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Manual lymphatic drainage massage to support breast cancer recovery

Manual lymphatic drainage massage to support breast cancer recovery

Manual lymphatic drainage is a specialised form of gentle, rhythmic massage that promotes the flow of lymph through the body.

The lymphatic system flows through the body transporting white blood cells as part of the body's immune system. It helps regulate inflammation, our immune response and supports the detoxification of toxins from the body.  Some health conditions can disturb the normal lymphatic flow, causing a build-up of fluid in the body, this swelling, known as lymphoedema, is often uncomfortable or even painful.  

Manual lymphatic drainage massage can help reduce the swelling by improving circulation of lymph therefore relieving the pain and discomfort.  This is a highly specialised area of massage and qualified practitioners undertake extensive training.  

In an oncology setting manual lymphatic drainage massage has been shown to be a safe and effective tool for managing cancer treatment related lymphoedema. Lymphoedema can commonly occur after surgery, particularly when lymph nodes have been removed, or after radiation treatment. Lymphoedema can be painful and increases the risk of infection.

How does manual lymphatic massage work?

Manual Lymphatic massage is a very gentle massage.  Your therapist will uses light, rhythmic strokes to open the lymph nodes, promote circulation of the lymphatic system and remove any blockages. It is not painful, in fact it is very relaxing. 

The lymphatic system is located just under the skin so to stimulate it’s flow, your massage therapist will very gently move and stimulate the skin. This is to not compress the lymph vessels, but to maximise the flow and drainage.  It feels very different to a remedial massage, and has a different clinical purpose.

What to expect during a manual lymphatic massage for cancer.

There is a very specific technique behind this type of massage for patients in breast cancer recover.

First, the practitioner will warm up your body and circulation in general. They will then focus on the particular area that they want the lymph to drain into. This may be the abdomen or chest area. Then the therapist will very gently and methodically stimulate the skin around the area of swelling in order to stimulate circulation and drainage. It should not hurt, and you should be able to notice results straight away. 

Each treatment lasts between 30 minutes and 90 minutes.  You therapist will discuss the best treatment length and how often you should receive treatments based specifically on your health needs. 

If you would like more information on Manual lymphatic drainage massage please contact Elemental Health at info@elementalhealth.net.au or call (02) 8084 0081 for bookings.

Posted on 4 October 2021
Author:Elemental Health
Tags:Manual lymphatic drainageHolistic cancer support

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