FAQ: Lymphatic Drainage Massage Vancouver B.C.

Donna Sam: Lymphatic Drainage (Detoxification) Massage  FAQ

What is the Lymphatic System of the Body? (See post on my website, re pinterest.com images of lymphatic system.)  I recommend you google “lymphatic system” to get very specific details about the lymphatic system and how it works if you are interested).

The lymph system is a network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that produce and transport lymph from tissues to the bloodstream. The lymph system is a major component of the body’s immune system. The lymphatic system contains immune cells called lymphocytes, which protect the body against antigens (viruses, bacteria, etc.) that invade the body.

Lymph is a clear-to-white fluid made of white blood cells—especially lymphocytes, the cells that attack bacteria in the blood—and fluid from the intestines, called chyle, which contains proteins and fats.

Main functions of lymphatic system:

-to defend the body against disease by producing lymphocytes (immune function)

-to filter fluid from around the cells and return it to the bloodstream and thus help maintain fluid balance

-to absorb lipids (fats) from the intestine and transport them to the blood

The lymphatic system drains waste and toxins from all the cells and blood of the body.    Most of us know that the liver, kidneys, lungs, and skin help us to detoxify but have never heard of the lymphatic system.  Without this important system, you would actually die!  It is great to do a liver or colon detox (and I recommend it) but you may still have problems if you have a stagnant lymphatic system as the wastes will have a hard time draining! (see various Blogs that I have written on this subject in my website). Please read the blog I wrote:  Why detox: Why lymph drainage detox as it explains in detail.

The major lymphatic vessel is the thoracic duct, which begins near the lower part of the spine and collects lymph from the lower limbs, pelvis, abdomen, and lower chest. It runs up through the chest (breast region) and empties into the blood through a large vein near the left side of the neck. The right lymphatic duct collects lymph from the right side of the neck, chest, and arm, and empties into a large vein near the right side of the neck.

Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system is not closed and has no central pump. Lymph movement occurs despite low pressure due to peristalsis – smooth muscle and skeletal activity (everyday activity and motion of the body). Exercise is very important for lymph.

Lymph nodes are soft, small, round or bean-shaped structures. They are located in clusters in various parts of the body, such as the neck, armpit, groin, and inside the center of the chest (breast region) and abdomen. Lymph nodes, which may range in size from very tiny to one inch in diameter, are filters for lymph and remove foreign material such as bacteria. Lymph nodes produce immune cells that help the body fight infection. Approximately two-thirds of lymph nodes and lymphatic tissue are found within, or near, the gastrointestinal tract. When people refer to swollen glands in the neck, they are usually referring to swollen lymph nodes.

The lymphatic system organs include the spleen, thymus gland, the tonsils, and bone marrow. Other organs—including the heart, lungs, intestines, liver, breasts, and skin—also contain lymphatic tissue. You can see (from the pinterest.com images) that the lymphatic system is interconnected with other body systems; e.g. digestive, respiratory, circulatory.



Lymphatic Drainage Detoxification Massage Promo Flyer

Get toxins out of your body (liver, colon, kidneys, etc). Reduce inflammation load. Toxic overload is linked to degenerative diseases such as arthritis and cancer.  The lymph system drains the body of all the wastes, toxins, bacteria, viruses, etc.  Without the lymph system (which is a parallel system to our blood system ), we would die in 3 days.  Get more energy, brain clarity, relieve bloating, gas & elimination issues, lose weight & inches incl. belly fat & cellulite, relieve PMS (cramps, swollen breasts, irritability, cravings), & other hormonal issues, improve fibrocystic breasts & adrenal fatigue, relieve migraines, improve circulation including swollen legs/ankles, fluid retention, improve skin issues (e.g. eczema, acne), sinus issues, relieve stress, help you feel lighter & get better sleep &  improve mood. Did you know that serotonin is produced in the gut? Did you know that your immune system is in your gut?  Boost your immunity with lymph massage.


Testimonial from N. Morrison (as posted in my website)

If you’ve ever considered trying a lymphatic drainage massage, I urge you to stop procrastinating.  For almost a year I read Donna Sam’s informative articles and planned to one day experience one of these massages.  Well, I waited too long because I can honestly tell you that it immediately improved my health.  My work involves a lot of sitting at a computer and over the years my health started to deteriorate – too much stress hormone, feeling foggy, no energy, and weight gain.    After just one session I experienced the following: An immediate tingly energized feeling that lasted all evening·  I slept well, but the next morning I felt body aches and sluggishness – this surely was a result of toxins having been released into my system·  Once I got moving around, stimulating my lymph, I felt increasingly better by evening·  For about a week following the massage, my urine had a very strong bad odour which Donna advised was the result of my body expelling toxins·  I felt more mental clarity, even  memory seemed to improve· I had developed swelling and discoloration in my ankles because of poor circulation – the discoloration noticeably decreased after the first week·  My vision also changed – everything appeared more bright.  Donna is very professional and you will feel very comfortable while undergoing this massage.  She followed up with me and provided great support information – truly amazing care.  I can highly recommend Donna and this treatment – especially if you lead a sedentary life style, but surely anyone would benefit.


