Lymphatic Massage

Boosts Tissue Regeneration

Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Understanding Manual Lymphatic Massage

Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a light form of massage modality.

Lymphatic DistributionImmune system is the cleansing system of the body. Our lymph system houses our immune system. When lymph system gets congested, wastes and fluids accumulate in the tissues that hinder normal physiological processes. When body needs help in removing the toxic buildup of cellular waste, Manual lymph drainage comes to the rescue.

Emil Vodder, a massage practitioner, and his wife, Estrid Vodder, a massage practitioner and naturopath studied lymph system from 1932 to 1936 and developed a system of hand movements to stimulate lymph vessels.

There is the Vodder method of lymphatic drainage and Bruno Chikly method of Lymphatic drainage:

Bruno Chikly is a physician and osteopath from Europe. He is the author of Silent Waves, the first comprehensive book in North America on lymphatic system and lymphedema and produced the first lymphatic dissection DVD in North America. Bruno Chikly states,” Lymph techniques are generally thought about when you are dealing with conditions like swelling, chronic inflammation, chronic pain and muscle spasms. Lymphatic techniques are also particularly effective when applying them to detoxification, esthetics, immune-system disorders and maladies associated with aging”.

Lymphatic drainage massage

These lymphatic techniques activate fluid circulation- lymph and interstitial fluids- and help drain tissue of toxins. Lymph drainage therapy stimulates the immune system, which helps the body relax and regenerate.

The technique of lymph- drainage therapy utilizes very light, rhythmic, relaxing strokes. It is a very soothing technique, and clients of all ages appreciate receiving it.
Manual lymphatic drainage massage is not limited to treating lymphedema, it can be used to treat sluggish lymph systems, scars, sinusitis, post-cosmetic surgery, whiplash, fibromyalgia.

Stimulating the lymph vessels to move the lymph allows toxins, debris and cellular by- products to move on, decongesting the tissue and giving the cells an environment to flourish.

The Vodder Method offers sequences that focus on specific areas of the body, such as face, arms, neck/shoulders, chest, abdomen, legs, buttocks, back and nape of the neck. These sequences are based on stimulating the lymph system with attention to the drainage direction of the lymph reservoirs.

In combination with other therapies, such as exercise, compression (Occupational therapists can suggest appropriate compression) and diet, manual lymph drainage is most commonly used to treat condition called lymphedema, or accumulated lymphatic fluid in interstitial tissue. Usually the patient is under physician care when receiving lymphatic massage. When someone goes through Mastectomy, it severs the lymph drainage pathways which can lead to lymphedema.

How can manual lymph drainage massage help an individual?

Manual lymphatic drainage massage is a skin technique that utilizes very light pressure, (close to the weight of a quarter), allowing careful stretching and twisting hand movements to move fluids collected under skin and to stimulate peristaltic action of lymph vessels.

Who can benefit from Manual Lymphatic Drainage massage?
  • Manual Lymphatic drainage is beneficial to individuals’ post- plastic surgery and orthopedic surgery. This massage increases the recovery rate and decreases the scar formation.
  • For the individuals with whiplash/ auto accidents, if they receive Manual lymph drainage on the day of injury decreases the inflammation and therefore decreases the pain of whiplash and increases their rate of recovery.
  • Manual Lymph drainage can be applied to acute sports related sprains and strains.

An increasing number of individuals are seeking cosmetic procedures like breast augmentation, rhinoplasty, liposuction, eyelid lifts and tummy tucks, and plastic surgeons are looking for ways to enhance the experience. That is where this comes in.

  • Manual lymphatic massage after the plastic surgery offers benefits like reducing the swelling, tightness in the surgical area, increasing circulation, diminishing bruising and improving the scar healing significantly.

“Plastic surgeons are coming on board with including / recommending post- surgical massage to their patients to aid in their recovery”, says Phyllis Hanlon.

A plastic surgeon for 15 years suggests,” A 30 minute lymphatic drainage massage will tighten the skin, reduce swelling and healing time, decreases bruising and increases elasticity”. Doctors recommend their patients to begin massage therapy approximately 10 days after the procedure for at least once a week for six weeks. For an individual who has undergone liposuction with significant leg swelling can be painful. When that person receives lymphatic massage, he/she experiences complete drainage of toxins after the massage and feels wonderful.

Some patients are confused and do not understand why they need a massage and afraid of receiving massage after the surgery with the thinking that it might hurt. But if explained to the patient how the lymphatic massage with light touch (and not heavy touch) can reduce the swelling (edema), bruising, lymphatic congestion, lowers blood pressure, anxiety and relaxes them, they will be more open to it.


Dr. Vodder method by Catherine DiCecca and Phillip Pollot 

Dr. Bruno Chikly method of Lymphatic Drainage Massage.