The benefits of lymphatic drainage massage to help relieve common menopausal symptoms
Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a gentle and calming form of bodywork that focuses specifically on the Lymphatic system. Light, rhythmic movements are necessary as the system is located just beneath the skin. Unlike other types of massage the lymph will not drain properly with excessive pressure.
The lymphatic system plays a major role in maintaining and supporting a healthy immune system. It is a finely balanced network of vessels, tissues and organs that carry away fluid and waste proteins from the interstitial space or extracellular matrix (the area between your cells) by gently stimulating lymph flow, the lymphatic massage aids in the removal of toxins and waste products from the body.
If a healthy immune system becomes compromised due to illness, surgery, poor lifestyle, toxic overload or hormonal imbalance this can lead to a range of issues, including, tissue swelling, poor skin tone, excess weight, cellulite, headaches, joint pain fatigue and greater susceptibility to illness.
Lymphatic massage has a number of proven benefits including:
- Reduces swelling due to injury or post op recovery
- Reduces water retention
- Improved body shape
- Aids weight management
- Improves digestion, resulting in feeling lighter and less bloated
- Promotes better sleep
- Reduces anxiety
- Aids healing and recovery after exercise
Lymphatic massage is a holistic approach gaining recognition for its potential benefits for supporting our parasympathetic nervous system ‘rest and digest’ mode.
During perimenopause and menopause, women experience many physical and emotional changes that can be overwhelming. These changes often trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response, activating the sympathetic nervous system.
Lymphatic massage induces a state of deep relaxation, encouraging the parasympathetic nervous system to take over. As a result it helps to alleviate stress and anxiety, allowing us to feel more grounded amongst the hormonal fluctuations and emotional ups and downs of perimenopause and menopause.
A 2017 study in the journal of Physical Therapy Science reports the effects of lymphatic drainage on women experiencing menopausal symptoms such as water retention, mood swings, insomnia and fatigue found that after a single lymphatic drainage massage the stress related hormone cortisol was significantly reduced with mental and physical effects being reported.
Although lymphatic massage does not directly impact hormone levels, its ability to promote overall relaxation and support of immune function may indirectly contribute to a sense of balance during this transitional time.
When it comes to hormones, the main type of imbalance is ‘oestrogen dominance’ The inability of healthy gut bacteria to facilitate the removal of excess oestrogen, levels of xenoestrogens found in food and plastics and other endocrine disrupters. Most women have too much oestrogen relative to progesterone. Most of the struggles with hormone imbalance affecting the female brain and body may be associated with oestrogen dominance. This includes fibroids, fibrocystic breasts, heavy and painful periods, hormonal headaches, pms and irregular cycles.
Lymph fluid is non-polar so attracted to fatty substances, while avoiding polar substances. Oestrogen is is more polar than progesterone which means lymph ‘attracts’ progesterone more easily.
The health of a woman’s lymphatic system will have a direct impact on her ability to move progesterone around the body. Because progesterone is so critical to balance hormones, it is so important for the lymph to be moving freely and act as a delivery system for progesterone to balance out oestrogen.