What Is a Lymphatic Massage?

Therapist performing a lymphatic massage

Do you suffer from persistent and painful swelling in your legs or arms? Take heed, because this is a potential symptom of a condition known as lymphedema.

Lymphedema is a chronic condition characterized by an accumulation of protein-rich fluid called lymph that is transported by your cardiovascular system to your tissues and organs. Normally, this fluid is drained through the body’s lymphatic system which returns it to your heart by way of a network of lymph vessels and lymph nodes. When this process is disrupted, the fluid is instead retained in your tissues, causing a buildup known as edema or congestion that causes your arms and legs to swell.

If left untreated, lymphedema can result in fibrosis (hardening and thickening of the skin), restricted range of motion, and recurring infections.

The good news is that lymphedema can be effectively treated with lymphatic massage, which we offer here at Missouri Vein Specialists. Here’s some more information about lymphatic massage to give you a much better idea of this relaxing treatment.

How Lymphatic Massage Is Done

Lymphatic massage, also known as lymphatic drainage massage or manual lymphatic drainage (MLD), is a gentle form of massage designed to facilitate the proper movement of lymph throughout your body, thereby relieving the swelling in your tissues.

Lymphatic drainage massage consists of a two-step process:

  • Clearing– This involves releasing lymphatic fluid in your tissues
  • Reabsorption– This entails moving the lymphatic fluid to your lymph nodes. This is performed with the use of an intermittent pneumatic compression pump, wrapping the leg or arm with short stretch bandages, and/or having you wear a graduated compression garment.

Benefits of Lymphatic Massage

Lymphatic massage improves blood circulation, thereby helping to restore the normal functioning of your lymphatic and venous system. Once fluid buildup has been reduced in the affected limb and your painful swelling alleviated, Dr. Darling may recommend that you wear an arm of leg sleeve to maintain the reduction.

Studies show that lymphatic drainage massage is particularly beneficial for people 60 years of age and younger. It is often used to relieve lymphedema after breast cancer surgery, but is also useful in the treatment of other conditions including:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Lipedema (excess fat accumulating in your lower body)


Although lymphatic massage is a generally safe treatment, it may not be suitable for you if you have a heart condition, acute kidney failure, active infection, or acute inflammation.

Lymphatic Massage in Liberty and Marshall, MO

If you’re contemplating getting a lymphatic massage and you want to find out if it’s right for you, consult Dr. Scott Darling here at Missouri Vein Specialists. He will gladly give you his expert advice after doing a comprehensive evaluation of your overall health.

Call us today at (816) 792-3400 or use this convenient form to request an appointment with Dr. Darling. We look forward to serving you!