When it comes to helping ease menopause symptoms, a normal massage can help in so many ways; from giving you time to relax, help alleviate pain and reduce leg swelling.
What makes lymphatic massage extra special for menopausal women, is that the technique can help with all of the above, plus a lot more. And that is because this specialised type of massage focuses on the lymphatic system, which basically functions as our bodies own natural waste drainage system. By massaging this area it can help flush out water and excess toxins that have built up inside of us. Think of it as recharging your skin from the inside out.
In order to properly understand how beneficial lymphatic massage can be for menopausal women, it is important to know what area of the body it is actually targeting. Sometimes the system needs a little extra help to effectively cleanse your body of unwanted toxins. The goal of a lymphatic drainage massage is to give it a ‘reboot’, so it can work more efficiently.
The lymphatic system runs like a network beneath our skin and transports the waste inside of us to our kidneys; which then enables us to pass it (via urine). The lymphatic system’s highway of special vessels, where the lymphatic fluid flow, are situated throughout our body. When it is working well, it helps to detoxify our tissues and organs and protect us from diseases by eliminating bacteria and viruses. It also plays an important role for our immune system in transporting proteins, lipids and hormones around.
However, when it is not working efficiently; perhaps when our hormones flare up, post-surgery or even if you have had excess amounts of alcohol, it can become sluggish. Helping your body be toxic free is enormously beneficial and this is why lymphatic massage is such a good idea for menopausal women. By ridding your body of built up toxins, you can feel lighter, more energised, less stressed and it can aid good sleep; something many menopausal women only dream of!
So what does a lymphatic massage involve?
Instead of the usual kneading and pummelling of the body that you might expect from a normal massage, the technique involves long rhythmic strokes which are designed to stimulate the lymph glands. By doing this, it encourages the flow to head in the right direction, back to the circulatory system and helps to flush out all the toxic waste inside of us.
Although elements of it are like a gentle massage, more compression is put on the gastric area of our stomachs to help stimulate the lymph glands. The technique does not hurt at all but your therapist will advise you on when to breathe in and out to ensure the right pressure is applied. Unlike a normal massage which helps with tissues and muscle, a more pressurised touch is needed to target the lymphatic system.
Expect your legs and arms to get a massage to encourage the fluid to move up towards the kidneys and your therapist may also put their hands on your lymph nodes at the neck, the armpit, and the top of the thigh.
According to Flavia Morellato, a lymphatic drainage expert, these movements help your body to become toxin-free and “wake up the lymphatic system.
“When your body is toxin-free, it’s easier to maintain internal balance and manage stress effectively – two things you really need to ease the discomforts of menopause.”
Below, Flavia lists some potential benefits of lymphatic drainage on menopause.
- Reducing fluid retention: Menopause can cause water retention in some women, which can lead to swollen legs, feet, and ankles. Lymphatic drainage can help to improve the circulation of lymphatic fluid, which can reduce the build-up of excess fluid in the body and alleviate swelling.
- Boosting immune function: The lymphatic system plays a vital role in the immune system, helping to remove waste and toxins from the body. Lymphatic drainage can help to stimulate the immune system, which can be beneficial for women who may experience a weakened immune system during menopause.
- Relieving hot flushes and night sweats: Some women experience hot flushes and night sweats during menopause, which can be uncomfortable and disruptive to sleep. Lymphatic drainage can help to improve circulation and promote relaxation, which may reduce the frequency and intensity of these symptoms.
- Improving mood: Menopause can be a challenging time for some women, and mood changes, such as anxiety and depression, can occur. Lymphatic drainage can help to promote relaxation and reduce stress, which can improve mood and overall well-being.
As a former personal trainer and sports massage therapist turned Menopause Workplace Expert, Lauren Chiren believes lymphatic massage may potentially be beneficial for people experiencing symptoms of menopause.
“Lymphatic massage can be a relaxing and calming therapy that can help to reduce stress and anxiety. Massage has been shown to increase the production of endorphins, which are the body’s natural “feel-good” hormones, and can help to promote feelings of relaxation and well-being.
“It could help reduce fluid retention as menopause can cause hormonal fluctuations that can lead to this, which can cause uncomfortable swelling and bloating.
“It should help to improve circulation as menopause can also lead to changes in blood flow, which can cause symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats. Lymphatic massage can help to improve circulation by stimulating the flow of lymphatic fluid, which could also help to reduce inflammation and promote healing.”
Finally, if you want to help optimize your lymphatic system at home, here are some tips from Flavia.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your lymphatic system functioning properly by promoting the flow of lymph.
- Exercise regularly: Regular exercise, particularly activities that involve movement of your arms and legs, can help to stimulate lymphatic flow and improve circulation.
- Practice deep breathing: Deep breathing exercises, such as diaphragmatic breathing, can help to stimulate lymphatic flow by increasing pressure in the chest and abdomen.
- Eat a healthy diet: Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help to support lymphatic function by providing essential nutrients.
- Practice dry brushing: Dry brushing involves using a soft-bristled brush to gently massage your skin in circular motions, which can help to stimulate lymphatic flow and improve circulation.
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