Lymph Drainage Massage

Lymph drainage massage (LDM) uses precise rhythm and pressure to open the initial lymphatics and stimulate lymph vessel contraction to reduce edema.  Edema is an unusual accumulation of fluid in soft tissues that can be temporary and mild or serious, as in chronic lymphedema.


LDM uses external massage strokes to move fluids out of the body tissues and into the lymphatic system.  LDM stimulates the immune system because it helps move stagnant tissue fluid out of tissues and into the lymphatic vessels, where it is transports through the lymph nodes and purified by lymphocytes.  LDM stimulates the lymphatic vessels to contract more frequently.  IT also appears to make natural contractions more regular.


In addition to improving fluid flow, LDM is very relaxing.  The method’s slow, gentle, repetitive movements reduce the body’s “flight-or-fight response” to stress (the sympathetic nervous system) and stimulate the body’s parasympathetic reaction.  LDM helps to put the body into a parasympathetic state, which slows the heart rate and breathing, relaxes muscles and allows organs to resume normal functioning.


Although other massage styles, like Swedish massage, can move tissue fluids, they lack the specificity that is the basis of successful lymph work.  LDM is very light, gentle, and strictly paced.

Indications for Lymph Drainage Massage


Before and after surgery

Before surgery, LDM helps to remove stagnant fluid from tissues and increase blood flow, which brings nutrition to the tissues.  LDM is also deeply relaxing, so it can lessen the client’s stress and anxiety.


After surgery, LDM can help remove inflammation, speed healing, and reduce scar tissue.  HOWEVER, because of the risk of infection and blood clots, LDM should never be performed in connection with surgery without the approval of the client’s physician.


Soft tissue injuries

LDM speeds healing and reduces swelling.  All injuries should be examined to rule out any serious underlying conditions before massage.


Sluggish Immune system

If a client is frequently ill with minor illnesses and recovers slowly, the lymphatic system may be sluggish.  In that case, LDM will stimulate the lymph circulation and potentially improve the condition.   It is encouraged for a client who is frequently ill with minor illnesses to have LDM regularly, daily if possible for a week, or at least once a week for three months.

Stress and Tension 

Massage, especially LDM, trigger the parasympathetic nervous system, which has the opposite effect on the body than stress.  Muscles relax, heart and breath rates decrease, and clients move into a drowsy state of relaxation that promoted healing and balance.


LDM is also great for addressing chronic fatigue, mild depression, and chronic soft tissue pain.  Traveler’s edema, scar tissue, cellulite and helping skin along with lowering blood pressure are all benefits of LDM….More information available on the benefits of these conditions if asked.

Contraindications for Lymph Drainage Massage


Although LDM is very beneficial to most people, some conditions contraindicate the massage.  Some contraindications are absolute, some merely require the therapist to take precautions or consult with the client’s physician before performing the massage.


Absolute LDM contraindications are heart, liver and kidney disease, cancer that is active (unless physician okays treatment), open wounds, rashes and inflamed skin, fever and infections.   It is contraindicated during or following an asthma attack and during an allergic reaction because the possibility of spreading histamine.  It is also contraindicated with thyroid disease just over that specific area and is not to be done if client has history/problem with blood clots.


A therapist should consult the client’s physician before giving massage when recent soft tissue soft-tissue injuries are present, with chronic fatigue, mild depression and/or soft tissue pain are unexplained and with organ transplants.

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© 2014 created by KStone of RubyDot     

revised 2016 Jillian Pate  


1732 E. 17th Ave
Denver, CO 80218
Monday-Thursday 10am-8pm
Friday & Saturday 10am-5pm
Sunday 9am-noon
by appointment