Getting regular massages can be an effective health strategy for many people. While a standard Swedish massage once a month can help reduce muscle pain and encourage proper health most of the time, once in a while you may have needs which require specialty massage modalities to help endure other health problems.
As a matter of fact, there is one particular Euro-spa massage modality that does not actually work on the muscles directly. This is a massage modality known as lymph drainage massage, and it is more closer related to reflexology than to deep tissue.
FIRST: A LOOK AT REFLEXOLOGY MASSAGE
Reflexology massage follows the Eastern philosophy that the human body contains a network of meridian—energy channels—that connect the organs to other parts of the body. Basically, then, you could alleviate a headache by applying pressure to the webbing between the toes or fingers; or you could potentially quiet an upset stomach by rubbing the instep of either foot.
To simplify, while Swedish massage (massage as we understand it in the West) encourages improved blood flow to alleviate pain, reflexology massage encourage better energy flow (the life force known as “qi”) to alleviate illness or chronic conditions.
NOW: THE LYMPH NODE NETWORK
The life force meridian network theorized in reflexology is very similar to physical lymph node network of the body in that swelling of the nodes is a signal of a health problem and, more importantly, alleviation of this swelling restores health. The lymph nodes are located at several points in the body and each signify a different problem:
- Glands at the Neck, Jaw, and behind the ears swell when you have an upper respiratory infection or if you have a cut or injury in or around the head; this can include a tumor or other infection related to the mouth, head, and neck
- Swelling of the glands above the collarbone (the superclavicular nodes) can indicate infection in the lungs, breasts, neck, or the abdomen.
- Glands under the armpit (the axillary lymph nodes) can signal an injury or infection in the arm or the hand. Sometimes swelling of these nodes can also indicate cancers like lymphoma or breast cancer.
- The femoral/inguinal lymph nodes—in the groin—will swell as a result of injury or infection in the feet, leg, groin, or the genitals. Of course, then, they might also help to suggest the presence of lymphoma, testicular cancer, and even melanoma.
Lymph node massage is designed to encourage the draining of lymph fluid buildup at these markers in the body. This, in turn, can speed recovery from injury and can improve the body’s healing capacity.