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Let’s Talk LYMPH…

"The lymph system has a few different sections throughout it known as lymph nodes which are like little pockets through which lymphatic fluid travels back to the bloodstream."
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The lymphatic system is a network in your body that helps rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. ⠀

The lymph system has a few different sections throughout it known as lymph nodes which are like little pockets through which lymphatic fluid travels back to the bloodstream. ⠀

They are found just under where your clavicle sits, in the centre of your armpits (axillary nodes), at the inside of your elbows (cubital nodes), at your inguinal crease (where your leg meets your body) and behind your knee (popliteal crease) to name a few places. ⠀

It’s common for some to notice puffiness or swelling this is called edema, usually occurs in your feet, ankles and legs after sitting for a while or you may also notice it in your face, arms, hands and other areas of the body. There is also a known condition called pitted edema- if you press your finger into an area of swelling and the tissue stays compressed longer than a few seconds. ⠀

❓How does massage help❓⠀

Using a technique known as manual lymph drainage this is a gentle technique where your therapist will provide light pressure with stroking techniques towards the heart starting at the most proximal (closest) point and working distally (furthest) and if applied correctly can increase the activity through the lymph system. ⠀

A massage can also help increase the flow of lymphatic drainage as a decrease in muscle tension can help the body work more effectively and efficiently. ⠀


Exercises you can do at home such as holding the affected limb above your heart a few times a day and sit with your legs elevated. Even something as simple as taking a walk and getting your muscles moving or focusing on deep diaphragmatic breathing can help (deep breath that goes all the way to your belly button, makes the bottom of your rib cage move, and your chest rise), or moving the limb in all ranges as long as it is pain free can help. ⠀

Speak to your therapist to show how you can perform MLD (manual lymph drainage) techniques on yourself. ⠀

Thank you to Amanda Wonnacott, RMT for this wonderful post. You can follow her on social media @amandawonnacott

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Lisa De Souza

Lisa De Souza

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