Lymphatic Drainage Massage For Treating Alcoholism
Discovering and exploiting the body’s unknown drainage channels
can drive out impurities from alcoholism or drug addiction. Leslie Kenton outlines some techniques for cleaning up the lymphatic system.
You can spend hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars on
lotions, potions and treatments to improve your skin, firm your
flesh and renew your body. But none is likely to bring the benefits
of simple natural methods for periodic internal spring-cleaning –
especially if you enlist the help of your body’s quite remarkable
Beautiful skin, a firm and healthy body and a clear mind are
strongly dependent on your system being able to efficiently and
effectively rid your body of toxic materials and waste products
before they have the chance to damage cells, tissues, organs and
Your body’s ability to detoxify itself is magnificent – provided you
give it half a chance. Living in the highly-industrialized twentieth
century, and with the tendency most of us have to eat the wrong
things too much and too often, your body’s natural elimination
channels can’t keep up with the task. That is when you need extra
One alternative is a two-week “cure” at a health farm, where a fast,
juice fast or all-raw diet, together with destressing, massage,
hydrotherapy and long walks, will trigger rapid detoxification.
You emerge a fortnight later looking and feeling 15 years younger.
Why? Because each encourages the rapid elimination of wastes
and toxins which have built up over a long time.
When this elimination is stimulated and the tissues of your skin,
muscles, organs and systems are cleansed, then your body’s own
natural powers of regeneration, renewal and healing move into top
This principle forms the foundation of the long tradition of natural
medicine: remove whatever obstructions to rapid and near-
complete elimination are present in the body. Then, thanks to the
natural laws of self-healing by which living organisms appear to be
constituted, bodily functions will tend to return to normal. The
implications of this natural law for beauty in terms of restoring
troubled or aging skin to its natural state are enormous.
You Have Five Main Eliminative channels in your body – the
skin, lungs, kidneys, bowels and lymphatic system. And there are a
number of specific techniques used by natural medicine to stimulate them.
No eliminative system is less generally recognized or more important in
maintaining good looks and high-level well-being than your lymphatic system.
Yet the state of its health and functioning is still almost completely
ignored by most beauty therapists and physicians.
The lymphatic system is not only a major route for the absorption
of nutrients from the digestion into the tissues (which helps keep
skin healthy, youthful and glowing) but is also your body’s
metabolic waste-disposal system. It clears away toxins by carrying
unwanted proteins and large particles of waste matter which cannot
be removed by other means from your cells and tissues. These are
by-products of fatigue and stress, dead cells, fatty globules,
pathogenic bacteria, heavy metals, infectious viruses and other
assorted debris which your cells cast off.
Doctors working with natural methods of healing insist that a
primary cause of fatigue, disease and cell degeneration is poor
circulation of lymph to and from the cells and tissues of the body.
The same tradition of natural medicine uses a number of effective
techniques designed to stimulate lymphatic functions as a means of
healing even quite serious illnesses, ranging from rheumatism or
cardiovascular disease. These include exercise, skin brushing,
special breathing techniques, herbs and aromatherapy oils, and
lymphatic drainage massage.
Your Body Is More Than 75 percent water. Five litres of
water are found in your blood, five in digestive and other secretions,
and almost all the rest (about 40 litres) makes up your lymphatic fluid
or lymph, sometimes called “white blood”. Thanks to this lymph, a
ceaseless interchange goes on between your body’s trillions of cells and
their surrounding interstitial fluids, so that food and oxygen are
exchanged and waste products eliminated from the cells – all through the
medium of water.
For cells and tissues to be nourished and vital, and for your skin
and muscles to remain healthy and firm, this interchange needs to
occur without impediment, and the water needs to be relatively
Nutrients and oxygen are transported to the tissues and cells via the
bloodstream. Arterial pressure forces the blood through tiny
capillaries and out into the cells’ interstitial spaces to effect their
exchange with waste which the cells have produced. Here the
water, or interstitial fluid filled with toxic waste, is gathered by tiny
lymphatic tubules and then sent back through the lymph vessels to
be detoxified. The lymphatics are highly organized and made up
of an elaborate system of ducts and channels which flow all over
your body. In fact, almost all the tissues of the body are equipped
with lymph channels that drain excess fluid and the wastes which it
contains from the interstitial spaces.
The opalescent liquid from these minute channels carries the
wastes and toxic products into larger lymphatic vessels, on through
lymph nodes located in the groin, under the arm and the neck
where it undergoes a process of purification and eventually back
into the blood. The lymph nodes filter the fluid to remove
impurities and dead cells. They are also a place in which
antibodies to fight infection or toxins are made. In this way, the
lymphatic system works ceaselessly to clear toxicity and reduce
excess mucus and waste.
