Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ten Tips to Get the Most From Your Lymph Massage


1.     Take your time and find a therapist that is a good fit for you.  Do your research and ask potential therapists about their qualifications.  There are many fresh out of school therapists who list lymph massage as a specialty to get  internet traffic.  Often they are not trained in lymph work or the training is minimal.  If you have lymphedema or a compromised lymph system it may be best to find an experienced therapist.

If you simply want to boost your lymph system and you have a less than dire need for lymph massage, it may suite you to work with a less experienced therapist.  If this is the case it is best to make sure they are charging a fee that corresponds with their experience.  Everyone needs to have the opportunity to learn but that should be figured into the cost. 

Another thing to keep in mind, in looking for a lymph worker, is that many people complete massage school but don’t actually work full time as a massage therapist.  They may say that they have 10 years of experience but what they mean is they graduated massage school 10 years ago and may not have done very many massages.  When it comes to lymphatic therapy, experience of bodies under your therapist’s hands does matter!

Even if you do not live in the Utah or Salt Lake area I am happy to help offer ideas on how to find a qualified therapist in your area.  Feel free to leave a comment or private message me.

2.     Hydrate well several days before your session.  Hydrated tissue is easier to work with and  essential in moving the lymphatic system.

3.     Eat a light meal a few hours before your session (unless you are on a fast or a cleanse.)  Being hungry during the massage can be a distraction.  Also, when the deep lymphatic is draining, it can cause a gurgling in your abdomen, which can create discomfort if you are hungry.

4.     Give yourself extra time to get to your appointment.  If you are in a hurry chances are you will launch your body into a stress response and arrive tight and frazzled.

5.     Use the Restroom before the session and ask to go during the session if necessary.  Lymphatic work will move much more fluid than the standard Swedish massage and there is no reason to spoil your session with that kind of discomfort.

6.     Communicate during the massage.  Let your therapist know if there is pain, discomfort or if something is frightening.  Also let them know if something feels particularly good.  I have several clients who like to be very still on the table.  I have them tell me “ouch” or give some kind of sound that indicates if it feels good or is hurting.  That way they don’t have to engage in conversation unless they want to and I still get important feedback.

7.     Be aware of your breathing.  While you are on the massage table make sure you are not hyperventilating or holding your breath.  Breathing is essential to relaxation, and relaxation is essential to eliminating body tension and draining the lymphatic system.

8.     Relax you muscles and your mind.  Tightening up by contracting or hardening your muscles during the massage is counterproductive.  If you find your thoughts are racing during the session, one way to be more aware is to focus on the sensations of the touch and/or focus on breathing in and out of the area that is being worked on.

9.     Drink lots of extra water after your massage.  If you have received adequate lymph work the draining and releasing can last for 2-5 days after the massage and it is wise to double your water intake.  If you experience soreness…there is a good chance you are not drinking enough.

10.  Be prepared to schedule several lymphatic massage sessions.  Lymphatic massage works best when received frequently as the therapeutic benefits are cumulative.  The more often you get a lymph massage, the better you will feel and the more quickly your body will respond.  The chronic patterns of stress in the body are often layered and it can take some time to work through those layers to uncover and address the original cause.

Additionally, if you have a soft tissue injury this may take more than one session to resolve.

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