I am actually feeling more energized and clearer minded after the session. My belly is flatter and my shorts actually feel loose, which is amazing as I often looked bloated there! I have only experienced positive effects, although interestingly enough it took me a while to fall asleep last night for some reason – maybe it was from being more energized.   Also, at work when I would usually get very sleepy in the afternoon that was much reduced today and I was barely sleepy.                                                        C.Y.


Since I have been seeing Donna, my health has improved so much.  I find that supporting the lymphatic system is so important.  She has helped me with my inflammation pain (gone down considerably) and weight loss, and my energy is better than ever.                                                        A.D.


Other feedback:


I also have had some women comment on how radiant and glowing their skin is the day after their lymph massage.  One commented that her coworkers noticed it (when she did not see it herself).  In Europe, lymph massage is a popular treatment in the beauty salons.  I just did a young woman the other day and I could not believe how much her skin Glowed with a capital G right after the session.  It was incredible.  She said her skin was still glowing the next day.  She also said her skin has not broken out near menstruation like it usually does and she also did not have swollen breasts.


A client in her 50’s  has commented that her hip, foot, knee, and leg pain have alleviated a lot during the lymph series. ____________________________________________

A lawyer commented that his severe eczema improved dramatically after lymph drainage massage & others have also noticed improvement.

Symptoms of Lymphatic Congestion (from www.lifespa.com)


  • Rings get tight on fingers
  • Bloating / Holding onto water (incl. swollen legs/ankles) • Breast swelling or soreness with each cycle
  • Weight gain and extra belly fat
    • Soreness and/or stiffness in the morning
  • Mild headaches
    • Feeling tired
    • Itchy skin
    • Dry skin
    • Mild rash or acne
    • Swollen glands
    • Low immunity
  • Elevated histamine and irritation due to common environmental allergens
    • Brain fog
  • Hypersensitivity
    • Occasional constipation, diarrhea, and/or mucus in the stool
  • Cold hands & feet (circulation issues)


What are the Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage (Detoxification) Massage?

  • Boosts immune system (the lymphocytes are increased after a lymphatic drainage massage!)
  • Removes toxins from the body, including liver, colon
  • Breaks down congestion in the body
  • Improves digestion/elimination (great if you have constipation, bloating, gas, etc)
  • More brain clarity as toxins can lead to a foggy brain
  • Increases circulation, including to the face so contributes to a youthful glow
  • Weight loss; more toned body (esp. in abdomen), decreased cellulite, reduction in cravings
  • Reduces fluid retention and swelling, especially around leg and ankles
  • Handle stress better, feel lighter
  • Improves sleep
  • Increases energy and stamina
  • Relieves PMS symptoms including swollen breasts, irritability, bloating, cramps, hormonal acne
  • Reduce inflammation load. Toxins are linked to degenerative diseases.  Reducing your inflammation load helps reduce pain so you may have reduced pain in your joints, hips, knees, feet, etc.  My clients have commented on that.  Even shoulders feel looser after lymph massage.

Because the lymph system does not have a pump (like the blood system does), manual lymphatic drainage massage helps break up the congestion and remove toxins from the body. The more toxins we can release, the better we will feel—and look!


****Must drink lots of water  up to 48 hours after a session to assist the body in removing the toxins. ****Also, avoid salty foods, too much caffeine and avoid alcohol after your session.  Also, arrive well hydrated to your session. This is very important as this will alleviate possible toxin removal symptoms, e.g. headache, fatigue, flu-like symptoms. Everyone is at a different stage with their cleansing and toxin level; some may need to rest, others may feel more rejuvenated.

**Please read the blog I wrote:  “Why detox: Why Lymph Drainage Detox” in my Blogs section.  It explains how it differs from just doing a cleanse and how it works and how it is important to clean the “drains” (lymph vessels/nodes) of the body.**

I have never heard of lymphatic drainage massage. Where did it originate?

The original method of lymphatic drainage massage (also known as manual lymph drainage or MLD) was developed by Dr. Emil Vodder and his wife in the 1930s, in Europe.  MLD is very popular in Europe, especially Germany.  Other types of lymphatic drainage massage have also gained popularity since that time.

What style of lymphatic drainage massage do you do?  Are you an RMT?

