Most people are familiar with the body’s blood vessels which carry blood to and from the tissues. But few understand there is another equally vital system of vessels that remove cell waste, excess fluid, Proteins, viruses and bacteria. This is the lymph system, which picks up fluid and waste products from the spaces between the cells and then filter and cleans them. When the Lymph System is backed up or blocked after trauma or surgery we can feel sluggish, puffy, swollen, tired which leaves us more susceptible to colds and infections.


Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LDM) is a specific type of bodywork that is rhythmic in motion and light in pressure. This helps the body’s lymph system to work better, which in turn supports the body’s immune system. This work is very relaxing, slow and repetitive. It works deeply with the autonomic nervous system to calm both the body and mind.


If you feel sluggish, or are experiencing mild to moderate swelling, or are recovering from a sports injury, or from surgery, LDM is for you!! It is also great for people with sinus problems, puffy eyes, and for those who are looking to detox the body.


Athletes & Surgical Patients:
After a sports injury or surgery, lymph vessels can become overwhelmed with the demand placed on them. When the tissues are swollen, deep tissue techniques may actually cause damage to the lymph vessels and the surrounding structures. Lymphatic Massage is the treatment of choice, because it helps the body to remove proteins and waste products (such as bruising) from the affected area and reduce the swelling. This helps to reduce pressure on the cells and allow them to reproduce faster to heal the body. I have seen great results with clients who have had joint replacement surgery. If you have recently undergone dental or plastic surgery, LDM would also be great for you, as it reduces pain, swelling and bruising, and helps the body to heal more quickly.


Fibromyalgia/Chronic Fatigue Sufferers:
Since LDM is so gentle, it is well tolerated by those suffering from these illnesses, even though they often experience sore trigger points throughout the body. By encouraging lymph flow and removing waste products, this gentle form of bodywork can help to restore immune function and improve vitality.


In essence, Lymphatic Drainage Therapy works to:


* help re-circulate the body’s fluids
* clear stagnate areas between cells,
* stimulate optimal function of the immune system
* promotes a state of relaxation and balance within the Autonomic Nervous System


As the body responds results can include the following:


* Reduction in edema (swelling)
* Detoxification of body
* Improved recovery from joint replacement surgeries
* Reduced pain & swelling during recovery from plastic surgery (tummy tuck, liposuction, breast augmentation or reduction, facial surgeries)
* Regeneration of tissue from burning or scaring
* Valuable support pre and post surgery


This is a completely different type of massage. Light rhythmic motion over the skin, in essence stretching the skin to help facilitate movement of fluid between cells within the closed lymphatic system. This is really relaxing work the works of calm the body as well as the mind. Breathing techniques are also used in facilitating the movement of lymph in the body.

Jayne McCloskey

Lymphatic Drainage

As with any bodywork treatment, those interested in lymphatic massage are advised to consult with a physician if there is any doubt about how a session might impact overall health and well-being. 

Lymph drainage is not recommended for anyone experiencing acute inflammation, fever, malignant tumors, heart problems, kidney dysfunction, or any other presenting health issue that could be exacerbated by increasing fluid circulation.


Absolute Contraindications:

  • Acute inflammation – caused by an antigen – bacteria, viruses and poisons are contraindicated. Tissues will be red, hot, and painful with congestion accompanied by fever. Lymphatic drainage will push these substances into the lymph channels before the body has a chance to eliminate them. This way one can spread the toxic substances throughout the body. It is best to wait a few days until the condition is not acute and the body has had a chance to clean up the area.
  • Acute Phlebitis – inflammation of the vein.
  • Malignant tumors/disease – including tumor recurrence or metastases. There is a fear of spreading the cancer. Treated cancers ok to proceed with MLD with oncology and specialists notes regarding treatment received. Note: if palliative then proceeding with MLD to reduce symptoms/edemas is consented by patient/specialist/GP.
  • Acute Thrombosis – can lead to free floating blood clots in the circulatory system. If treated thrombus ok to proceed with MLD
  • Congestive heart problems – if the heart is not fully functioning, oedema can be lymphodynamic due to a lack of venous return. Pumping more fluid in the heart it may stress it more than the actual condition.

Relative Indications/Precautions – may require a shortened session first:

  • Kidney problems – check with GP before treating.
  • Auto-Immune diseases – start with a shortened session first in a remitted state.
  • Bronchial asthma – this can stimulate the vagus nerve. Being with shortened treatment. Sternal treatment omitted.
  • Thyroid problems – hypo/hyperthyroidism reduced treatment around the throat.
  • Medications – can affect your body needs to increase dosage by draining the interstitial spaces.
  • Chemotherapy – increasing the dosage by draining the interstitial spaces.
  • First three months of pregnancy – no treatment 1st trimester if history of miscarriage.
  • Menstruation/Endometriosis/polycystic ovaries – assessment as MLD can increase the flow.
  • Cortisone Injections – no treatment advised directly following injection.
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)/Diabetes – may require a shortened treatment.