Can You Combine Deep Tissue With Lymphatic Massage?
Oct 30, 2021
Today, someone asked if we can combine lymphatic massage with a deeper massage that addresses sore muscles. It's a good question! Who wouldn't like a single session where you can get relief from the pain in soft tissue (muscles and joints) while also shifting excess fluid from an affected area (lymphatic drainage)? But the answer is, in general, it's better to keep these massages separate.
The main reason is that the very small and delicate lymphatic capillaries permit the influx of interstitial fluid. The therapist uses very gentle and specific manual lymph drainage techniques to move this fluid into the lymphatic system where it eventually drains into the lymph nodes. The technique is very gentle and slow, so as not to overtax the vessels.
When you combine deeper techniques like those used in deep tissue or Swedish massage, the lymphatic effect is often wasted. You end up squashing the delicate lymphatic capillaries instead of letting them do the work the therapist is trying to help you achieve.
That said, occasionally, I can do a little of both -- some deeper low back work after draining the lower lymphatic abdominal region from a tummy tuck surgery, for example -- but generally, this is after healing has occurred and swelling is under control.
For most people, it's best to schedule a lymphatic massage separately from a Swedish or deep tissue/sports massage.
Less is more. In the case of MLD, a gentle, singular focus enhances the benefits of manual lymphatic drainage.