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Manual Lymphatic Drainage for Cosmetic Procedures & Beyond-Questions Answered

The Lymphatic System and Manual Lymphatic Massage-What is it?

Your lymphatic system is a part of the circulatory system.

With every beat of the heart, oxygen, and nutrients flow through blood to the body.

A part of the plasma stays behind and becomes the lymphatic fluid.

This fluid is a viscus protein which absorbs dead cells, bacteria, and foreign matter.

It then moves into the lymphatic vascular system in the body.

The vessels move from within the body to the skin, through the skin to the nodes.

Stretching the skin across the vessel creates an opening and a negative internal pressure. This causes a suction and pulls fluids inside. The fluids then move through the nodes which purify the fluid through the action of the macrophages, like Pac-man, dissolving the matter.

This purified fluid then rejoins the blood system at the vena cava of the heart.

This system is a constant moving internal river moving out debris and supporting a healthy immune system.

The Lymphatic System is a passive system which activates through movement and breath. Manual Lymphatic Drainage increases the movement of this system by ten times its normal rate.

Changes from having lymphatic massage following a procedure

The benefit of Manual Lymphatic Drainage for post-surgery recovery is that it quickens the removal of increased demand on the system caused by the procedure.

Swelling and bruising from the process dissipates swiftly.

Accelerated healing and results are the outcome.

Myofascial release, starting at 2 weeks post op, addresses the scar tissue as it forms for a softer appearance.

Benefits of lymphatic massage

The weight of a nickel and the rhythm of a heartbeat, Manual Lymphatic Massage, through its gentle rhythm and pressure, neutralizes the autonomic nervous system and returns the body to a state of rest and rejuvenation. This process is painless.

Lymphatic Massage for Well Being gives a boost to the system and many people report a sense of lightness and deep relaxation.

Lymphatic massage may assist with sinus and migraine headaches. Fluids, which build up in the cavities of the cranium will release more quickly lightening the pressure causing pain.

Those who may benefit from manual lymphatic massage also include, Sports injuries, any form of surgery, pregnancy, cancer survivors, trauma patients, insomnia sufferers and more.


The main contraindication is active cancer except during chemo. During chemo, Oncologists may recommend manual lymphatic massage in between infusions to support the process in preparation for the next infusion. This may result in quicker recovery and a softer chemo experience.

Recommendations for patients incorporating lymphatic massage into their post procedure recovery.

A session 1 to 2 days before surgery prepares the tissue and supports less bleeding during surgery and bruising post op.

Treatments begin approx. 7 days post op.

“Tissue is too fragile in the first week, time and rest are the best choice.

I believe enough time for sutures to heal must occur before treatment.”

Doctors may recommend beginning sooner or later.

Following each session, a lessening of swelling, bruising and pain is experienced.

The morning following each session sees the greatest results.

Sessions 1-3 are recommended every other day. This moves you through the initial phase of recovery faster. The next sessions are twice a week then move to once a week.

Healing time varies between patients.

Multiple surgeries increase over all healing time as this puts a larger load on the lymphatic system.

Eye lift - 6 to 8 sessions

Neck Lift - 8 to 12 sessions

Face lift – 8 to 12 sessions

Rhinoplasty – 4 to 8 sessions

Eye/Neck/Face – 12 plus

These are recommendations.

The closer together the sessions, the quicker the healing.

Cautions and guidelines for lymphatic massage after a procedure

It is essential that the therapist be a nationally certified manual lymphatic drainage therapist. Presently 135 to 145 hours is the basic requirements. A therapist needs to have a deep understanding of the lymphatic system and body. Post-surgery treatments are not a one size fits all treatment. Understanding how to move fluids around incisions, new and past is essential for best results. Lymphatic vessels do not regrow through scar tissue, so a “mapping” is created to move fluids around and towards the closest nodes.

Each procedure has its own challenges and multiple procedures creates even more.

The New you emerge sooner with Lymphatic Massage for post cosmetic surgery procedures.
Manual Lymphatic Massage for Post Cosmetic Surgery Recovery

Paula Irwin clt, cmt #1985

Body Being in Balance Massage Del Mar, CA

1130 Camino Del Mar, Ca 92014


Paula is the owner of Body Being in Balance Massage in Del Mar, Ca. since 2010

She is a nationally certified Manual Lymphatic Therapist with 24 years’ experience assisting 1000’s of patients through multiple types of surgery recovery.

Paula trained with the Learner Lymphedema Academy is Boston in 1998.

James Norton acquired learner Academy upon Dr. Learners passing and is now the Norton School of Lymphatics.

Paula is also a Certified Sports Therapist, Neuromuscular and Trigger Point Therapist since 1995. She specializes in Structural Balancing Sports Massage.

A technique I created from 27 years’ experience working with 1000’s of people.

Bringing Balance and Harmony in Body and Movement.


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