Lymphedema is caused by a blockage in the lymphatic system. The blockage prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and as the fluid builds up, swelling arises. Lymphedema is commonly caused by the removal of or damage to your lymph nodes as a part of cancer treatment. While there is cure for lymphedema, it can be controlled.
Lymphatic drainage massage aims to improve drainage of waste byproducts and toxins from the body using the body’s own cleansing system. The lymph vessels collect dead cells, waste products, bacteria, viruses, inorganic substances, water and fats, and then gradually move them to lymph nodes and out of the body.
By performing lymphatic drainage massage correctly, we can stimulate the opening of these pathways and increase the volume of outflow by as much as 20 times. But if a massage therapist applies too much pressure, they may actually diminish the lymphmatic flow. This is one reason that more aggressive styles of massage are contraindicated in areas of edema.