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Massage for Health
By Adam Whitehead
Most people enjoy a pampering massage to reduce stress, decrease muscle tension and relax the mind. Taking care of your greatest asset (your body) is a major focus for many. We exercise, eat right, meditate, and do our best to keep our bodies clean and healthy. Massage therapy can help cleanse your body, improve immunity, greatly reduce any excess fluid and provide gentle relaxation.
Allow me to offer some insight about our bodies before I tell you about this fantastic therapy. The lymphatic system in our body is designed to return excess fluid from tissues and defend against infection. It has vessels (like veins) to transport the fluid it collects throughout the body. Lymph vessels connect to lymph nodes which filter and clean the fluid as well as produce cells to kill off disease causing bacteria in the body. The fluid collected is essentially the left-overs. This waste from our tissue is being nourished and all the particles or cells that don’t belong. I like to think of the lymphatic system as the “garbage system” of the body, it takes all the stuff I don’t want and gets it out for me!
So how can massage affect the lymphatic system? Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a hands-on approach to effectively increasing the amount of fluid being processed by the lymph system. Unlike the cardiovascular system which has a powerful pump (the heart) to move blood throughout our bodies, the lymphatic system relies upon muscle movements and deep diaphragmic breathing to push the lymph fluid through. MLD utilizes a shallow gentle movement to push fluid through the system in which most of the vessels are just beneath the skin. As the amount of lymph fluid being processed by the system increases so does the health and cleanliness of the tissues. It is the best cleanse on the market!
MLD is a must have and has become famous for its effects on clients who have built up body fluid called Edema. Edema is a symptom that can be caused by many factors and is basically a swelling of the body tissues. Most frequently this is seen as a result of Lymphedema, a compromise or constraint to the lymph system. Edema is commonly visible in the legs (usually around the ankles) and also seen in the arms. It has been estimated that 40% of patients that underwent surgery for breast cancer develop some degree of upper extremity lymphedema.
Lymphedema is only one case in which MLD is a successful treatment. Due to the swelling around injury sites MLD can greatly decrease the pain and healing times when recovering from any injury. Sinus congestion can be drained by using the techniques of MLD. Auto-Immune Diseases and Compromised Immune Systems benefit not only from the relaxation that the body experiences but the heightened activity of the lymph nodes to better protect and cleanse all of the systems of the body. Cancer patients will also experience great results with improving health and body function.
MLD is one of the most underrated therapies of our time. That’s right, this is one of the most amazing and beneficial hands-on techniques to promoting healthy living. It detoxifies the body, increases fluid movement, aides in injury recovery, decreases pain symptoms and relieves the body of stress!
For those seeking general detox, I recommend one 90-minute full body session. When recovering from an injury like a sprained ankle, I would recommend a 30-minute session every other day. For lymphedema or other auto-immune diseases it requires a case-by-case analysis to see what would be the most beneficial.
MLD can be beneficial and healing to everyone, for some it can even save them from a life of pain and discomfort. My name is Adam Whitehead, LMT owner of Square 1 Therapy, and I would really like to hear from you. Call (678) 467-3259 or email me at Adam@Square1Therapy.com to schedule an appointment or to get more information about how massage can benefit you.