Does lymphatic drainage massage work?

We’re often asked by patients, ‘Does lymphatic drainage massage work?’ This is because it’s such a gentle action and so relaxing when we’re expecting pain that we assume it can’t be doing anything to help swelling.

Wrong. It absolutely is.

I think part of the problem is that people often refer to MLD (manual lymphatic drainage) as a massage. It is, in that it is a physical therapy which helps your body heal, but that aside, it is totally different to any massage. It doesn’t use oil, the touch is light enough so as not to crush your lymph vessels which sit just under the surface of your skin. And the action is one of pump to push rather than needing.

But, we’ve written a lot about how does lymphatic drainage work? so rather than go through that again, we thought this time we’d show you some real evidence.

Before and after MLD massages, our clients

Here is one of our patients who has kindly let us run through their liposuction aftercare in pictures. So here in response to your queries about ‘Does lymph drainage massage work?’ you can actually see the fluid drain away in real time over the days and weeks following 360 lipo.


So, does lymphatic drainage work?

Rather than us tell you that it does, how about you have a look at some before and after pictures and decide for yourself whether the water (called lymph) associated with lymphedema dissipates from tissue after MLD.

Day of liposuction surgery after on stomach and flanks

This is the day of surgery. Here you can see where the blood has risen to the surface, and some bruising is already apparent. You can also see just how much fluid is lying under the surface of the skin by how creased it looks without the compression garment.Before & after liposuction to stomach and flanks









In contrast, after 1 hour with our MLD massage therapist at Essential Feeling, Essex, you can see how the flow of toxins are moving nicely and already we have been able to reduce chronic swelling. The skin is much more smooth, and that dimpled look a little like the appearance of cellulite has vanished.

Jump ahead one more day of lymphatic drainage massages.

Before & after post lipo mld massage











If you’re still asking does lymphatic massage work; we took these pictures exactly one hour apart. Look at the difference a few circular and pumping motions with light pressure can make on your appearance. And be clear, here we are talking specifically about surgical aftercare and specifically lipo 360 aftercare, but lymphatic drainage works regardless of whether you have had an operation.

Does Lymphatic drainage work if you haven’t had surgery?

You don’t even have had to have been under the knife. If you hold any water at all, suffer with fluid retention, particularly at your time of the month or swollen legs, then just look at the difference in the tummy’s top area and above the pubic bone marked above.

How does lymphatic massage work?

The tissues that our certified massage therapists are working lie just under the surface of your skin. Within these are a network of vein like structures which lead to nodes and eventually run through these intersections into your bladder and out.

There is no sequence to lymphatic drainage post surgery, but it is one system that runs throughout your entire body and as such we will often work everywhere to avoid moving fluid from one site to the next, only for it to return to its original site.

By only using enough pressure to stimulate this venous type structure (we don’t need deep work for effective lymphatic draining), we can stimulate excess fluid to flow in the correct direction to exit your body.

Because the style of treatment is a pumping (instead of a heart like system as with your veins and blood) we don’t need oil. Lymphatic drainage massages are a dry therapy where we gently stretch the skin, which is enough to move excess lymph.

Lymphatic drainage massage does it work as a facial?

Yes, if you’re still asking, does lymphatic drainage massage really work? then it’s easy to see on our face. This client had half her face done with MLD, while we left the other side untouched.

Chin lipo massage lymphatic drainage london

Note the difference to the shape of the face. One side is significantly less swollen than the other halfway through post surgery lipo massage

You can clearly see that the left of her face as we look at the before and after photo is less puffy. The creases around her nose and jowls are less pronounced, the shape of her jaw is tighter, and even her neck has a tighter skin tone.

Are you just set up to help people who have had plastic surgery?

No, we specialise in plastic surgery aftercare facilities, of which MLD and deep oscillation is a big part. However, there are way more benefits of lymphatic drainage than purely for cosmetic appeal.

Helping your body with draining away waste fluid helps with all health conditions involving your immune function. It actually supports your immune system in operating optimally. By moving these waste cells out of your body, you not only look better on the outside, but you feel healthier too. It’s not unusual for symptoms of chronic pain and aches to disappear in a matter of days.

This is because, if lymphatic fluid is stagnant, it causes a buildup of toxins which cause all manner of trouble. On top of the inevitable swelling, which puts pressure on joints and nerves. Lymphatic movement massage techniques maintain a proper feed of nutrients to tissues and organs, whilst we encourage drainage of waste.

How do you do this then?

There are a wide range of specific techniques. We use the massage technique and upward and downward strokes based on our experience. We are not only trained in these effective gentle movements, but have also spent years working with many a healthcare providers as their professional support.

Some people think this is as complicated as dry brushing. This could certainly be a part of your aftercare, but it is not the entirety.

What conditions could lymphatic drainage benefit?

Our body needs a healthy lymphatic, so anything that needs us to be healthy to operate well can benefit from MLD.

Here are a few examples:

Swollen arms and legs including potentially reducing thigh circumference

Constricted muscle action, or tight muscles

Digestive issues

Get rid of excess lymph fluids (water retention) and relieve lymphedema. So in a way it can help with weight loss but only water weight

Post any medical treatment including removing extra fluid but also toxins after a bout of hormone or antibiotic drugs

Rheumatoid arthritis

Lymphatic circulation

Breast cancer surgery

Just a point, a way you can help yourself improve lymphatic drainage naturally is to stay hydrated and move regularly.

To book, text Karen at Essential Feeling today on 07757 946023