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Lymphatic Drainage-Post Surgery

What Is the Lymphatic System?

The lymphatic system is composed of a series of lymphatics (channels) that run throughout the body and lead back to larger lymph nodes. The job of the lymphatic system is to rid the body of toxins, waste, and unwanted materials, in addition to transporting lymph — a fluid containing white blood cells — throughout the body to help fight infection.

Regular Massage vs. Lymphatic Massage

Contrary to what you might think, lymphatic massage is not a traditional massage like deep tissue, Swedish massage, or hot stone. It is a specific technique that is both specialized and advanced. Additionally, it should never hurt. Regular massages target the muscles, whereas lymphatic drainage massages address the skin in order to improve the efficiency of the lymphatic system. A lymphatic drainage massage is different than getting a regular massage in the sense that long, rhythmic, wave-like strokes are used to open and then shut the lymphatics, leaving little time for that lymph to get sucked down along the vessel.

But that’s not all. An appropriate rhythm will also stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, causing the client to relax. Other benefits include reducing the effects of delayed onset muscle soreness and decreasing swelling, muscular fatigue, weakness, and pain.

Benefits of a Post-Op Lymphatic Massage

After cosmetic surgeries like liposuction, tummy tucks, or arm, thigh, and Brazilian Butt lifts, the lymphatic channels are disrupted and take about two to three months to make new connections. Plastic surgeons agree that adding a series of lymphatic massages to a patient’s post-op care routines can benefit their recovery.

The massage technique helps to reduce swelling and improve aesthetic results by decreasing congestion of the tissue. I will massage extra fluid towards the lymphatic tissue, so that it is more quickly absorbed by the body and that can also help to prevent infection. When there is lymphatic congestion, infection is a much higher risk and you can have healing problems due to the swelling of tissue that, in turn, can lead to pressure on incision lines.

While lymphatic massages may be most closely associated with body procedures,I recommend them for patients undergoing facial surgeries (facelifts), too. Since all types of surgeries result in swelling, they can all benefit.

When to Schedule a Lymphatic Massage

It’s recommended that patients who underwent surgeries like liposuction or tummy tucks start with three to six massage sessions beginning two weeks after the procedure. The timing is ideal because the bruising will be gone, so it won’t be painful.

It should be noted that lymphatic drainage massages aren’t recommended for patients if they have any of the following conditions:

-Congestive heart failure

-History of blood clots or stroke

-Current infection

-Liver or kidney problems

Is it painful?

A lymphatic drainage massage uses pressure applied to key areas to unblock the flow. This technique is completely painless, as constant soft pressure is applied and increased slowly.

Can you get sick after a lymphatic massage?

It's common to feel gross after a massage. Flu-like symptoms are surprisingly common. People routinely suffer from varying degrees of soreness and malaise following firmer massage therapy. In the massage industry, this phenomenon known post-massage soreness & malaise, or PMSM

What to ExpectDuring the massage, I use gentle rotating, and pumping motions to gently move lymph fluid through your body. Sometimes I incorporate gentle vacu-therapy or massage cupping for additional post-surgical support when indicated. I never use heat with my massage technique, as that can increase edema in the surgical area. Also, never receive a deep tissue or therapeutic massage in place of a lymphatic massage—the results will not be the same.

How Many Massage Treatments Do I Need?

The number of treatments you require depends on your surgery. Typically, I recommend at least one or two treatments before your surgery. After surgery, that number changes based on the type of surgery you had. Some people benefit from 4-6 treatments once a week, while others might require up to 12 depending on the number of surgical areas and how the body is recovering. In rare cases, I recommend more than 12 post-surgery sessions in consecutive order. However, general lymphatic massage is good practice whether you’ve had surgery or not.

Support Your Lymphatic Massage Post-Op with These Tips

-Drink plenty of fluids: I can never stress this enough. Drink plenty of clean, mineral-rich water before and after your massage for the best results.

-Eat a healthy diet: Nutrient-dense foods also support your body from the inside out. Grab fruits and vegetables and eat before your surgery.

-Don’t stay on the couch or in the bed: After your surgery, and more importantly after your massage, it’s tempting to stay in bed or on the couch, but you actually need to move. Movement, such as walking, helps pump the lymph fluid and is supportive to your healing process. If you feel tired after your session, then honor your body by resting, but remember to incorporate some type of movement that is comfortable for you at the different stages of your healing process. And, of course, always follow your Doctor’s direction.

Above all, remember that other types of massage can hinder your healing process. 


Manual Lymph Drainage is a very relaxing technique. A light touch is applied and your skin is “pulled” in the direction of the lymph flow for that area. It is best if you wear no clothes or underwear that is very loose, so as not to restrict the movement of lymph is any way. As with a therapeutic massage session, you will be covered with a sheet for modesty and comfort. The areas that will receive extra lymph drainage are where the lymph nodes are; neck, under your arms, stomach, crease where legs meet the body and under knees.


6 massages: $480 ($400, if prepaid) 50 mins

6 massages: $360 ($300, if prepaid) 25 mins

Enhance your Lymphatic System via regular Manual Lymph Drainage and save money too! Pre-pay for 5 sessions and your 6th session is FREE! Session length is pre-determined and may not be split into additional sessions. Sessions must be used within 6 months from initial date of purchase.

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