What is Lymphatic Massage?

Lymphatic massage offers many health benefits – from boosting your immune system to improving the appearance of your skin. Learn more about what is lymphatic massage and how it can help improve your overall health. Plus, a DIY tutorial to do it at home!

What Is Lymphatic Massage Shoulders

What is Lymphatic Massage?

Lymphatic massage, also referred to as Manual Lymphatic Drainage, is a gentle, light rhythmic touch therapy often recommended to patients to heal injuries, improve lymphatic flow, and boost immunity.

Lymphatic massage targets the lymphatic system, which plays a primary role in fighting off infections and maintaining balance in your body. Just like the circulatory system of the blood, the lymphatic system requires regular maintenance in clearing harmful blockages in order to promote healthy circulation and overall well-being. This is where lymphatic massage can aid in accelerating lymphatic flow.

Can Lymphatic Massages Improve Your Health?

Lymphatic massage can provide benefits to everybody, but can especially aid in the treatment of:

  • Lymphedema
  • Lipedema
  • Dercum’s disease
  • Post-surgical healing
  • Arthritis
  • Migraines
  • Edema
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Lyme disease
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic pain disorders
  • Weight loss
  • Acne

Benefits of Lymphatic Massage

1. It reduces post-surgical swelling.

Lymphatic drainage massage is often recommended to surgical and cancer patients to reduce swelling and help quicken the healing process. The therapeutic massage technique simulates a pumping action to increase flow to the lymph nodes and clear away toxins, excess water and proteins.

2. It can boost your immune system.

The lymphatic system is key to a strong immune response because it aids in maintaining fluid balance throughout your body and clears out bacteria from tissues. Lymphatic massage helps to increase your overall blood circulation thereby creating a more efficient transport process of disease-fighting white blood cells.

3. It can improve the health and appearance of your skin.

Lymphatic massage can help reduce bloating, swelling and water retention, providing a temporary boost to the skin’s overall appearance. It can also help to return the skin to its normal elasticity, alleviate eczema and acne symptoms, and diminish the appearance of scars. “Lymphatic drainage massage is like getting a facial from the inside out,” says Ayurvedic esthetician and lymphatic drainage practitioner, Katrina Amato.

What Is Lymphatic Massage

How Much Does Lymphatic Drainage Massage Cost? Is It Covered by Insurance?

Sessions usually last 60-90 minutes and average costs range from $100-$200/session.

If you have lymphedema or another health condition, your session costs may be covered by your health insurance if massage therapy is deemed “medically necessary” and prescribed by your doctor. Contact your health insurance provider to understand what is covered under your current policy.

Consider asking your doctor or naturopath for a referral. You can also browse these websites to find a lymphatic drainage massage therapist nearest you:

Ways to Boost Your Lymphatic System

1. Eat well and stay hydrated.

Boost your lymphatic system with proper nutrition. Raw nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens, low glycemic fruits, ground flaxseed, and avocados are foods that can support the lymphatic system. Drinking clean water and herbal teas like echinacea, wild indigo root, astragalus, and goldenseal may also be very helpful.

2. Try a DIY lymphatic drainage massage.

Simple lymphatic drainage facial massage tutorial from San Diego-based skincare brand Blyssen Beauty

Want to try your own DIY drainage massage? Here are some basic guidelines to follow:

  • Keep your body and hands relaxed. You can do some of the techniques lying down for extra relaxation.
  • Focus on keeping your movements light and slow.
  • Do not massage infected or swollen areas.
  • Drink lots of water.

You can also implement these exercises for extra lymphatic support:

3. Hydrotherapy, breathwork and exercise!

  1. Hot and cold showers, infrared sauna and cold plunges can all get your lymphatic system moving.
  2. Dry brushing 
  3. Deep breathing
  4. Move your body!

Bottom Line

Just like your cardiovascular system and all the other systems in your body, your lymphatic system needs tender love and care, too! Try out a lymphatic drainage massage and see how it may improve your overall well being.


This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. 

Looking for More Health + Wellbeing Resources?

Explore our Events Calendar for upcoming yoga events, meditation classes and wellness workshops around San Diego. Or browse all of our Wellbeing articles for the latest wellness news and trends!

Join our Newsletter

Get weekly updates with new articles, trending topics, upcoming events and more happenings in your San Diego community!

Subscription Form

"*" indicates required fields

Join Our Newsletter

Get weekly updates with new articles, trending topics, upcoming events and more happenings in your San Diego community!

"*" indicates required fields