CranioSacral Therapy in the South Bay

           Karen Axelrod

           Certified CranioSacral Therapist

Lymphatic Drainage

For a healthier immune system.

About lymphatic drainage

Lymphatic drainage. Lymphatic massage. Manual lymph drainage. These interchangeable names all refer to a powerful body of work that helps boost immunity, reduce swelling and inflammation, and aid in detoxification.


This work can be extremely helpful for all members of the family, including school-age children, pregnant moms, and the elderly.


What is the lymphatic system? 

When we say that the body is 70 percent water, that "water" is actually lymphatic fluid, or lymph. Lymph is found throughout your body, even in the tiniest of spaces.


Lymph carries specialized cells that search out and destroy viruses, bacteria, toxins, waste, and other invading organisms. As such, the lymphatic system is a key part of your immune system. The lymph nodes are where that bodily toxic waste is destroyed.


The lymphatic system also helps circulate proteins, hormones, and immune cells throughout the body that are vital to maintaining physiological well-being and balance.


Your lymphatic system is like a freeway system within your body that has various waste recycling centers (the lymph nodes) strategically located along the highways. The lymph travels through a series of trunks, ducts, vessels, and capillaries carrying waste products to the recycling centers for elimination.


Ever wonder why lymph nodes become swollen? If you have a cold and your lymph nodes are filled with cold virus cells they are trying to destroy, the job sometimes gets overwhelming. The lymph nodes may have too much waste to handle efficiently, so the nodes become swollen until they can eliminate it all.


Lymph nodes can also become swollen if the vessels leading out of them become compromised. It's like having a clogged drain. You end up having too much fluid flowing into the area and not enough outflow.


Lymph can pool too, creating swelling that we call edema. This is often seen in people who have had lymph nodes surgically removed or whose nodes have been damaged by radiation.


If the flow of lymphatic fluid is blocked or disrupted, destructive organisms may accumulate, thus allowing disease to set in. Stagnant fluid can hinder the regeneration of tissue after surgeries, injuries, or other invasive procedures. It can also hasten the aging process and accelerate the development of fine lines and wrinkles.  Top of Page 

How lymph drainage works

Lymphatic drainage cleanses this fluid system and stimulates better function of the immune system by manually activating fluid circulation.


With anatomical accuracy and specific manual techniques, I feel the distinct rhythm, direction, depth, and quality of the lymph flow within your body. From there, I assess overall lymphatic circulation. I encourage the lymph that is flowing in proper directions, or determine the best alternate pathways for draining stagnant lymph.


Assessment and subsequent lymph drainage is performed on the superficial and deep lymphatic pathways, on the body's muscles and tendons, and even on the internal organs to boost immunity, reduce swelling, and enhance detoxification. Top of Page


What to expect in a lymphatic session

After disrobing, you will be completely covered by sheets on the table to ensure the utmost warmth, comfort, and security. Pillows, bolsters, and blankets are available to help you be as comfortable as possible.


Using flat, soft hands, the therapist applies very light, repetitive strokes and gentle pumping actions to various parts of your body to aid the circulation and redirection of lymphatic fluid. Top of Page


Who will benefit from lymphatic drainage?

  • People who get lingering colds or coughs -- something you "just can't shake off"
  • Those experiencing recurring infections -- despite having taken round after round of antibiotics
  • Patients facing elective or required surgery on any part of their body, including cesarean or cosmetic
  • Anyone experiencing swelling due to mastectomy, lumpectomy, or lymph node removal or damage
  • Pregnant moms with swollen feet or hands
  • Those who are bedridden or physically inactive
  • Anyone suffering from low energy, depression, or constant fatigue 

Top of Page


Can infants and children get lymphatic drainage?

Absolutely! Lymphatic drainage is great for infants and kids who are susceptible to recurring ear or sinus infections. School-age children can also benefit since they are probably exposed to other sick kids on a regular basis. As with adults, lymph drainage will help boost their immune systems and help them ward off common colds, viruses, and the flu. Top of Page


Conditions lymph drainage can help with

Due to the relationship of the lymphatic system to the immune system, lymph drainage can be beneficial in addressing a wide array of health disorders. It also serves as a powerful tool in preventive health maintenance.


Lymphatic drainage has been especially helpful with the following conditions:

  • Chronic pain
  • Cosmetic applications: anti-aging, cellulite reduction, and wrinkle prevention Detoxification
  • Edema (swelling) due to pregnancy, injury, or poor circulation
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Insomnia, stress, and loss of vitality
  • Lymphedema (extreme swelling) due to poor circulation or removal of lymph nodes
  • Recurring colds, viruses, or illnesses
  • Tissue regeneration, including burns & scars
  • Relief of chronic or subacute inflammation, including sinusitis, bronchitis, and allergies
  • Surgical procedures (pre- and post-surgery treatments are recommended)

Top of Page


How often should you have lymphatic drainage?

Length of treatment depends on your goals for healing and the nature of the disorder being addressed.


One or two sessions may be all you need to bolster your immune system during cold and flu season if you are already in good health. Numerous or ongoing sessions may be required to treat more serious conditions such as lymphedema or cancer.


I recommend an extended (90 minute) session for first-time clients who have never had lymph drainage before or who have not had a treatment in the last six months. This gives me ample opportunity to provide a full-body treatment while also assessing and addressing specific problem areas. Thereafter, full (75 minute) sessions are probably sufficient.


Shorter, 30-minute sessions will suffice for spot treatments preceding or following certain cosmetic or surgical procedures. Top of Page


Download a lymphatic brochure

Click here.


Lymphatic drainage case studies and articles

Lymphatic Massage Boosts Immunity

Lymphatic drainage for pregnant moms

Swelling of the hands and feet is not uncommon during pregnancy.  If swelling is minimal, some women may choose to do nothing about it.  However, if swelling becomes severe or creates pain, lymphatic drainage can help reduce that swelling.


Lymph drainage can also boost the immune system during pregnancy, making sure your body has a full complement of resources available to fight off common colds, viruses, and infections. This is especially important if you become run down while pregnant, which can lower your immunity, or if you work in an environment where colds and flus abound, such as a school, medical facility, or enclosed office space. Top of Page


Top of Page        Home        Email Karen        ©All rights reserved.

"I have Lymph Drainage every two weeks. It is really nice to be able to breathe again and be pain free."
A.N., Redondo Beach, CA





The lymphatic system is a key part of your immune system. Lymph drainage can be a powerful tool in preventive health care.