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When people consider the benefits of massage, their minds go to the obvious, decreased stress and tension. But, massage is beneficial to every system in the body, alleviating pain associated with chronic inflammation.

Obviously, all body systems are vital to our health. Today, we’re covering an often overlooked system, the lymphatic. Your lymphatic system runs parallel to your circulatory system, rather than transporting blood, it moves white blood cells through the body.

The Lymphatic System

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. Lymphocytes work to remove antigens from the body. T cells and B cells are the two main types of lymphocytes. Both work hard to keep the body healthy.  

When the lymphatic system becomes clogged with bacteria and other antigens, lymphedema may occur. Lymphedema causes severe swelling and inflammation in the arms and legs.

Massage’s Role a Healthy Lymphatic System  

So, how does massage play a role in lymphatic system health? Well, research continues to prove that massage therapy increases lymphocyte production.   

Approximately seventy percent of the body’s lymphatic vessels are located just below the skin. Targeted massage therapy consisting of very light, rhythmic strokes can trigger movement within the vessels. Consistent massages can alleviate lymphedema and promote healthy lymphatic function.  

Massage therapy is supportive, not curative care.  After diagnosis, massage therapy can be added to a regimen of supportive care. Massage helps improve circulation and breathing, which in turn helps the body heal and manage the condition to prevent future pain.

It’s important to talk to your healthcare professional before incorporating massage therapy into your healthcare plan. Likewise, you should inform your massage therapist of any underlying health issues prior to beginning treatment. Traditional medicine and massage therapy work hand-in-hand, improving the patient’s overall health and quality of life.

Looking for more ways to learn about autoimmunity, gut health, and the role massage plays? Our new course series Patho Made Easy is 100% online CE courses for massage therapists.

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