What to Expect in a Lymphatic Drainage Treatment

What to Expect in a Lymphatic Drainage Treatment

Good question!  When you come in for an initial treatment, after the intake questionnaire and interview, I explain a bit about how the lymphatic system works, what happens during the treatment, and how the treatment affects the lymphatic system.  Then, I leave the room while you remove most of your clothes and settle yourself under the covers on the massage table.  (A treatment can also be given fully or partially clothed, if preferred.)

The treatment itself is calming and deeply relaxing to receive. The technique involves a very gentle, subtle pressure of the practitioner’s fingers and hands. The skin, and the lymph vessels in the skin, are gently moved in the direction of the set of nodes to which that area drains. Then the hands are lifted off the skin to allow the lymph vessels to fill up again.  This is done in sync with the very slow rhythm of the lymphatic system, which is significantly slower than the faster rhythm of the circulatory system.

Normally, the main nodal areas of the body are addressed during a treatment: cervical, axial (underarms), abdominal, groin and the nodes of the legs. The lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and the lymphatic fluid, or lymph. Every part of the body is “drained”, or served, by the lymphatic system. The interstitial fluid which bathes the cells enters the lymphatic capillaries,  the smallest, microscopic vessels of the lymphatic system, and begins the journey through the system. At that point, the fluid is referred to as “lymph”.

Eventually, the lymph reaches a set of nodes, where the sorting and filtering process begins.  Antigens are detected and attacked by the various kinds of white blood cells  which reside and multiply there. After leaving the nodes, the fluid rejoins the circulatory system via main veins near the heart, and the kidneys and liver filter out the waste and it is excreted from the body. Thus, the lymphatic system serves the functions of activating the immune system and cleaning the tissues of the body, to safeguard your health.

After a treatment, it is recommended to relax for the rest of the day and to eat lightly, to allow the lymphatic system to continue concentrating on processing the extra “lymph load” generated by the treatment.