The microscopic network of these lymph channels resembles the
blood system except that the blood system is powered by the action
of the heart muscles whereas the lymphatic system has no prime
mover. Instead, its nourishing, water-balancing and eliminative
functions are almost entirely dependent upon gravity and the
natural pressure of muscle that takes place when you move your
It is these muscle contractions and body movements, together with
biochemical alterations such as whether or not excessive quantities
of protein are present in the fluid, which keep the lymph flowing.
That is why regular brisk exercise, such as taking long walks in
comfortable shoes, is important not only to firm your muscles and
strengthen your heart and lungs, but to encourage the steady and
effective elimination of wastes from your body.
If you lead an active life and live on a sparse diet of foods which
are unprocessed and high in fiber and freshness, then your lymph
system is likely to flow freely and your body will continuously
clean itself effectively.
If however, you tend to be sedentary and live on the average
Western fare high in fat, protein and processed foods, it will tend to
function poorly and encourage the build-up of toxic waste products
in tissues and around joints. This can result in a wide range of
problems, ranging from stiff muscles and joints, to acne, rapidly
aging or poorly-toned skin. Conversely, making use of some of the
natural techniques for stimulating lymphatic elimination can be a
superbly effective method of getting rid of them.
One Of The Best Techniques is a massage technique known as
lymphatic drainage. This stimulates the movement of interstitial fluids
and breaks down congestion in areas where the lymph flow has become
sluggish and toxins have collected. It can also be used to great advantage
in the elimination of cellulite, a condition in which a stasis of lymph flow
has concentrated excess proteins, fats and waste materials in areas
of the body, eventually resulting in puckered skin, alterations to
connective tissue and distortions of natural body shape.
The technique of lymphatic drainage massage was originally
developed in Europe more than 60 years ago by Dr Emil Vodder
and his wife, who were using it to stimulate the healing processes
in infectious diseases.
Vodder believed that the lymph is not only a nourishing sap of life
which carries vital substances to every cell of the body, but also a
miraculous elixir which can be used to rejuvenate and renew all
tissue. He insisted that because lymph, through the help of the
antibodies it carries, destroy micro-organisms and purifies organic
wastes, lymph stagnation is dangerous for the body. Stagnant
lymph, he said, ages the tissues because they become poisoned by
their own waste products. Stimulate lymph flow to remove
stagnation and you will transform the look of the skin, the form of
the body and the health of the organism as a whole.
The technique he used to do this for the face consists of gentle
circular movements which begin at the base of the throat and
gradually move on to the face. They are designed to encourage the
movement of lymph out of static or puffy areas into the larger
lymph channels and then on towards the lymph nodes. Fifteen to
20 minutes of such treatment helps restore to normal the contours
of a face and to improve the overall functioning and appearance of
Used on the body, lymphatic drainage massage can be effective
treatment for many resistant knee and limb troubles, as well as
water retention and cellulite.
The lymphatic system plays a key role in effective aromatherapy as
well. And aromatherapy, using well-chosen essential oils, is
another helpful means of spring cleaning the body from within.
When dissolved in a carrier oil such as hazelnut, almond or
avocado, the essential oils of plants are applied to the surface of
the skin. Even in small quantities, they are absorbed into the
interstitial fluid and from there into the lymphatic system itself,
which carries these aromatic complex hydrocarbons throughout the
The process of dispersion of these chemical elements in tissues is
believed to take three to six hours in a person who is healthy and
between six and 12 hours in someone whose body is congested
with excessive wastes or toxicity. Some essential oils such as
lemon or bergamot are traditionally used specifically to stimulate
the action of leukocytes – the anti-microbial cells carried in the
Temporary alteration in the way you eat is also traditionally used
to stimulate elimination through the lymphatic system as well as
the body’s other major eliminative channels. The usual high-fat
diet most of us consume, or a diet that is too high in proteins, has a
tendency to slow lymphatic circulation and to encourage the
production of a large quantity of metabolic wastes with which the
lymphatics have to deal. Regimes to encourage elimination are
therefore very low in fat and protein but high in fibre and in fresh
Juice fasts – the traditional Rohsäfte Kur of Germany – are
sometimes used, or elimination diets such as a cleansing regime for
several days which consists only of apples, grapes or only raw
fruits and vegetables. A slower but effective cleansing diet simply
eliminates oily or fatty foods such as cheese, butter, cream and
milk from the diet as well as red meats, vinegar, alcohol, sugar and
refined carbohydrates and all artificial additives, preservatives and
colourings. These dietary changes work to rid the body of toxicity,
restore skin tone and revitalize the lymphatics.
Herbs also have a role to play. The herb echinacea helps neutralize
acid conditions of the blood associated with high toxicity and
lymph stagnation, promotes the production of lymphocytes and
increases the body’s resistance to infection. Other herbs such as
cayenne, poke root, burdock, mullein, cleavers, golden seal and
chaparral are also used to encourage lymphatic elimination.