What is lymphatique drainage ?
Lymphatic drainage is a gentle massage technique designed to stimulate the flow of lymph and detoxify the body while strengthening the immune system. In manual lymphatic drainage, the therapist moves her fingers and palms across your body in the same direction as the lymphatic circulation, gradually increasing then decreasing pressure.
Danish physiologist Thomas Bartholin was the first to discover lymph in 1654. This colourless liquid, whose job it is to feed and clean cells, represents a remarkable 15% of our body weight. When the flow of lymph in the lymphatic vessels is obstructed, there is a toxic effect: the body weakens and health problems arise.
Lymphatic fluid, which is propelled through the body by contractions of the muscles and blood vessels, drains unwanted toxins and cellular debris. The lymph nodes, particularly those found in the groin, armpits and sides of the neck, work to purify the lymph before redirecting it into the bloodstream.
Unlike the circulatory system, which has a heart, the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump. It is slower to eliminate toxins, which can cause swelling.
What are the 2 main lymphatic drainage techniques ?
There are two main techniques: the Vodder method and the Leduc.
- Dr. Emil Vodder’s technique dates back to 1932 when he developed it as a way to treat chronic sinusitis. He then used it on other conditions, as a therapeutic and aesthetic treatment.
- The Dr. Albert Leduc technique is based on Vodder’s work, but involves some slightly different maneuvers. Moreover, this approach uses pressure therapy devices for medical lymphatic drainage (MDL): the patient puts on long boots, which are connected to an air compressor, exerting pressure simultaneously at various locations.
When is lymphatic drainage appropriate ?
- Circulatory problems
- Stretch marks
- Heavy feeling in your legs
- Swollen ankles
- Reduced circulation
- Premature aging
- Desire to lose weight (keep reading to learn why)
- Glandular trouble
- Insect bite, food allergy, fungus
- Following an operation or a shock to the body
Does it work ?
Some people with circulatory problems, swelling or heaviness see results quickly, sometimes even immediately after treatment.
They feel lighter, sleep better and have more energy. Cellulite will not disappear in just one treatment, but we will feel a difference. The therapist may recommend exercises to do at home.
It’s important to start by discussing our needs with our massage therapist, and sometimes, as during pregnancy, to seek the advice of a physician before receiving treatment. There are times, though, where lymphatic drainage alone is not enough, and we will need to meet with other therapists for the best results.