How often should I get a lymphatic massage?
This is a question that I often get, and I wish the answer was more simple. Stay with me here. The answer is, it depends. It depends on the reasoning for seeking a lymphatic massage in the first place. Let's take a look at the reasons why someone might need a lymphatic massage and discuss the frequency.
Relaxation: This one is simple. A lymphatic massage is immensely relaxing because it stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system which is our "rest and digest" part of the autonomic nervous system. So my question to you is how often do you need to relax? Everyday, once a week, every other week, once a month? I guess it all depends on how much you want to spend. You could get a lymphatic massage everyday of your life and you would not be doing yourself any harm. (Unless of course you have advanced heart, kidney or liver disease) All in all, I tell my clients who are seeking a lymphatic massage for relaxation to come once or twice a month. And guess what, I have membership options for that at a reduced rate!
Edema reduction: This one is a bit more tricky. We need to ascertain the cause of the swelling. Did you just have surgery, did you just sprain your ankle, do you have lymphedema or lipedema, do you have chronic venous insufficiency or congestive heart failure. Why are you swelling? Once we figure out the likely culprit of the swelling we can come up with a plan that involves reducing swelling. Part of that plan may involve compression bandaging if it is advanced/chronic swelling where the lymphatic system is injured or overloaded, which I walk you through step by step and help you get the supplies. You will likely need to come see more frequently. In an ideal world folks with lymphedema would see me 5 days a week for 1 week and then taper off to 3x/week for 2 weeks then 2x/week for a week until once a week or once a month is sufficient or until they can fully manage their disease. Clients who undergo cosmetic surgery require frequent initial visits of 3-5x/week and again tapering off as the edema reduces. It also depends how fast you want to swelling to reduce, to state the obvious, the more frequently you come, the faster the results. And guess what, I have reduced rates for when you come see me 3-5x/week.
Detoxification: The lymphatic system plays a major role is removing the waste from our body. Therefore, a lymphatic massage can vastly speed up the detoxification process. The reasons for detoxing are varied, maybe you are jump starting a healthy lifestyle, maybe you are feeling sluggish and low energy, maybe you were exposed to harmful chemicals like chemo drugs, maybe you are looking to improve your skin integrity or maybe you just are a health minded individual that likes preventative care. Whatever the reason, a lymphatic massage is a fantastic tool for speeding up the process of cellular detoxification. I recommend these treatments from once weekly to once monthly.
Boosting your immune system: The lymphatic system is responsible for circulating our defense system (lymphocytes and antibodies) throughout our body. By stimulating circulation of the lymph fluid, we can more quickly respond to foreign invaders like viruses, bacteria, pathogens and cancer cells. During times of known increased risk, like cold and flu season or *cough cough* COVID it would be a obvious time to ramp up your lymphatic system with a lymphatic massage. I recommend these as often as you might need, ideally once a month. But for sure quarterly or at the change of seasons.
General health and wellness by reducing stagnant fluid/cellular waste: Who wants stagnant fluid and cellular waste floating around in our bodies, definitely not me. Stagnant fluid is the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to thrive. Clearing out this fluid can lead to reduce infection risk and overall improved health. I have mentioned it in the past and I will say it again, our cells POOP. Just like us, our cells take in a food source and expel the waste not used. This cellular poop is floating around in our bodies interstitial space until it is taken up by the lymphatic system. We can speed this process up by stimulating the lymphatic system with a lymphatic massage. I recommend this treatment once a month.
As you can see, there really is no one size fits all. It really depends on your goals for the frequency of manual lymphatic drainage massage. The good news is, you can't over do it. Unless of course as mentioned above you have some health condition that limits you. I love the variety of my clients and the clinical thinking that it challenges me to.