Massage Tips for Lymph Drainage Therapy Sessions

Helpful Massage Tips, not that you've scheduled your first Lymph Drainage Therapy appointment or integrated massage session and are probably curious and eager to see what it's all about. Here are some massage tips you need to know to make your Lymph session as effective and enjoyable as possible:

Remember, you are about to stimulate your body's most powerful system of detoxification. If you do not follow the recommended instructions given below, you may feel sick after receiving lymph massage. The lymphatic system is responsible for handling and neutralizing toxins and wastes created from food, pollution and our own body's daily cellular activities. It is also responsible for housing and transporting immune cells.

Because of this, a 30 minute Lymph Drainage Session is recommended to begin with so that your body does not attempt to cleanse more quickly than it is capable of at this time. If you are integrating Lymph Drainage into your 60 minute massage session, your therapist will start with 10-15 minutes of Lymph to see how you respond before increasing the ratio of Lymph Drainage to massage therapy.


Massage Tips Before your lymphatic treatment:

  • If you are working with another medical professional verify with them the ideal time to receive this work for optimum results (guided detox, surgery, illness). You may choose to increase certain nutrients (antioxidants such as Vitamin C to bind toxins) or temporarily add supportive herbs to support the liver and kidneys detoxification processes prior to and after your lymph massage sessions. For more recommendations on diet, check out our diet page (link coming soon).
  • Please note that Lymph Drainage Therapy will metabolize certain drugs out of your system more quickly along with most types of toxins..... thus, if you are on pain medication or fresh off a surgical procedure, you may need to adjust your medications.  Please discuss this with your Medical Professionals.
  • Arrive at your appointment well hydrated. Dehydration will severely impair your ability to detoxify and rebuild and may make you feel ill.
  • Expect to undress to your level of comfort but know that direct contact with the skin is always best. Tight clothing and under wire bras will make it difficult to get lymph moving.
  • If you choose to wear clothing during your session, wear cotton underwear and pants with no buckles, zippers, or pockets - such as yoga pants or yoga shorts.  Wear a v-neck t-shirt or tank top so the neck and collar bones can be accessed by your therapist.
  • Arrive with an empty stomach or eat a light snack prior. Drainage will be performed in the deep abdomen and organs.
  • Do NOT apply lotion to your skin prior to treatment. Dry skin contact is more effective for stimulating the stretch response needed by your lymph vessels.
  • Do NOT drink alcohol or consume recreational drugs the night before or immediately after your session. Your liver will be responsible for detoxifying much of what the lymphatic system collects so please don't burden it before your session or you may feel quite sick afterwards.
  • Plan and allow for a period of MOVEMENT immediately after your session. Your lymph collects toxins and places them into the blood stream for removal. 10 to 15 minutes of gentle movement and breathing is recommended such as a short walk before getting into your car after the session, walking your dog, or hitting the gym or a gentle yoga class is one of the most critical massage tips to follow.
  • Plan and allow for a period of REST after treatment and movement if needed. Your body's resources and nutrients will go toward "cleaning up shop" and this may include an immune response to cleanse any bacteria or foreign cells that don't belong. Rest will allow the body to regenerate and heal.
  • If you are already sick, fighting an illness, or recovering from illness, consider shortening your session or contact your therapist to identify the best time to receive lymph work. The first acute 24-48 hours of illness is NOT the appropriate time to receive lymph massage. Be prepared for your immune system's increased response listed above!  This may include a temporary increase in mucous, coughing, or nasal drip and nose blowing!
  • Use the restroom prior to getting on the table. No one likes to "hold it in" or run to the restroom in the middle of a relaxing Lymph Drainage session!
  • If you don't need to urinate immediately after your session you are likely dehydrated.  Consider drinking more clear filtered water prior to your next visit!
  • If you are receiving Lymphatic Breast Massage please print and sign the consent form here.

Consuming doses of "whole food" Vitamin C like those found in Camu Camu Powder, a fruit from the Amazon, can improve your detoxification and healing process after a Lymph Drainage Therapy Treatment and between sessions.  Magnesium is often useful, along with some herbs and other antioxidants which may assist in the cleansing process. 

To find a practitioner who can help you decide what nutritional support you need here.

Massage Tips During your Lymph Drainage session:

  • Your massage therapist's touch will often be very light to moderate (just enough pressure to stretch the skin) but the treatment should never elicit pain or discomfort.
  • Your therapist will concentrate on several key areas of your lymphatic system: neck, armpits, abdomen, hips. Organs such as the liver and kidneys, lungs and digestive track will also be addressed in addition to any areas of complaint.
  • You may experience sensations on the table as lymph fluids begin to move (tingling, coolness in fingers and toes, digestive noises).
  • Your therapist may incorporate other energy healing or massage therapy techniques to aid in optimal lymph flow with your permission, of course! The most common are Scar Release, Myofascial Release, Craniosacral Therapy, and Energy Healing

Every person will respond to Lymph Drainage Therapy differently as some people may already be experiencing toxicity symptoms prior receiving this work! Changes can occur immediately and sometimes up to seven days after treatment.

As mentioned before, it is best to gently exercise for 10 to 15 minutes immediately after your Lymph Drainage Massage session (i.e. walking) to assist your body in the removal of toxins.

Healing responses or a "healing crisis" may occur and can be characterized by a temporary increase in symptoms during your detoxification process. You may feel tired, sore, or achey and therefore suspect that your lymph treatment is not working. However, these reactions are signs that your body IS cleansing itself of toxins and impurities. If you experience this, please refer to the before your massage tips again to review those that may have been overlooked.


What to expect after your Lymph Drainage session: The list below are only a FEW of the more common healing responses that may be experienced shortly after your session:

  • Feeling your body as "light and fluffy."
  • Brain Fog.
  • Increased odorous urination.
  • Increased odorous bowel movements.
  • Temporary change in your body odor. Increased sweat.
  • Deeper and more restful sleep.
  • Hunger or cravings for fats.
  • Thirst.
  • Tiredness, wanting to rest or nap.
  • Sinus Drainage.
  • Ear Drainage.
  • Reductions in swelling and headaches.
  • Reductions in swollen lymph nodes (2-7 days)
  • Shifts in congestion (one sinus to another etc.) or pressure changes in joints or areas where prior injury or trauma has occurred.

After Several Lymph Drainage Therapy Sessions, other common benefits may occur:

  • Weight loss with a reduction in adipose and cellulite tissue.
  • Reduced water retention.
  • Reduction or elimination of your chronic pain.
  • Reduction of your skin conditions and allergies.
  • Increased energy.
  • Increased metabolism.
  • Reduction of PMS symptoms.
  • Improved range of motion in your joints.
  • Stronger immune system function and illness prevention.
  • Regeneration or youthfulness of skin tissue.

To support your continued detoxification and regeneration process, the therapist may give you self treatment exercises to do regularly. Additional massage tips and common recommendations for keeping your lymphatics healthy and flowing are listed in our Lifestyle tips for Healthy Lymphatics Page.

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