);
Tag

massage school in san diego

Lymphatic Massage at ICOHS College

What Is a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? [Info & Benefits]

By Community, Fitness, Health No Comments

A cleansing experience that promotes wellness and relaxation

Although massage therapy is a familiar practice amongst most individuals, in particular, those interested in more holistic ways of living, the term lymphatic drainage massage may not seem as intuitive. This immensely cleansing form of massage therapy is commended for its plethora of voiced benefits which help to stimulate the body’s natural lymphatic system.

But what on Earth is a lymphatic system and what is it responsible for? Why are lymphatic drainage massages even performed? In this article, we will be answering all of these burning questions.

What Is the Lymphatic System?

In order to better understand what a lymphatic drainage massage is and what it does, first one must conceptualize the lymphatic system and its responsibilities throughout the body.

The word lymph in Latin actually means “clear water”, so it comes as no surprise that the lymphatic system contains lymph fluid that is carried throughout the lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels of the body. Lymphatic vessels and lymph nodes are two parts that make up a bigger system, known as the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system has a few major duties including helping large molecules such as lipids and hormones enter into the blood, returning fluid back to the heart, and surveilling the immune system which in turn prevents infection and other sicknesses from entering as easily.

With this all being said, it is quite obvious that the lymphatic system is definitely an important one.

 

All About the Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Lymphatic drainage massage is much as its name implies; this form of massage therapy stimulates the lymphatic system, encouraging it to work faster. This system moves lymph fluid throughout the entire body, dispelling any toxins that may have accumulated within the cells.

The body naturally undergoes two processes of circulation, first arterial and then venous, and the specialized stimulation that is generated by a lymphatic drainage massage mimics circulation, acting as a third wave.

As the body is once more awakened, so are the lymph vessels and nodes, and the result is a natural drainage that takes place after the massage. Why does this become beneficial? Certain medical conditions, in particular, can generate a buildup of lymph fluid, so draining this liquid by means of a specialized massage technique is said to be helpful.

 

The Potential Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

While many do claim that lymphatic drainage massage possesses certain key benefits for the body, it is important to remember that actual scientific evidence of the efficacy of manual lymphatic drainage massage is limited. In fact, an article published in 2009 in The Journal of Manual and Manipulative Therapy states, “manual lymphatic drainage techniques remain a clinical art founded upon hypotheses, theory, and preliminary evidence.”

With this in mind, the benefits we are about to cover are widely based on the personal experiences of those who have received lymphatic drainage massage or upon hypotheses, theories, and preliminary evidence.

Lymphatic drainage massage and other decongestive lymphatic therapies (DLTs) are said to reduce swelling and increase circulation throughout the body, primarily any systems connected with the lymphatic system.

Some lymphatic drainage massage therapists also suggest that this technique decreases the appearance of not only swelling but also cellulite, so aside from the claimed health advantages, this style of massage therapy also may possess a more aesthetic purpose.

Although evidence is limited, the following conditions may benefit from lymphatic drainage massage procedures:

Stress and insomnia
Any digestive challenges
Fibromyalgia and arthritis
Pain and swelling, in addition to migraines
Lymphedema
Various skin disorders

Be sure to always communicate confidently and clearly with your massage professional so that they understand your intentions in receiving lymphatic drainage massage, as well as any medical conditions you may possess. This will help to make sure you get the most out of your treatment.

 

Do Not Opt for Lymphatic Drainage Massage If…

If you have been diagnosed with any medical condition, it is extremely important to consult with your doctor or medical professional before scheduling a lymphatic drainage massage appointment. Those with congestive heart failure, circulatory problems, blood clots, kidney challenges, or any type of infection should NOT opt for lymphatic drainage massages because this could potentially become dangerous.

Preparing for a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? Keep This in Mind…

If you are in favor of lymphatic drainage massage and its purported benefits, you may have gone forth with setting up an appointment to experience this form of bodywork for yourself.

Whether this is the case, or if you intend to soon arrange a lymphatic drainage massage, there are a few tips you may want to keep in mind prior to your appointment:

Drink plenty of water during the hours leading up to your scheduled massage appointment. Massage can generate dehydration, so you will want to also consume H2O afterward to replenish any fluids lost throughout the treatment. Additionally, drinking the appropriate amount of water daily encourages the lymphatic system to work accordingly, greater promoting self-healing.
Lymphatic drainage massage can leave you feeling quite tired, so try and schedule your appointment on a day where you can take it easy post-treatment. Get some rest, have a nap, and maybe even hit the hay early that day.
Depending on what is within your comfort zone, try to wear as few articles of clothing as possible during your lymphatic drainage massage because your massage therapist will need to be able to easily access the majority of your body during the therapy.

