Lymphatic Drainage Massage

A massage that promotes health in the deepest sense.

By Raizelah Bayen

What is the purpose of our lymphatic system?Lymphatic-System

The Lymph system serves as our first line of defense against disease or foreign particles by circulating immune cells throughout our bodies.  The lymph nodes filter fluid by using lymphocytes (immune cells) which can recognize and destroy invading pathogens or foreign particles.  These immune cells create antibodies for each disease they encounter, and for the rest of a person’s life, will recognize and destroy those organisms each time they invade.

History of Lymphatic Drainage Massage (LMD)

Lymphatic Drainage Massage was developed in France in the 1930’s. Initially it was used to address sinus infections, enlarged lymph nodes and acne.  There are now countless approaches to the ways in which Lymphatic Drainage Massage can be used.  At Osmosis, we may encourage our clients to explore the benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage if they are interested in cleansing or detoxifying, wanting to build their immune systems, or even healing from edema or soft tissue damage.

What is Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Lymphatic Drainage Massage is a gentle, rhythmic style of massage that mimics the action of the lymphatic system.  It uses precise rhythm and pressure to open the initial lymphatics and stimulate the lymph vessel contraction to move fluid toward the lymph nodes.  Because the initial lymphatics are located just under the skin, LDM uses light pressure.  While the gentle touch of LDM is soothing and relaxing, it is also deeply therapeutic.  LDM has a number of important functions, which include: distributing immune cells throughout the body to defend against disease, ridding the body of excess proteins and toxins, helping to repair damage to injured tissues, and regenerating lymph nodes in areas of chronic infection.

How does Lymphatic Drainage Massage work?

lymphatic system

When performing LDM, the massage therapist will move the client’s skin in different directions, which stretch the microfilaments just below the skin that control the openings to the initial lymphatics.  As the initial lymphatics are opened, they fill with interstitial fluid. This initiates a pumping response which is similar to peristalsis, moving the fluid toward the lymph nodes.  Within the lymph nodes lymphocytes cleanse and purge the lymphatic fluid of any microorganisms, foreign particles, and excess proteins, enzymes or hormones in the blood.  From the lymph nodes, the cleansed fluid is emptied into the lymphatic and thoracic ducts for return to blood circulation.

While Lymphatic Drainage Massage works directly on the superficial circulation of lymph fluid, it affects the deep circulation, including toward the nodes within the intestinal and respiratory organs, because lymph flow is increased through the whole lymph system.  The pumping response of the initial lymphatics moves like a wave through the entire lymph system to the deepest layers of the body.

Who can benefit from Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Everyone can benefit from LDM.  It cleanses the body and boosts the immune system, something everyone needs on a regular basis.  Lymphatic Massage is especially useful for those who suffer from:

  • Edema
  • Soft tissue injury accompanied with inflammation
  • Recent surgery
  • Recent or recurring illness
  • Lowered immunity

How often should you receive Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

You will benefit from Lymphatic Drainage Massage in any frequency.  Some people choose to start their new year with a cleanse incorporating LDM.  Others will choose to receive LDM as they move into cold and flu season to boost their immunity.  While others, who suffer from stress or other factors that lower immunity, will choose a monthly Lymphatic Massage for health maintenance.

How does Dry Brush Self-Massage help the lymphatic system?

Dry Brush Self-Massage is like a mini Lymphatic Massage that can be done at home. You can increase the benefits of Lymphatic Drainage Massage by incorporating Dry Brush Self-Massage into your daily self-care. The dry brush can be used to move the skin over the initial lymphatics to open and to stimulate the lymph vessel contraction.  While Dry Brush Massage offers cleansing benefits, Lymphatic Drainage Massage performed by a professional will affect the lymph system and our immunity more profoundly. You can learn more by reading our blog post about how to Dry Brush, HERE.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage at Osmosis

We offer 75-minute and 90-minute Lymphatic Massage at Osmosis. It can be booked as a stand-alone service or within one of our packages.  The Specialty Package includes a Cedar Enzyme Bath and any specialty massage, including a 75-minute Lymphatic Massage. Seasonally, we offer the Bath as Medicine Package which includes a 90-minute Lymphatic Massage, Cedar Enzyme Bath and Sound Therapy. Please call 707.823.8231 for more info.

Bath as Medicine Package

This exceptional package is designed to offer a synergistic blend of treatments for optimal detoxification, beautification and relaxation.
Synergy with the Cedar Enzyme Bath.

Fermentation is the fundamental impulse in biology. It generates the heat and dynamic energy in our signature  Cedar Enzyme Bath. This healing bathing ritual stimulates metabolic activity inside and out. It helps to break down toxins mobilized by your lymphatic massage and metabolize waste accumulated in the cleansing organs. This enzymatic activity also provides relief from aches including arthritis and joint pain leading to increased mobility. Lactic acid in sore muscles is broken down in this process as well.

This warm and fragrant treatment also improves circulation as it dilates the cardiovascular system and increases blood flow to even the smallest capillaries while the living enzymes deeply and thoroughly clean your skin, performing a full body exfoliation –  leaving your entire body exuding a radiant glow!


Raizelah-Bayen-Osmosis-Day-SpaRaizelah Bayen is a California Certified Massage Therapist, currently employed as the Spa Services Manager at Osmosis Day Spa Sanctuary in Freestone, California.  She has been practicing massage for over 25 years, and teaching T’ui Na, Acupressure, Sports and Pregnancy Massage in massage certification programs for 15 years.  Raizelah is an approved CEU Instructor by the National Certification Board of Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork (NCBTMB), offering trainings in Freestone, California and on-site training at your massage school or spa.  For more information, connect with Raizelah Bayen on LinkedIn.

Please contact  for information on upcoming trainings in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology, and Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers scheduled in Sebastopol, California.  Or book Raizelah for an on-site training in your massage school or spa in T’ui Na, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Foot Reflexology or Body Mechanics for Bodyworkers.