Lymphatic Drainage Vacuum Massage

By Kathleen Christ, LMT, NCMBT

A very specialized type of massage called lymphatic drainage is an important part of the treatment of lymphoedema (swelling of tissues). The aim of this massage is to stimulate or move the excess fluid away from the swollen area so that it can drain normally. Massage also encourages and improves drainage in the healthy lymphatics (which helps keep fluid away from swollen areas).

The lymphatic system consists of organs, ducts and nodes. It transports a watery clear fluid called lymph. This fluid distributes immune cells and other factors throughout the body. It also interacts with the blood circulatory system to drain fluid from cells and tissues. The lymphatic system contains immune cells called lymphocytes, which protect the body against antigens (viruses, bacteria, etc.) that invade the body. The main functions of the lymphatic system are to collect and return interstitial fluid, including plasma protein, to the blood and thus help maintain fluid balance; to defend the body against disease by producing lymphocytes; and to absorb lipids from the intestines and transport them to the blood.

The lymphatic system is our second circulatory system. The first circulatory system, the blood stream, carries nutrients and oxygen to our cells. As the blood stream flows along, the nutritive elements of the blood seep through the capillary walls into the interstitium and bathe all the tissues, supplying them with nutrients and, at the same time, draining waste products and any accumulated toxins into the lymph capillaries. Our blood moves quickly throughout the body due to the pumping of our heart, but our lymphatic system moves primarily when we move. Our lymphatic system runs alongside of, and interacts continuously with, our bloodstream. So, with age, illness, disease or accidents, our metabolism slows and our lymphatic system suffers with a greater burden and less power to interact and cleanse. Our lymphatic system is the vacuum-cleaning system of the body.

Without regular and constant movement, our system becomes clogged with higher levels of wastes and toxins, and we become better hosts for all manner of infectious disease, pathogens and chronic conditions.

Over 70% of the "initial lymphatics" are in and just under the skin. The lymphatic vessels are very delicate structures, one cell thick. Those cells are supported within the connective tissue by collagen and elastin fibers that help to anchor them in place.

Our body is composed of 70% to 80% fluid, and a lymphatic massage has the ability to affect all of our systems. Massage therapy is the best and gentlest way to begin bringing the body back into the fullness of health.

I have been a massage therapist for 17 years, and have specialized in deep tissue and deep stretching work. Learning, receiving and practicing lymphatic drainage massage has been a profound revelation and extensively and deeply healing for me and for my clients. A new machine called the lymphatic drainage vacuum suction massager, using a pulsing vacuum cupping action, is 15 to 20 times more effective than a regular manual lymphatic drainage massage. We have been using this machine with astonishing results for the past three years.

This method is so gentle, sweet and altering that I liken it to "angel kisses" for the entire body. You can't believe it until you try it - healing couldn't be more delicious!