By Alex A. Kecskes
The lymphatic system is a complex network of ducts and vessels that transfer white blood cells and antibodies to your organs and tissues. These cells and antibodies arm your immune system and help your body combat infections. Unlike the circulatory system, which uses the heart to pump blood to vital organs and tissues, the lymph system must rely on hundreds of muscular units, your body movements, and water intake to move the lymph through the vessels. Normal lymph movement in the body can be reduced by stress, fatigue, inactivity, cold temperatures, infection, chemical or food additives, even one’s age and heredity.
This is where lymphatic drainage or sinus massage comes into play. It’s basically a type of holistic therapy that gives your lymphatic system a “tune up.” By manually stimulating the increased flow of lymphatic fluid, it can reinvigorate your immune system and sweep out harmful toxins.
Using very light rhythmic massage to increase circulation and lymphatic flow, lymphatic drainage therapy concentrates on specific lymph nodes under the jaw line. The main lymph nodes for sinus massage are pea size and under the mandible. During a face massage, muscles are “pre-warmed” and the lymph nodes stimulated to open and enhance circulatory and lymphatic flow. A skilled therapist will use his or her hands to feel the body’s lymphatic rhythm, direction, depth, and quality. This helps the therapist assess the overall lymphatic circulation and the best way to drain stagnant fluids.
Lymphatic drainage massage can be helpful in addressing a wide range of conditions. It can reduce fatigue, menstrual cramps, cellulite and water retention, even sinusitis and hayfever allergies. When one suffers from hayfever, the body’s immune system goes into high gear as it over reacts to pollen, mold spores or other foreign body invaders. The result is irritation and inflammation of the sinuses. Lymphatic drainage massage through sinus tapping can relieve these hayfever symptoms.
For those suffering from sinus infections, Lymphatic drainage procedures can remove much of this congestive material from around the facial area. It allows the body’s own healing systems to do what it is intended to do.
What of the many antibiotics and topical nasal steroids on the market? Do they offer relief from sinusitis? A four-year year randomized non-pharmaceutically funded double-blind, placebo-controlled trial* was conducted in 2007 revealed some interesting conclusions. They concluded that 90 percent of the antibiotics and topical nasal spray steroids prescriptions written by doctors for sinusitis sufferers in the showed no clinically useful effect. Studies also revealed that three meta-analyses have found no evidence for superior effectiveness of any particular class of antibiotics in acute sinusitis over any other, making it unlikely that a different antibiotic would have produced different results. Finally, the use of antibiotics or topical steroid- — used alone or in combination – was ineffective as a treatment for acute sinusitis in the primary care setting.
Lymphatic drainage massage should only be used on the advice of a medical doctor and are is intended as a substitute for medical care or as a therapy to cure or prevent diseases.
*Journal of American Medical Association Vol.298 No.21, December 5, 2007 :2487-2496