Skip to main content
Massage Therapy

Lymphatic Drainage: For Who and Why?

By July 27, 2021No Comments

Registered Massage Therapist Jennifer Hatton walks us through the critical importance of looking after your lymphatic system

Visit Hillhurst Massage to schedule an appointment with Jennifer

Learn more about Jennifer →

Our lymphatic system plays a major role in our body managing the balance of fluids and proteins, fat transportation and immune cells.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a style of massage therapy developed by Dr. Emil Vodder in the 1920’s to combat the effects of a damaged lymphatic system.  When excess protein rich lymph fluid builds up in the connective tissue it is referred to as lymphedema.  We often see this as a puffiness or swelling in the tissues that does not decrease on its own and creates a general increase in the size of the tissues, especially the limbs.

Lymphedema may be classified as 2 types—primary and secondary.

Patients with primary lymphedema have congenital conditions resulting in a decreased number of lymph nodes.  Secondary lymphedema is most commonly caused by surgeries, cancer treatments and trauma.

Manual Lymphatic Drainage uses a gentle skin stretching technique to push excess fluid towards areas of the body with active lymph nodes.  As a result, we can remove edema, decrease tension and pain, drain inflammatory cells and improve immune function.

Currently, there are no medical procedures or drugs to reverse damage to the lymphatic system.

Without Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapy serious complications can develop including skin changes, fibrosis, loss of limb function, ulcers and cellulitis infections.

The following conditions are indicated for Manual Lymphatic Drainage:

  • Primary Lymphedema;
  • Post Cancer Treatments (e.g. Chemotherapy and Radiation);
  • Post-operative Trauma;
  • Ulcers / Chronic Venous Insufficiency;
  • Lipedema;
  • Osteoarthritis / Rheumatoid Arthritis / Raynaud’s Disease;
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome;
  • Lyme Disease; and
  • Fatigue and Stress Syndromes.

Jennifer Hatton is a registered massage therapist with 20 years of clinical therapeutic massage experience.  She operates Hillhurst Therapeutic and Sports Massage Therapy at The Nardella Clinic.

Patients may book massage appointments online at or calling 403-270-7917.

Subscribe to our newsletter for health tips, educational articles & special offers

Subscribe Now
Close Menu