EP 133: Lymph & the Nervous System – Massage as Nourishing Touch for Health with Lisa Levitt Gainsley

In this episode, Kimberly and Lisa discuss the lymph system and all its facets. Lisa describes what the lymph system is, what lymph drainage massage is and feels like, and the benefits of lymph massage for total well-being. They also discuss the importance of communication and safety in bodywork and how to perform self-massage on your lymph system. Kimberly and Lisa are going to host an upcoming workshop on lymph massage and listeners can check out Lisa’s new book, “The Book of Lymph” and website below for more resources.



Lisa Levitt Gainsley is a Certified Lymphedema Therapist, Manual Lymphatic Drainage practitioner, Author, Educator, and Speaker. Her work has appeared in GOOP, ELLE, The Hollywood Reporter, Healthline and more. She has worked at UCLA Medical Center and been in private practice for 20 years. She holds a double certification in Lymphedema Therapy and is a member of the Lymphatic Education & Research Network (LE&RN) and National Lymphedema Network (NLN). Lisa leads workshops across the country and has pioneered the field of Lymphatic self-massage and just published her book “The Book of Lymph.


What She Shares:

–What is the lymph system?

–Lymph drainage massage

–Health benefits of lymph massage

–Importance of communication in bodywork


What You’ll Hear

–Lymphatic system is circulatory system, part of immune system

–Role picks up waste products of body and absorbs waste

–Lymph hard to see and dissect making it slow to scientific discourse

–Improve lymphatic health to quell inflammation and affect mood and nervous system

–Understanding lymph system can unlock cures possibly to certain diseases such as MS, cancer, etc.

–Lymph system moves 6-12x per minute, slow rhythm and layers of lymph

–Lymph massage changes lymph and the nervous system

–Lymphatic massage is highlighted for different benefits around the world (aesthetic, immune-boosting, etc.)

–Pregnancy causes inflammation and swelling but natural process of body

–Shift from mindset of weight-gain during pregnancy to natural, intrinsic movement and clearing of waste in support of body

–Lymph has patterns of drainage, understand locations of lymph nodes for self-massage

–Self-care as self-massage rooted in physiology and clearing waste

–Book contains 3-5 minute self-care practices

–Different approaches for self-touch

–Laying hands flat to grab fluid and move up and let go

–Lymph stroke similar to how one touches baby for nourishing touch

–Negotiating how and where we accept or request touch

–Body-workers needing to communicate type of treatment and touch

–Three-layer touch (motherly, gripping, lightly) for lymphatic massage similar to baby sleep training

–Communicating through touch what feels safe and secure

–Importance of interpersonal communication during bodywork

–Importance of relationship with practitioner and client

–Proactive towards health with lymphatic massage

–Lymphatic massage as community engagement and ways of connecting

–Digital course, pre-recorded tutorials and monthly lives to practice on own and in community

–Kimberly and Lisa to have workshop together

–Cancer and lymph massage

–Palliative care and lymph massage



Website: https://www.thelymphaticmessage.com/

IG: @thelymphaticmessage