Final Thoughts on What a Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Now that you know more about lymphatic drainage massage you can decide whether or not this would be the right massage therapy technique for you. Although there is a loyal fanbase that stands behind regularly receiving lymphatic drainage massage treatments, this style of massage therapy certainly is not tailored to all.

While there are available methods of performing lymphatic drainage massage on yourself, it is always recommended to schedule an appointment with a professional massage therapist that specializes in this technique, as to ensure the results you desire are accomplished. Normally upon meeting with a professional, they will inquire about your medical history and ask for your reasons for requesting a lymphatic drainage massage. From there, the two of you can devise a plan and schedule together that would be best suited to your personal needs.

Interested in studying massage or holistic health? Searching for massage schools in San Diego? ICOHS is a non-profit vocational college offering programs to become either a holistic health practitioner or a professional massage therapist.

Our dedicated and passionate educators create a personalized experience for each student, helping them to reach their career goals. Reach out today and request more information.

Craniosacral Therapy for Better Health – by Amber Dambacher

By Health No Comments

Imagine for a moment a scene unfolding: an idyllic landscape of infinite beauty ranging as far as the eye can see–a broad canopy of trees interspersed with bountiful bushes and greenery, a lush jungle full of vibrant hues, fresh scents and exotic creatures, where nature thrives independently. A natural lake lies within this serenity, drawing to it all walks of life to hydrate and bask in its sun-kissed glory. Among these is a young monkey, at ease in his leisure, playfully enjoying some space from the others. All seems peaceful when suddenly a leopard appears from the perimeter, poised to attack. BOOM! A fast-paced chase ensues, the monkeys running all out full throttle toward safety, adrenaline pumping. The adolescent one, slower than the others and lagging behind, barely escapes the danger alive.

This high intensity, stress induced situation is our current reality in today’s society. With traffic jams, work/school pressure, partnership/family issues, financial expectations, environmental factors (e.g. EMF radiation), social media and constant advertisements, anxiety is rampant among Americans. Abundant overstimulation wreaks havoc on the function of our nervous system, deteriorating both physical and emotional health. When we view an ordinary event as traumatic, the body perceives it to be a real threat and responds accordingly as a defense mechanism. According to Hans Selye’s General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), stress manifests in three stages—alarm, resistance and exhaustion. The first reaction occurs as the “fight-or-flight” response kicks into gear and stimulates the sympathetic nervous system to mobilize resources needed to meet the danger. Next, the parasympathetic nervous system attempts to return most physiological functions to normal levels while simultaneously remaining alert. Finally, the potential for disease is heightened when the stressor pushes the body beyond its capacity. [1] Due to the interconnected web that is the bodymind and the fact that our muscles house feelings, it is imperative to maintain emotional balance as part of an integrated system of overall health.

The key to regaining homeostasis is allowing the body’s instinctual intelligence to take control and naturally reset. This is achieved when we can reach a dynamic state of stillness and live from it. One of the most effective ways of activating the parasympathetic nervous system is through craniosacral therapy, a modality of massage that involves holding specific areas along the spine and cranium with a light touch. Occupational therapist Susan Kratz explains the craniosacral system well: “The three layers of membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord (meninges) plus the volume of cerebral spinal fluid constitute the craniosacral system. The tissues extend through the bones of the skull, face, and mouth (the cranium), and then down to the tailbone (the sacrum). Not only does this system protect the brain and spinal cord as a shock absorber, but it also serves to facilitate the electro-chemical conduction of nerve signals. As cerebral spinal fluid is produced within the brain itself, it swells the cranial cavity. The fluid is reabsorbed once reaching a certain pressure gradient and the brain narrows and contracts. This cycle creates the craniosacral rhythm…” [2] The intention of the practitioner is to connect in with this rhythm and be present. As Cara Holland describes, “Not many of us have been given time and space where we are listened to and heard. Where we are offered a connection to a witness who has no agenda, no judgment and who is grounded, present with us as we take this journey into craniosacral therapy. Holding and allowing, waiting, neutral space requires that the practitioner be grounded, centered, present, mindful, physically and energetically connected. From that place, each craniosacral practitioner simply holds the intention to allow time and space to provide the client and their body to heal, find structural, emotional balance and center, in whatever way they need to.” [3] Though it is one of the more subtle therapies existing in the bodywork field, the results in alleviating symptoms such as pain (physical and emotional), anxiety, depression, insomnia, appetite, inflammation, aggression, sensory processing, social engagement/behaviors and overall quality of life have been astounding.