I am certified in lymphatic drainage massage, but I am not an RMT.  I do not use the Vodder method of lymphatic massage that is commonly performed by RMTs.  My teacher’s teacher is originally from India and I believe she is an Ayurvedic doctor as she did teach Ayurvedic styles of massage.  The style that I use does not have a name but it is nothing like the Vodder method.  I should more precisely call what I do “lymphatic drainage detox integrated massage ” for accuracy as 85% of the session is massage”.

What makes my style of lymphatic drainage massage unique is that I integrate Eastern medicine techniques which further enhances your detoxification.  That is, I will also work on the liver meridian, gall bladder meridian, spleen meridian, kidney meridian, etc.  I am familiar with the acupuncture meridians as I have a Thai Massage diploma and have  training in shiatsu, qi gong, and am a big fan of acupuncture.  I also include some reflexology in the one hour session which is just the front of the body.  In the 90 min. session (which includes what is described in the one hour plus a back massage) I also integrate techniques from Swedish, Thai massage and shiatsu so further work is done on acupuncture meridians.  In the 2 hour session I also include what is described in the 90 min. session plus energy healing techniques (therapeutic touch, chakra clearing, aura balancing, grounding) to move your chi (or prana) energy and further enhance your session.   (The Vodder method does not include a massage nor does it use oil nor does it integrate Eastern medicine techniques). What I provide is a “spa-like” treatment along with work on the lymphatic system to get toxins out of the body.    I do not treat people with active cancer or with serious illnesses.  I primarily work with people who are interested in detoxing and are interested in being healthy.

The lymphatic massage treatment that I do includes a face, head, and neck massage, arm, forearm, abdominal massage, breast massage, as there are a lot of lymph nodes in that region (see separate blog about breast massage) (this is only done with your permission),  leg/thigh massage and some foot reflexology in addition to the work on the lymph system.  The 90 min session includes a back massage (and hips/glutes) unless you choose to not have a back massage and choose the cellulite massage instead or 1/2 hr. seated energy healing/chakra balancing. The 120 minute session also includes both sides of body and back massage and a 1/2 hr seated energy healing/chakra balancing, while the 60 minute session is only the front of the body.  Everyone finds it very relaxing, although in certain parts of the body (e.g. abdomen, arms, legs) where you may have more toxins, it may feel more tender. I can usually feel this tenderness (and sometimes so can the client) and a “bumpiness” on the skin where there are more toxins.  The pressure is gentle to medium in this style of massage, and oil is used unlike in the Vodder style which is more superficial and very light.

As just noted, the lymphatic drainage massage that I do is very different from what you may have experienced with an RMT.   You will also receive  a massage (about 80% massage) as part of your session  using coconut oil & a non-toxic face lotion & an organic lavender foot lotion. Your session is also enhanced by courses & further training I have done to improve on the lymphatic massage techniques I originally learned), e.g.  reflexology, qi gong, energy healing, shiatsu, Thai massage, TCM and energy meridiens.   E.g., during the 10 min. of the reflexology portion of the lymph massage, I may notice an imbalance in your stomach, spleen, liver, gall bladder, kidneys, etc.  Note that I am not a doctor and I do not diagnose.  I might note that your stomach reflex, for e.g. is tender and ask what you notice.  I might then ask if you have problems with undigested matter in your stools such as seeds, nuts as the stomach digests protein, gluten including nuts and seeds. I may then recommend you get betaine hydrochloride capsules from the health food store to help with stomach acid support. Or I might note that your gall bladder meridian is tender & remind you that the gall bladder deals with frustration & that one of the functions of the gall bladder is to have the bile that is stored there escort toxins out the lymph system. I may recommend various gall bladder tinctures or a Bitter blend of herbs from  herbal or health stores. ( I may also recommend some energy healing work with me to deal with the emotion of frustration.)   Or I might notice a tenderness in your spleen reflex and remind you that the spleen is the biggest lymph node of the body and fluid balance is one of its purposes.  If you had not previously mentioned swollen legs/ankles or breasts (during PMS) or even swollen/bloated abdomen I might ask you further questions and say how I have observed that  lymph drainage is very helpful  for swollen breasts and abdomens.  I might also mention that in TCM the spleen deals with stress, worry and overthinking.  I ask these questions as stress creates a lot of toxins (mentioned many times in my website blog) and I encourage clients to deal with stress.  I also work on some of the energy meridians, e.g. liver, gall bladder and spleen, etc.

The name “lymphatic drainage” massage sounds scary.  Will be there tubes attached to me? Is it like a colonic?

