiness, appearance of wrinkles and varicose veins. It is also beneficial in post-op treatments for reduction of any swelling or bruises due to cosmetic surgeries.
Lymphatic Massage Helps Athletes/Sports Persons
Lymphatic massage helps the athletes in toning their body. It also benefits in recovering from a sports injury by enhancing tissue regeneration. It provides fast relief, as it eliminates proteins and waste products from the injured area and reduces the swelling.
Lymphatic Massage For Breast Cancer
Lymphatic massage is beneficial in decreasing the pain and swelling which a patient suffers while undergoing treatment for breast cancer. Increase in the lymph flow helps in increasing the function of healthy breast tissue.