The explanation to how so many benefits can be achieved from a singular modality lies in the complex matrix that is the brain: “There are three cranial meninges, or layers, that surround the brain: pia mater, arachnoid mater and dura mater. The pia mater membrane is adhered to the surface of the brain. The arachnoid membrane is adhered to the dura mater membrane. The dura mater membrane is formed of two layers: The periosteal layer is adhered to the inner surface of the skull bones, and the meningeal layer is adhered to the periosteal layer. Strands of collagen, or trabeculae, span the subarachnoid space and are attached to both the arachnoid membrane and the pia mater membrane. All three meningeal layers encase the brain. The dura mater’s meningeal layer separates from the periosteal layer in a few places to form membrane sheets that fold inward into the brain tissue. These sheets are arranged vertically between left and right hemispheres of the cerebrum and cerebellum, and horizontally between the cerebellum and the cerebrum. The arachnoid membrane follows the dural meningeal layer, and the pia mater membrane remains adhered to the brain surface.” [4]

When any part of this system becomes blocked or ground substance flow is restricted through pathways, problems begin to arise. “These substances are not only vital, nourishing and cleansing substances; they are also molecules that create extracellular communication among cells. Extracellular communication helps regulate and integrate cell processes, and in the brain extracellular communication also helps modulate neural signaling.” [4]

A double-blind study performed in Spain clearly shows evidence of significantly improved levels of pain and anxiety in those with fibromyalgia directly following craniosacral therapy treatment, which we can assume would also be true of healthy individuals. This group also showed positive influence on factors such as physical function, general health, vitality and social function. What’s more, these participants maintained that improvement one year post-study. [5] In another study done by Upledger Institute International, both practitioners and parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder were asked to evaluate the clients after having received between 1-5 sessions of craniosacral therapy. Twenty characteristic behavioral or functional features of ASD were rated to measure the experiences gained with CST. Huge behavioral advancements were reported by almost all clients in categories including general behavior, cognitive function, communication, sensory reaction, social skills and emotional stability. [6] Due to the intricate network of cranial anatomy, all body systems stand to benefit from CST. Since there are no contraindications for this modality, it is safe to employ for everyone. When we find our home in a restorative and rejuvenating parasympathetic state of being, we are able to maintain the alignment and balance needed to both heal and obtain optimal vitality so we may truly thrive.


References

1. Lucille, H. (2016, August 31.) General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) Stages. Retrieved July 10, 2019, from https://www.integrativepro.com/Resources/Integrative-Blog/2016/General-Adaptation-Syndrome-Stages
2. Kratz, S. (2009.) Craniosacral Therapy: Helping Improve Brain Function. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from https://www.iahe.com/docs/articles/Brain.pdf
3. Holland, C. (2019, January.) Craniosacral Therapy: Finding Your Way to Neutral.
4. Wanveer, T. (2014, September.) How Craniosacral Therapy May Contribute to Brain Health. Retrieved June 14, 2019, from https://www.iahe.com/docs/articles/Article_-_How_Cranio_Sacral_Therapy_May_Contribute_to_Brain_Health.pdf
5. Matarán-Peñarrocha, G; Castro-Sánchez, A; García, G; Moreno-Lorenzo, C; Carreño, T; Zafra, M. (2011, June 15.) Influence of Craniosacral Therapy on Anxiety, Depression and Quality of Life in Patients with Fibromyalgia. Retrieved June 14, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3135864/
6. Kratz, S; Kerr, J; Porter, L. (2016, June 1.) The use of CranioSacral therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorders: Benefits from the viewpoints of parents, clients, and therapists. Retrieved June 24, 2019, from https://www.iahe.com/docs/articles/final-publication-cst-for-asd-feb-2017.pdf

Stay in the Loop

Sign up to receive exclusive content and updates.