Basic Lymphatic Drainage

Has your body ever felt swollen in the ankles, behind the knees, or in the armpits without cause?  Or after surgery, you’ve experienced a heaviness in your limbs that makes it hard to move?

This feeling of swelling (unless there’s an underlying condition) is the immune system trying to get rid of something in the body, then…getting stuck.

Lymphatic System

(Source: Pinterest- Natural Health School)lymphatic-system

The Lymphatic System is an open-based part of the Circulatory and Immune Systems in the body:

  1. While the Lymphatic System helps move blood towards the heart, it’s also charged with carrying cell waste, fluid, cellular debris, white blood cells, and lymph.
  2. It moves through the body, via muscular movement, to lymph nodes and organs, where all the cells are processed.
  3. Here, antigens are formed to fight against germs.  Other support cells are created for the body to use, in case of illness or infection.
  4. The digestive system also uses this internal transportation to move fatty cells from the small intestine to the liver for nutritional processing.

Without lymph, our body would shut down due to malnutrition, lack of immunity, or blood flow.  But what happens when the Lympathic System gets stuck and needs external help?



Lymphadenopathy is an unusual swelling in the lymph nodes, caused by an infection, illness, or injury in the body.  Tenderness, swelling, and pain in the lymph nodes are the most common signs of the disease.  A person may also experience symptoms of a common cold during this process.  For the most part, it goes away on it’s own, but sometimes, it needs a little push.


Self Lymph Drainage

There are several kinds of therapists who know how to do Full Body Lymphatic Drainage.  But some people might want to know if they can do it on themselves.

Yes!  Just keep a few things in mind.

  1. This isn’t a muscular massage.
  2. The correct pressure during lymphatic drainage is no more than the weight of a nickel.  Basically, you’ll only be moving the fluid that is skin deep.  Anymore than that does not move the lymph well and can cause pain on the lymph nodes themselves.
  3. A pumping action with half circles will be the best strokes for this.
  4. Use slightly longer strokes on larger areas (like the leg and arm).
  5. Always move the fluid towards the torso. Never try to move the system back into your limbs.


NOTE: If you have:

  • Deep Vien Thrombosis
  • Varicose Veins
  • Cancer
  • Heart and Blood Problems
  • Kidney Failure
  • Blood clots

Please see your doctor and ask if lymphatic massage is right for you.  If you do self lymphatic massage (or see a therapist who is certified in lymphatic massage) with these pre existing conditions, other problems may arise.

For a nice basic technique on Self Lymph Massage take a look at this video by Athena Austin:




4 thoughts on “Basic Lymphatic Drainage

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