Sunday, October 8, 2017

Lymphatic Massage, Clogged Drains and Fibromyalgia Pain

In 2015 investigators Yuan SL, Matsutani LA, and Marques AP noted lymphatic massage as the most helpful type of massage for fibromyalgia. So what is lymphatic massage and why is it important to our health?

The lymph system

To understand why manual lymphatic massage is beneficial for those of us with fibromyalgia, we must first understand how it works.

Courtesy via Google
The purpose of our lymph system is to maintain fluid balance in our body’s tissue. Lymph vessels carry lymph fluid around our body and through our lymph nodes where cellular trash is filtered and collected. Special blood cells, called macrophages, then digest the cellular debris before recycled lymph fluid is returned to circulation as plasma, the liquid part of blood.

Unlike our blood circulation, our lymph system is passive. This means circulation of lymph fluid depends solely on contraction of surrounding muscles during exercise, body movement, deep breathing, and properly functioning organs. When movement is disrupted, excessive lymph accumulates leading to swelling, called edema, and a buildup of toxins in our tissue. 

As a nurse and a patient, I know the important role of the lymph system. I have idiopathic edema—a fancy way of saying “yes, you are swelling, but we don’t know why”. In 1994, Deodhar AA, Fisher RA, Blacker CV, and Woolf AD concluded that rheumatologists should be aware of fluid retention syndrome and fibromyalgia. I couldn’t find any recent data on this. But, I suspect this type of swelling in fibromyalgia could be due to immune system dysfunction as identified by the FM/a® blood test. Because of this long-standing issue, I had to get creative when recovering from skin cancer surgery on my leg. I knew I needed to optimize my already damaged immune system so I could heal.

For any number of reasons, our lymph system sometimes needs help to reduce swelling. That’s where lymphatic massage comes in.

What is lymphatic massage?

Lymphatic massage, also known as Vodder Lymphatic Massage, was pioneered by Dr. Vodder it in the 1930’s for treating chronic sinusitis and other immune disorders. The therapist manipulates the body externally through massage, which opens lymphatic ducts and helps reduce stagnation and generalized swelling. Lymphatic massage encourages the flow of lymph fluid through muscles and tissues and into the lymph system for circulation. 

Manual Lymph Drainage (Vodder Technique) massage requires special training. You can find a therapist at Dr. Vodder School of International.

*There are some health conditions where massage should be avoided.

Additional reading:
Exercise and the Forgotten Lymph (from my website)

In healing,,Celeste

"Adversity is only an obstacle if we fail to see opportunity."

~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~ • ~

Celeste Cooper, RN
Author—Patient—Freelance Writer at Health Central & ProHealth Advocate

Celeste’s Website:

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All blogs and comments are based on the author's opinions and are not meant to replace medical advice.  


A Chronic Voice said...

Thought this link might be of interest to you too - very exciting, lympatic system extends to our brains:

The Pained Ink Slayer said...

WOW, Sheryl. This is groundbreaking and timely with the article. Thank you so much for sharing. I encourage everyone reading this to follow the link. In healing, Celeste

Tanvi said...

Hi Celeste,

My name is Anuj Agarwal. I'm Founder of Feedspot.

I would like to personally congratulate you as your blog Celeste Cooper has been selected by our panelist as one of the Top 50 CFS Blogs on the web.

I personally give you a high-five and want to thank you for your contribution to this world. This is the most comprehensive list of Top 50 CFS Blogs on the internet and I’m honored to have you as part of this!

Also, you have the honor of displaying the badge on your blog.


The Pained Ink Slayer said...

Thank you Anuj. However, my blog content is eclectic, I write on chronic pain, fibromyalgia, myofascial pain syndrome, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME/CFS), education and advocacy. I wouldn't be a good fit for your needs, but I wish you the best.

The Pained Ink Slayer said...

Anuj, I do want to thank you for the honorable mention on your website. I see my blog is among many fellow bloggers that I admire greatly. I appreciate your dedication to proving your followers such great content. In healing, Celeste

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