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What is the Lymphatic System? 

Our lymphatic system is a major part of our immune system and has many functions. It’s a trending part of health and wellness – and for good reason! Our lymphatic system is a network of tissues, vessels, and organs that work together to:

  • Protect against infections by releasing lymphocytes (white blood cells) and other immune cells that monitor and destroy foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, parasites etc.

  • Regulate fluid levels by collecting excess fluid that drains from cells throughout your body and returning the fluids back to the blood stream.

  • Alleviate swelling and inflammation

Our lymphatic system is intimately connected to both the circulatory system and the immune system. Manual lymphatic drainage helps support the health and movement of our lymphatic fluid. Our lymph fluid is 90% water and behaves like water, so proper movement is very necessary to keep our fluid from getting stagnant and creating chronic inflammation and other systemic issues.


– Dr. Perry Nickelston, D.C. Lymph doc

How is Lymphatic Massage different from regular massage?

While getting a regular massage can help to support the lymphatic system, it does not specifically target and drain buildup of lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system is very superficial – lymph sits just below the skin. That said, if you work too deep, you can bypass the lymph. A true lymph massage treatment will use a different pattern of movement and lighter pressure than the typical Swedish or deep tissue massage.

Lymphatic massage manually moves stagnant waste in our bodies. Lymph and fascia are very connected. Fascia is a web of connective tissue that holds our organs and our basic shape. When we experience injury or trauma it hinder blood flow – which blocks lymphatic flow. When we experience problems with our lymphatic system it may result in swelling, recurring infections, or fluid build up within the structures of our body.

Other ways to support our Lymphatic system:

  1. Breathwork! Diaphragmatic breathing or breath work is a great way to support the motion of our lymph. Most of our major organs are near our lungs and they’re surrounded by lymph vessels. By supporting our breath we are creating movement in our belly and therefore supporting movement for our lymphatic system.

  2. Exercise! Movement and stretching are essential to keeping our lymph fluid moving. The contraction of your muscles becomes the pump that helps the fluid get around your body.

  3. Minimize toxin exposure! Toxins make it harder for our bodies to filter waste. Use air purifiers at home, limit processed foods, drink clean water.

  4. Stay hydrated! Drinking plenty of healthy water keeps fluids moving and flushes toxins.

How does Lymphatic drainage support the skin:

Lymphatic massage helps to drain fluid buildup, reduces puffiness, enhances circulation and delivers oxygen for quicker cell turnover. When you remove any stagnate lymphatic fluid, you’re allowing the blood to better deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin. Supporting the lymphatic system can also be a great way to manage breakouts!

Please Consult your healthcare provider before receiving a lymphatic treatment if you have any of the following conditions:

-Congestive heart failure
-History of cancer
-History of blood clots
-Kidney infections
-Circulation problems

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