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How Often Should You Get a Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Updated: Aug 23, 2023

Great question, and one we hear all the time. The short answer is, ‘It depends…’.

Allow me to expand on this. In previous blog posts and on my website, I describe the various reasons people come to us to receive lymphatic drainage massage. To reiterate: the reasons are numerous. Beyond that, individuals come in all shapes, sizes, ages, degrees of health (or ill-health), so we do not assign a ‘one size fits all’ approach to our services.

There is a massive difference between recovering from a mastectomy for a 35-year-old woman who smokes, eats poorly, is a single mom and working a ton of hours vs. a 68-year-old woman who exercises regularly, eats vegan, has the support of her family and other financial resources. Surgeons are different – some surgeons are enthusiastic to recommend lymphatic therapy; others haven’t a clue about what we do. Health histories are different, so are meds, exercise, mentality (do you ‘own’ your illness or have you committed to beating it?), financial ability, transportation resources, etc. Some people heal quicker than others. Some of our clients are, quite understandably, dealing with anxiety and even depression surrounding their circumstances. Others are worn down from being misdiagnosed for years on end. You get the picture: everyone is at different level of health - or illness - healing, energy, ability and so on.

So, quite frankly, we feel it would be irresponsible for us to assign a ‘typical answer’ to that question. At Professional Lymphatic Therapy, we take a great deal of pride in listening carefully to our clients, which means recognizing more than what’s written on their Client Intake Form. We strive to glean a full understanding of not only their health concerns, but other factors that will affect their health and healing. Only AFTER their first session – when we’ve been able to listen to their concerns AND assess their tissue – do we create a customized plan that works best for them. My clients will often hear me say “If we create a plan/schedule that causes you stress in anyway, it’s not the right plan for you.” And then, we make modifications that work for them.

I’d like to add that it is our goal is to help you heal by improving or enhancing the lymphatic system’s ability to function so that you can get back to – or find – your new ‘normal’. We do not claim to be your only answer, nor do we want you to become dependent on us. Rather, we’re here to HELP. So, if I had to give you an idea of how many sessions someone needs, here are some very general guidelines:

Post-surgery healing (when pain and swelling are still very present) – 1-3 sessions/week until swelling subsides, then fewer sessions until you’ve healed to your satisfaction.

Auto-immune conditions – depending on how severe they are and what your health history tells us, we may start with 1/week until you notice a difference, then we can determine what a maintenance schedule looks like for you. Monthly? Quarterly? Again, everyone is different.

Undergoing Chemo or Radiation – because so many other factors are present in these scenarios, we prefer to have your oncologist’s blessing, and then, we’ll determine – together – what works best for you. We understand you probably have many appointments with other health providers, some of you must coordinate rides to & from, etc. Often, it makes sense to revisit our plan on a weekly or monthly basis as things can change quickly.

I hope this helps you to understand why we don’t offer a single, pat answer to the question of ‘how many?’ We much prefer to be responsible with our response, so we’ll be happy to discuss it with you after your first session. Come see us!


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