Morellato’s method involves physiotherapeutic maneuvers based on the foundations of a gentle massage, which can be firm around the gastric area while maintaining rhythmic strokes and specific compressions—but I didn’t find it to be at all painful. In fact, I was so relaxed that I nearly fell asleep.
Morellato worked on one side at a time and encouraged me to lift the limb she’d just worked on to compare how light it felt compared to the other. As someone whose not been the most active of pregnant people (read: I sit or lie down for circa 22 hours of the day), it was exactly the energy boost I needed. I felt lighter and brighter, and it helped my digestive system (which has been quite sluggish due to a batch of iron supplements). I wish I could afford weekly sessions to cancel out my sofa sessions.
Curious about the treatment? We asked Morellato to give us a full rundown of what lymphatic drainage entails…
So what exactly is lymphatic drainage?
Lymphatic drainage is a type of gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body. The lymphatic system is part of the body’s immune system and helps remove toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
Who can benefit from lymphatic drainage?
Morellato suggests those looking for a detox or to speed up blood circulation, metabolism, or the lymphatic system as well as those feeling tired, puffy, bloated, constipated, facing menopause, PMS, hormonal imbalance, and other pregnancy, postpartum, and post-surgery treatments could potentially benefit.
What are the main health benefits?
According to Cedars-Sinai Hospital, “Despite celebrities claiming that lymphatic drainage massage makes them ‘red-carpet ready,’ there’s no evidence that lymphatic drainage massage can help you slim down.”
However, there are other benefits to full-body lymphatic drainage. These include but are not limited to speeding up the lymphatic system and body circulation, detoxing the body, and boosting the immune and digestive systems to make you feel lighter and healthier. It also helps reduce swelling, speeds up surgical recovery, improves immunity, digestion and gut health (including decreased bloating and constipation), and, of course, boosts relaxation. No wonder it’s such an in-demand treatment.
It is becoming popular during pregnancy, how does this work and what are the benefits?
Lymphatic drainage is most recommended after the first trimester, Morellato says, adding that it is very common to have a build-up of fluid in the body in pregnancy because of the pressure the uterus puts on the pelvic and cava veins (those which receive blood from the inferior body parts). This slows down blood circulation; with a slower blood flow, the pregnant woman’s body sends more water to these parts of the body, increasing the volume of liquids, which causes accumulation of fluids and swelling. Typically, the most affected areas are the legs, ankles, and feet, but arms and hands can also be affected.