Surgical Lymphatic Draining Massage

Have you noticed your body swelling or bloating?

Have your tummy or legs gotten that swollen look?

Maybe your Lymphatic System is blocked or not working efficiently due to Lymphoedema!


Lympho what?  I hear you say… Ok back up a little…. to fully understand lymphoedema, it helps to first know a bit about our bodies lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is part of our body’s immune system, it helps to protect us from infection and disease. Lymph fluid passes through lymph nodes which are connected by a network of lymph vessels. The lymph nodes are found throughout the whole body. This lymph runs alongside the circulatory system, but unlike blood that is pumped by the heart and under pressure throughout the bodies arteries and veins, the lymph system has no pump, and relies on muscles contracting in order for it to move around the body. The lymphatic system acts like a one-way drainage system transporting fluid from our body’s tissues into the bloodstream.

A node, that sounds cool, but what is one exactly?

A node, simply put, is defined as a point in a network that many pathways intersect. The lymph nodes are found throughout the body, but mainly in the neck, armpits, groin and tummy (technical word). Nodes filter, destroy, trap and break down bacteria and germs or other potentially harmful cells (even damaged or cancerous cells) within the lymph fluid. Nodes are many sizes, some as small as a pinhead and some are the size of a baked bean. The number of lymph nodes in the body differs from person to person, but it’s somewhere between 400-700. Here’s a mad fact for you: Armpits have 15-30 small nodes whereas the abdomen (tummy) could have up to 300-400 nodes.

Sometimes lymph nodes trap bacteria and viruses that they cannot destroy straight away. Often when you have an infection, lymph nodes can swell and become tender to touch as they’re fighting infections. Potentially even cancer cells can spread into the lymph nodes from a cancer that’s in another part of the body, as it’s all connected. There is also a cancer that starts in the lymph nodes themselves, this is called lymphoma – but that’s a discussion for another time…Let’s just say that if this happens, the lymph nodes become swollen but are usually painless. If you develop a painless swollen lymph node, always get it checked out by your GP.

A few massage therapists at You Massage Therapy, specialize in a technique, called Manual Lymphatic Drainage, MLD for short.

Perhaps you’ve seen it on our website, in the services we offer?

So, what is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

It’s a light, superficial massage that works by gently stimulating the lymphatic system through a series of specialized strokes and pumps to activate all of the lymph nodes, vessels and organs, as well as encouraging fluid circulation and cell regeneration.  Lymphatic Drainage Massage promotes detoxification, facilitates healing and supports the immune system. The rhythm, pressure and motion of lymphatic drainage massages work to reduce pain, stress and promote general vitality and well-being.


Can’t I just have any old regular massage and it do the same thing?

Sadly not, traditional styles of massage like: Holistic massage, Swedish massage, Deep tissue and Sports massage – all have the goal of increasing blood circulation to the muscles, and go much deeper than is required in MLD, which can actually be detrimental to the lymphatic system, bringing more fluid to the already swollen areas and blocked nodes.

What might Lymphatic Drainage Massage be good for?

  • Head colds, sore throats, sinus, eye or ear issues
  • Swollen arms, legs and ankles
  • Bloating of the tummy and hips
  • Breastfeeding
  • Relaxation
  • Detoxification and improving the immune system
  • Tight skin or a pressure build up
  • Discomfort, inflammation/swelling and bruising after a surgery

The majority of our clients that come to have lymphatic drainage massage, have been referred by their GP or surgeon before and after cosmetic surgery operations and liposuction. This is called pre-op and post-op massage. Lymphatic Drainage Massage promotes detoxification, reduces the fluid retention and oedemas, accelerates healing and minimizes the pain, bruising and scarring. Done correctly, Manual Lymphatic Drainage is a necessary complement to your cosmetic or reconstructive surgery.



It is recommended that you have 2-6 treatments prior to surgery; ideally the 1-2 weeks and then 1-2 days before surgery. The increase in lymphatic flow facilitates the healing process by priming the nodes and clearing out the body’s fluids and cellular debris, cleansing future incision sites making ready to operate and keeping free from infection. A firmer, drained skin is also preferable to a surgeon when making incisions, it helps keep them even and scars heal neater after.


2-6 treatments are also recommended post-op, which can start 24-hours after surgery (with GP’s approval). The surgeries incisions can damage the lymph vessels, which can depress the function of the lymphatic system. It takes about 2 weeks for these vessels to regenerate naturally, so in this case, MLD is used to stimulate the temporary rerouting of lymph to functional vessels and nodes and reduce the swelling, pain, bruising.

To get the best results from a procedure and see visible results, recover quicker – Lymphatic Drainage Massage is really a no-brainer.  Why would you not want the best aftercare following an expensive cosmetic surgery? MLD is proven to aid in healing and the successful outcome following many types of cosmetic procedures.

Procedures that Lymphatic Drainage Massage can help with:

  • Abdominoplasty (tummy tucks)
  • Fat re-modelling (Brazilian butt lifts)
  • Liposuction / Vaser Lipo
  • Breast augmentations or reductions
  • Breast reconstructions
  • Blepharoplasty (eyelid surgery)
  • Facelifts
  • Forehead/brow lifts
  • Limb Amputation


If you have multiple procedures simultaneously (liposuction, tummy tuck, lift and re-modelling), Lymphatic Drainage Massage will be even more necessary to address swelling and associated tissue hardness. Discomfort, swelling and bruising are common after these procedures and the flow of lymph can be seriously compromised by surgery, which can result in pockets of fluid, dimpled/uneven skin, scar tissue along with the general soreness and bruising you may feel in your stomach, buttocks and thighs.

Choosing to have cosmetic or reconstructive surgery is perhaps one of the most difficult decisions you will ever make. Putting time into researching the best surgeons and clinics is arduous enough, but did you consider the after care? Who can help with swelling, bruising, and scar tissue that risks all the benefits of the surgery you just received?

Our therapists are here to help your healing

We have devised a comprehensive after care treatment plan, suitable for pre-post op clients in need of lymphatic drainage massage.

Pre-Post Op Care Package   £249


In depth Consultation and Health Questionnaire (with optional before and after photos and circumference measurements) followed by heaps of useful aftercare advise

6 sessions (1 hour each) of Tailored Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage (Can be split as you require: 2 pre-op & 4 post-op sessions, 3 pre-op & 3 post-op etc.)

You can even use our aftercare packages to have 6 pre-op sessions, and then another package of 6 post-op sessions – for optimal results in this critical recovery phase.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage is also available in hourly sessions at £51.5 / £44


Written by: Chris Arscott MFT IIHHT Massage Therapist @ Meridian Massage

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