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What Are the Side Effects of Lymphatic Massage?

17th November 2021
lymphatic massage side effects

The lymphatic system (or lymphoid system) is a complex network of vessels, glands, and nodes that act as a waste-removing channel. These vessels are similar to the body’s blood vessels, but instead of blood, they are filled with a liquid known as lymph. The lymph acts as a carrier for pathogens, toxins, and other metabolic wastes that are taken to the lymph nodes for filtration and destruction.

Unfortunately, the human body’s lymphatic system lacks its pumping mechanism. That means it is dependent on other bodily functions and systems to function properly. Other factors can also impair the normal operation of the lymphoid system, with the main ones being unhealthy eating, lack of physical activity, certain illnesses, and dehydration.

The result of a dysfunctional lymphoid system is water accumulation, swelling in the limbs, chronic pain, and excess fat deposits. This is why health specialists recommend a lymphatic massage. In the following lines, we are going to examine this type of treatment in greater detail, including the lymphatic massage side effects and its dangers. Before that, however, let’s find out what can be expected after the procedure.

What can I expect after a lymphatic massage?

strengthen the immune system with lymphatic massageThe main idea behind the lymphoid massage is to ease the flow of the lymph fluid throughout the lymphoid vessels. As already mentioned, optimal lymph circulation is extremely important as it is used by the body to get rid of dangerous substances and metabolic wastes. If the lymph system becomes sluggish, the organism might encounter an over-accumulation of toxins, harmful pathogens, and water.

In such circumstances, a lymphatic massage can be very useful. The treatment is done by trained masseurs, who use specific techniques and lymphatic massage tools to aid the lymph flow. Usually, the intervention course spreads for 6 weeks with a total of 12 sessions. According to some clinical studies, such as this systematic review of randomized controlled trials, at the end of the sessions, you can expect some pretty positive health outcomes. Some of the most significant ones are:

  • Stronger immune function
  • Reduced swelling and water retention
  • Relieved chronic pain
  • Feeling of deep relaxation
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Raised energy levels
  • Decreased body fat percentage

Can you get sick after a lymphatic massage?

lymphatic massage dangers - blood clotLymphatic massaging aids the lymph flow and stimulates blood circulation throughout the body. The implementation of proper techniques and lymphatic massage tools leads to an increased flow making it easier for the organism to flush out waste and leads to the process of detoxification. Even though this type of non-invasive treatment carries many benefits, sometimes patients may feel sick after it. Truth is that the lymphatic massage side effects are normal and usually go away in a day or two.

Having said that, you can easily diminish the negative effects of the procedure by preparing your body and by drinking plenty of water before and after the procedure. Water aids detoxification and makes it less likely for you to experience the unpleasant side effects of the lymphoid massage.

Some of the most common lymphatic massage side effects include:

  • Headache and migraine
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Flu and cold-like symptoms
  • Diarrhea and increased urination
  • Nausea and vomiting

Who should not do lymphatic massage?

LymphademaOverall, lymphoid massage is considered safe, pain-free, and beneficial. So far, this sort of treatment has been proven to stimulate waste removal and alleviate the symptoms of numerous conditions, such as edema, lymphedema, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic venous insufficiency. Yet, lymphatic massage dangers are possible, which is why this type of treatment is not for everyone. As with any other physical intervention, there are certain groups of people who should avoid the procedure.

According to some studies, such as this one, If you have one or more of the following conditions, the health specialists recommend you stay away from lymphoid massage. In case you are concerned and not fully sure whether the treatment is for you or not, you’d better have a chat with your doctor.

The lymph massaging treatment is not recommended for people who:

  • Experience heart conditions
  • Suffer from severe lymphedema
  • Have kidney failure
  • Form blood clots
  • Suffer from infections
  • Have hypotension
  • Suffer from chronic inflammation
  • Have undergone recent surgery
  • Take blood thinners
  • Are pregnant

Final thoughts

The lymphoid system is a complex network of vessels and nodes that act as the body’s waste-removing agent. Unhealthy eating, a sedentary lifestyle, and certain illnesses can slow down the system and cause over-accumulation of harmful pathogens and toxins. This is why, for optimal lymph function, health specialists recommend proper physical activity, healthy eating habits, and lymphatic massage.

The lymphoid massage offers numerous benefits and is one of the best treatments for a sluggish lymphatic system. Before opting for one, you should prepare your body properly and make sure you drink plenty of water. Be aware of the possible side effects, as well as of the lymphatic massage dangers. If you have a certain chronic condition, it might be better to speak to your health provider before you book your massage session.

References (in order of appearance)

Müller, M., Klingberg, K., Wertli, M. M., & Carreira, H. (2018). Manual lymphatic drainage and quality of life in patients with lymphoedema and mixed oedema: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials. Quality of life research: an international journal of quality of life aspects of treatment, care, and rehabilitation, 27(6), 1403–1414.

Thompson, B., Gaitatzis, K., Janse de Jonge, X., and Blackwell, R. (2021). Manual lymphatic drainage treatment for lymphedema: a systematic review of the literature. Journal of Cancer Survivorship 15(1).

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