Massage therapy is well known for its benefits to the musculoskeletal system. Whether it's chronic tension from spending too many hours at a computer screen, or an old injury that flares up now and then, a massage can help reduce muscle tension and ease its symptoms. Another system that benefits from massage therapy is the lymph system.
The lymph system is a network of vessels, nodes, and organs that distribute lymph (a clear fluid containing white blood cells and proteins) throughout the body. The lymph system serves several purposes including maintaining fluid balance protecting us against infection and disease. As lymphatic fluid travels through the body this system filters out invading viruses and bacteria. A well-functioning lymph system is essential in maintaining a healthy immune system and being less susceptible to illness.
So, what can a massage therapist do to encourage this proper functioning? We use a technique called manual lymph drainage (MLD). For those familiar with a deep tissue therapeutic massage, MLD will seem very different. It is a light technique that works on pumping centers of lymph nodes and then manually encouraging lymph fluid circulation through these nodes. For the client, it feels like a series of light, directional strokes and can be very soothing and relaxing. MLD helps distribute lymph and its immune supporting substances throughout the body, encouraging a healthier immune system. MLD also helps alleviate other symptoms often attributed to a sluggish lymph system including: poor healing, chronic sinus congestion, and lymphedema.
With the winter months approaching and the stressful holiday season upon us, why not treat yourself to an immune-boosting MLD massage and give your body a healthful advantage!