Detoxing the Body: Lymphatic Drainage Massage

picture of joint pain in hands

I have chronic inflamation that impacts my quality of life. Lymphatic flush (known as Lymphatic Drainage Massage) helps so much! I have more energy and less pain. And the sessions are soothing. It is the best self care I can imagine!


Reston, VA

Also known as: Lymphatic flush, detox, manual lymphatic drainage (MLD)

What is the purpose of Lymphatic Drainage Massage? Well, nestled beneath the surface of your skin lies a complex network of vessels and organs, silently working overtime to keep you healthy. This unsung hero is the lymphatic system, responsible for eliminating waste, fighting infection, and maintaining fluid balance. While often overlooked, a sluggish lymphatic system can contribute to various health concerns. A lymphatic flush (or detox) — a gentle technique designed to stimulate lymph flow — corrects that.

What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Also known as lymphatic detox or flush (and commonly MLD), this specialized therapeutic modality uses light, rhythmic strokes to guide lymph fluid toward lymph nodes, where it filters and re-enters the bloodstream. Unlike deep tissue massage, MLD avoids direct pressure on lymph nodes, focusing on stimulating specific pathways for optimal drainage. It is, in one word, soothing.

Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage

  • Reduces swelling: MLD is particularly effective in managing lymphedema, a chronic condition where lymph fluid accumulates, causing swelling in limbs or other body parts. This is prevalent in cancer patients after surgery or radiation therapy, but can also occur due to injury, infection, or other causes.
  • Boosts immunity: The lymphatic system plays a crucial role in fighting infection. By promoting lymph flow, MLD can help transport immune cells more efficiently, potentially enhancing immune response and reducing susceptibility to illness.
  • Promotes relaxation and stress relief: Similar to other massage techniques, MLD stimulates the release of endorphins, hormones known for their stress-relieving and mood-boosting effects. This can improve sleep quality and overall well-being.
  • May aid in pain management: Some studies suggest MLD can be helpful in managing chronic pain conditions like fibromyalgia and migraine headaches. This may be due to its ability to reduce inflammation and improve circulation.
  • Detoxification: While claims of complete detoxification through MLD might be exaggerated, promoting efficient lymph flow can contribute to the body’s natural detoxification processes.
  • Relaxation: This incredibly soothing modality relieves stress!

Contraindications and Precautions

Is it for you? There are things to consider. While generally safe for most individuals, MLD is not without limitations. It’s essential to consult your doctor before trying this therapy if you have:

  • Active infection or fever
  • Blood clots or deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Uncontrolled heart disease
  • Recent surgery (wait for doctor’s approval)
  • Severe burns or open wounds
  • Certain skin conditions

How often should you get a lymphatic flush?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to how often someone should get MLD. The ideal frequency depends on several factors, including:

Individual needs and goals:

  • Lymphedema management: For individuals with lymphedema, MLD is often a mainstay of treatment, with sessions recommended daily or several times a week initially, then gradually tapering to a maintenance schedule (e.g., weekly or monthly) based on individual response and progress.
  • General health and well-being: Those seeking benefits like stress relief, improved sleep, or boosting immunity might require less frequent sessions, perhaps bi-weekly or monthly, depending on their desired level of support.
  • Specific conditions: For managing pain from fibromyalgia or migraines, the frequency might vary based on individual needs and response to treatment.

Severity of the condition:

  • More severe cases of lymphedema or pain might require more frequent sessions initially, while milder cases could benefit from a less intensive schedule.

Overall health status:

  • Underlying health conditions, age, and activity level can influence how quickly the body responds to MLD, impacting ideal frequency.

Professional recommendations:

  • It’s crucial to consult your doctor or qualified MLD therapist to determine the most appropriate frequency for your individual needs and goals. They will consider your health history, current condition, and desired outcomes to develop a personalized treatment plan.

 And remember, these recommendations are for information only and shouldn’t be interpreted as medical advice. Always consult your healthcare provider for specific recommendations regarding MLD frequency and suitability for your individual case.

In Conclusion…

Lymphatic drainage massage offers a unique approach to supporting your body’s natural detoxification and immune functions. If you’re experiencing swelling, chronic pain, or simply seeking stress relief, consider exploring this gentle yet powerful therapy. However, always consult your doctor before adding any new therapy to your routine, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.


Let a flush help with your joint pain and swelling. Book your lymphatic flush massage now.

(If you do not already have a MindBody account, please set one up BEFORE choosing your appointment…the system asks for it at the end and doesn’t remember your appointment if you have to create an account.)

lymphatic drainage massage

Other Terms for Lymphatic Drainage Massage:

  • Vodder method (named after its developer, Emil Vodder)
  • Manual lymph drainage (MLD)
  • Lymphatic decongestive therapy (LDT)
  • Complete decongestive therapy (CDT)