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Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage Benefits after a Long Flight

By Angelica Crudo

The idea of traveling to faraway destinations or new places may be mind-blowing. However, there are worrisome processes before the traveling experience, marred by issues like body parts swelling, nausea, jet lag, amongst others. Long-haul flights present difficulty due to such discomforts, especially to first-time and non-occasional travelers.

Despite the undesirable effects of jet lag, travelers still have to fly to destinations for special activities like leisure, business, family reunions, celebrations, and so forth. Therefore, they are naturally required to harden up or find a way, somehow, to restore their bodies to normalcy upon reaching their destinations.

Special post-flight arrangements for procedures like manual lymphatic drainage massage (MLD) go a long way to reduce or disseminate jet lag symptoms and effects.

What is Jet Lag?

Jet lag, or jet lag disorder, is a temporary sleep disorder resulting from quickly flying across two or more time zones.

Traveling across multiple time zones disrupts the brain’s normal scheduling to fit into the new time zone. As such, when one travels to a faraway destination, they might feel the need to sleep during the daytime and stay awake at night, having difficulty

adjusting to the new time zone’s timelines since the brain is still in synchrony with the previous time zones.

Apart from the sleep time confusion, jet lag is also characterized by:

  • Insomnia

  • Mood swings

  • Stomach upset, constipation, or diarrhea

  • Lacking concentration

  • Fatigue

  • Excessive sleepiness

Jet Lag Causes

Jet lag stems from the quick travel across multiple time zones. This travel confuses the body’s circadian rhythms, which are responsible for physical and mental systems coordination. Circadian rhythms are the body’s 24-hour internal clock that dictates how we do things in line with time.

One example of a circadian rhythm-controlled cycle is the sleep-wake cycle; the body knows the time to go to sleep and wake up automatically. This automatic response to sleep and wake-up times comes from the ability of natural light to cue the body to either turn to rest mode (sleep) or wake up.

Traveling across two or more time zones destroys the body’s capability to make informed judgments through the circadian rhythms. The result is symptoms and effects like nauseousness, insomnia, fatigue. Jet lag symptoms usually start showing about one to two days post-flight.

What is Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

Manual lymphatic drainage massage or MLD is a specialized massage procedure involving light, gentle, and rhythmic hand movements. Developed in the 1930s by Danish Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife Estrid Vodder, MLD encourages lymph flow throughout the body with ease, eliminating lymph fluid clogging in the body tissues.

Lymphatic system circulation is approximately three times a minute. MLD application increases this circulation to about thirty times a minute. Lymph fluid flow ensures no tissue clogging that causes swelling of legs, neck, hands, face, and ankles. MLD benefits, thus, include being a jet lag cure.

Jet Lag Treatment using MLD technique

MLD offers a natural way to combat the effects of jet lag due to long-haul flights. Long-haul flights may cause body part swelling, especially feet, hands, neck, and ankles, due to the state of little to no activity as travelers remain seated for hours. This lack of activity causes low lymph fluid circulation in the body.

The result is draining of the lymph fluid into the body tissues and clogging of the lymph vessels. Lymph vessel clogging leads to swellings experienced in the various body parts during a long-haul flight.

MLD requires proper hydration both before and after the procedure for effective treatment. Long-haul travelers should take a minimum amount of 1.5 liters of water both before and after MLD. Travelers should consume adequate water, especially if they plan to get an MLD post-flight.

Also, taking large water quantities post-procedure is beneficial in jet lag treatment recovery. MLD procedure starts with a massage therapist raising the leg and the clients torso from the massage table before beginning the actual massage. This simple pre-massage activity increases lymph flow throughout the body. The gentle hand rubs follow, usually without the use of massage oil.

The slow and gentle rhythmic hand application targeting the lymphatic system unclogs the lymphatic vessels. The unclogging of lymphatic vessels allows the free flow of lymph fluid throughout the body. This increased lymph fluid circulation is a natural jet lag treatment technique, significantly reducing the swellings, jet lag symptoms, and effects.

MLD technique has recently gained traction due to its proven results. Detox Massage offers MLD to clients who wish to keep fit post-flight. Cleo Pillon, the CEO of AegisDerma, is one of Detox Massage’s seasoned clients. Cleo’s life revolves around occasional travel to Europe, Brazil, and United States.

As such, she makes use of Detox Massage’s MLD technique to reduce jet lag effects post-flight. Cleo compliments Detox Massage’s technique with her facial Cleo Gua-sha product, which has angular edges to apply pressure to the lymphatic system to improve lymphatic drainage.

Other Manual Lymphatic Drainage Massage Benefits

MLD has numerous MLD benefits other than being a natural jet lag cure. First, traveling can prove stressful due to the amount of packing and preparation done before the actual flight. MLD benefits the body in this regard by offering deep relaxation to long-haul travelers.

Second, manual lymphatic drainage massage benefits the long-haul traveler’s immune system through detoxification. MLD detoxifies the body through the increased circulation of the lymph fluid, which carries dead cells, fats, proteins, water, and salt from the body tissues back to the bloodstream to enable their infiltration by the liver or kidneys. The result is healthy glowing skin and generally a healthy body.

Third, manual lymphatic drainage massage benefits the long-haul traveler by promoting sleep. Insomnia is a common problem following long-haul flights due to the jet lag effect. MLD relaxes long-haul travelers and makes one sleep like a child due to this relaxation. MLD also aids travelers in adapting to their destination sleep timelines much faster.


Even though traveling is fun, jet lag seems to take center stage and ruin the fun travel experience by tormenting long-haul travelers throughout the first days post-flight. Manual lymphatic drainage massage reduces or manages the travelers’ jet lag response. A combination of light, gentle and rhythmic touches alienate the lymph clogging, resulting in lymph fluid flow.

Lymph fluid flow diminishes body part swelling and other jet lag-induced symptoms. Detox Massage, a licensed massage studio in the Washington DC metro area, offers MLD to long-haul travelers landing at airports in the Washington DC metro area.

Visit Detox Massage today and book a therapeutic post-flight MLD session.

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