Manual lymphatic drainage is a pleasant, gentle, and non-invasive massage designed to improve the appearance of the skin by facilitating proper lymphatic flow and drainage. It is often used as an anti-aging procedure, as proper lymphatic drainage results in the reduction of fine lines and wrinkles.
However, it is also used as an effective treatment for a number of skin maladies, such as acne, cellulite and rosacea. The lymphatic system, as part of the immune system, has a number of functions: to remove excess fluid from body tissues; to absorb fats; and to protect the body against disease.
The processes of the lymphatic system may slow down for a variety of reasons, such as autoimmune disorders, environmental conditions, lifestyle choices, and injuries.
Manual lymphatic drainage was originally developed by Emil and Estrid Vodder, both physical therapists in the s.
After finding that many of their patients with chronic colds also had swollen lymph nodes, they began researching the lymphatic system and found that a light, rhythmic massage with stretching movements was effective at stimulating the lymph flow throughout the body. By , their technique had gained recognition in the medical community, and they subsequently presented their findings to a health and beauty committee in Paris.
One of the first things you will notice is that manual lymphatic drainage is not a typical massage. Instead, it is a complex process that should only be performed if you have completed a comprehensive program that includes both theory and hands-on training.
How to Perform Lymphatic Drainage Massage
Although manual lymphatic massage may, at first, seem like a simple massaging technique, if it is performed improperly, it can cause serious side effects for individuals with certain medical conditions, including heart disease, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.
Manual lymphatic drainage consists of an extremely light, feathery pressure, with all movements performed in the direction of the lymphatic flow, toward the right lymphatic duct and the thoracic duct—both of which drain into the circulatory system at the right and left subclavian veins located at the base of the neck, below the clavicle bone. The massage technique of manual lymphatic drainage involves smooth, circular, pump-like strokes where lymph nodes likely exist. Most of the lymph nodes of the body there are more than are located in the face and neck.
Note: Lymphatic drainage may also include the use of lymphatic drainage devices. Some of these devices include compression pumps, electro-lymphatic drainage therapy machines, vacuum systems, and combination units.
Many times this procedure is also performed to lessen the side effects of cosmetic surgery, such as bruising, swelling, and the buildup of scar tissue.
Estheticians in medical offices may also perform manual lymphatic drainage as a supportive service for patients with any number of existing conditions, such as:.
In spa settings, estheticians perform manual lymphatic drainage as part of a relaxing facial, as it increases circulation to the face, reducing puffiness and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
What is MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE? What does MANUAL LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE mean?
Many patients with skin disorders, such as acne and rosacea, also benefit from manual lymphatic drainage, as it aids in the healing process. An initial esthetician training program leading to state licensure does not include study and training in manual lymphatic drainage; therefore, you will always need to seek additional training in this technique. However, many states do not allow estheticians to perform manual lymphatic drainage, regardless of their advanced training in this procedure.
It is always important to check with your state regulatory agency before pursuing training in manual lymphatic drainage. Currently, a handful of states, including Washington State, Utah, and Virginia, recognize a two-tier licensing system for estheticians—esthetician and master esthetician.
The Pump Technique
Only master estheticians are allowed to perform manual lymphatic drainage in these states. To earn a master esthetician state license in states with a two-tier licensing system, you must complete an advanced program beyond your initial esthetician program—consisting of about hours—and take and pass the NIC National Advanced Esthetics written and practical exams.
Training in manual lymphatic drainage encompasses about hours of instruction and covers topics such as:. Enter Zip:.
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