The Touch of Lymphatic Massage

The Ariana Institute’s Medical Massage Therapy Manual is part of a series of massage manuals that are designed to help deepen the knowledge of current massage therapists and introduce new massage therapists to the world of massage and bodywork.  The Medical Massage Therapy Manual features topics that are also available as NCBTMB approved online CE courses through the Ariana Institute at, including:

  • Headache and Allergy Relief
  • Lymphatic Massage
  • HIV/AIDS Information for Massage Therapists
  • Pain Management
  • Prenatal Massage
  • Geriatric Massage

This manual incorporates detailed protocols, photos, links to online videos, marketing strategies, personal stories, and resources to encourage a comprehensive understanding of medical massage therapy modalities beneficial for your massage practice.

Here’s a personal story about lymphatic massage featured in the Medical Massage Therapy Manual.


My most memorable lymphatic massage is the first lymphatic massage I offered after my training with Rosario Garza and Mari Paz Gomez at the European Massage Therapy Institute. At the time, I had a successful private massage therapy practice in Austin and I was also employed as a massage therapist at the spa at Barton Creek Resort and Country Club, one of Austin’s premier destination resorts. I met a wonderful colleague at Barton Creek Resort who, for the purposes of anonymity, we will call “Charlene.” She and I had been working together at the resort for about a year when she and her family went on vacation to Morocco, where they were involved in a tragic auto accident. Charlene’s face and scalp were severely injured.

Once her wounds began to heal to the point where lymphatic massage was indicated, rather than contraindicated, because of the open wounds, I was able to obtain permission from her physician. I went to her home and offered Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) to her. MLD is a treatment that involves light pressure; like “a leaf on the water.” It activates the musculature of the lymph vessel system by increasing its rate of absorption from the surrounding tissues. It’s a non–invasive way to remove excess fluid and waste products.

I utilized the knowledge I gained in my class at the European Massage Therapy Institute to develop a treatment plan. I completed an intake form and assessed Charlene, and then I proceeded to clear the lymphatic channels at the base of her neck. Then I began at the top of Charlene’s head and offered rhythmic, bilaterally symmetrical circles with the pads of my fingertips, medially to laterally, finger–width–by–finger–width from the top of her head to the base of her neck. I checked in with Charlene from time to time to verify that the light MLD pressure was appropriate for her. She agreed that it was and said she felt a sense of relief.

After about 45 minutes, we agreed to conclude the session and we both noticed a visible decrease in the swelling in her face around the areas where she had been injured. I felt a wave of gratitude that my first lymphatic massage offered relief from discomfort and reduced the swelling around her wounds. It was a very moving experience for both of us.

After successful treatment with Charlene, and many more successes that followed, my confidence in the efficacy of the treatment was set. I made it a point to pursue additional studies in lymphatic massage, make time in my schedule to receive lymphatic massage and take another lymphatic class at a national massage convention in Portland.

My experience and extended education have led to me incorporating information on lymphatic massage and protocol in the development of the Ariana Institute’s Head, Neck and Shoulders class. It also prompted me to update the Institute’s Facial Massage class and the Headache and Allergy Relief class with lymphatic massage, as it had proved to be a resourceful modality in many areas.

It is rewarding on many levels to discover a modality that is effective and non–invasive; one that helps stimulate the body’s own healing process. I am very grateful that I discovered lymphatic massage so many years ago and continue to use it as a modality. I highly recommend lymphatic massage training and lymphatic massage to help clients recover from injuries and illnesses, as well as part of a total health care plan to maintain and sustain good health.

Ariana Vincent was awarded the 2015 CE Provider of the Year Award by the Alliance for Massage Therapy Education. She is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapy Instructor whose classes are accepted throughout the United States. Ariana is also a Massage Therapy Hall of Fame Honoree and author of the Ariana Institute’s therapy manual series available on Amazon.

To read the foreword of the Medical Massage Therapy Manual, visit  
The Ariana Institute’s video introduction to the Headache and Allergy Relief, Lymphatic Massage, HIV/AIDS Information for Massage Therapists, Pain Management, Prenatal Massage, and Geriatric Massage CE courses can be accessed on the Ariana Institute’s YouTube Channel at
To order your copies of the Ariana Institute’s Medical Massage Therapy Manual, visit  
For additional information about the Ariana Institute and to register for online continuing education and MTI courses visit Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB Ariana Vincent, LMT, MTI, NCTMB

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