Yes, I agree the name is rather off-putting which is why I usually refer to it as lymphatic detoxification massage.  Don’t let the name scare you.  No tubes are attached to you.  It is not like a colonic (colon hydrotherapy) at all. You will not be draining anything onto the table or through tubes while you are on the massage table.  That is, no fluids are going to be seeping out of you while you have the treatment.  Some people do need to “pee” right after the session (and this can continue into the evening). This is a positive sign as it means you are releasing toxins. (Note:  If at any time you need to run to the bathroom in the middle of the session, please just let me know as I don’t want you to feel uncomfortable having to “hold it”.)

I once tried a lymphatic drainage massage in China and it was very painful and I said I would never do it again. Is yours like that?

No.  The style that I do is not deep and painful.  It is gentle to medium pressure.  In areas where you may have more toxins it may feel more tender but I would not describe it as “painful”  (the clients that relax (practically all of them) and doze off are proof of that!)

What happens in a session? 

When you book a session with me, I will email you a list of Contraindications and a Client Intake Form and Toxin Overload Quiz to fill out and return to me, by email, before your session.  At your first session, I explain to you what I will be doing in the lymph massage and ask you about your goals for the session. (e.g. weight loss/cellulite, detoxification (incl. fatty liver), digestion, fluid retention, skin issues, hormone issues, etc).  I go over possible detox symptoms you may experience & encourage you to drink lots of water to help move the toxins (that I have drained up) out.   I will send you a follow up email after your first session.

How do I know if I need a lymphatic drainage detoxification massage?

I have a quiz to see if you have toxic overload. (It is in my lymphatic detox massage flyer, listed under the “Lymphatic Drainage Massage” heading of my website).  It asks questions such as: Are you tired all the time; do you have digestive and elimination issues (including gas, bloating, constipation); do you have a foggy brain;do you get a lot of colds or flu; do you have weight issues, circulation issues, fluid retention or swelling, etc.  Even if you do not check off many items in the toxin quiz (I can’t list every possible thing), it does not mean you cannot benefit.  I have worked on extremely healthy people including nutritionists, naturopaths and health coaches who eat a perfect diet and lead a very healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes for them it may be subtle (e.g. noticing an improvement in some strange small pimples coming out of their skin and that clearing up) or it may be more major – e.g. reduction in bloating or acne the following days post lymphatic massage or a reduction in a few sessions in swollen lymph nodes around ear or neck).

I am noticing quite a number of my clients get improvement in their PMS and other hormonal issues, e.g. swollen breasts, irritability, fluid retention, bloating, cramps, migraines, hormonal acne, sleep issues,  etc.  This is probably due to getting the toxins out of the liver and moving out the lymphatic system (which is the sewer system of body).  One of the purposes of the liver is to metabolize hormones, e.g. estrogen.  If the liver is full of toxins it will have a harder time removing estrogen from the liver at a normal rate.  If estrogen is not metabolized properly it can be reabsorbed back into your bloodstream rather than excreted out via the colon.  (And if your colon is full of toxins too, especially if you suffer from constipation, then the estrogen can get reabsorbed back into the bloodstream!) Double whammy!  This lymph massage will help you get toxins out of your colon, liver, kidneys, and other organs. (see blog I wrote “How Liver Toxins Can Affect Your Hormones & Weight”)

Even if you don’t have many of those symptoms, (e.g., you might eat a perfect organic diet), there are many toxins from the environment – pollution from vehicles, truck fumes, cigarette smoke, cleaning chemicals, cosmetics, shampoos, etc—that you cannot avoid.   Or you could have a lot of old environmental toxins (e.g. lead, mercury, or mold). Or your could eat excessive tuna and be getting high mercury.  I have a few clients who have been tested by naturopaths for mercury and lead (some of clients with lead toxicity recall old homes with lead or painting a house and inhaling a lot of lead from the paint).  Or you could have a lot of old drug toxins (e.g. from chemotherapy or recreational drugs you did when you were younger).  I had a recent very healthy client, who was told by a healer (she utilized an advanced European technology) that she saw stagnant lymph around his head and neck area even though  he checked off nothing in the Toxin Quiz.  Upon further discussion he admitted he did a lot of recreational drugs when he was younger even he no longer did that.

Stress also creates toxins.  If you are under a lot of stress, you might be surprised at the amount of toxins you have even if you eat a perfect organic diet!  Emotional and mental stress severely affect the lymph system as emotions, according to a cranialsacral therapist I once knew, travel along the lymph system.  Lymph also travels along the energy meridians according to an acupuncturist that I once saw.

I remember reading an article in the Vancouver Sun newspaper a few years ago about such a family and they were shocked to find when they were tested that they had hundreds of chemical toxins in them!

Can’t I just do a cleanse? 

Yes, cleanses are great to do in addition to the lymph drainage detox massage.   However, only a lymph drainage massage will specifically drain/de-clog the lymph vessels (“drains”) of toxins.  Remember those toxins have to leave the lymph vessels from the liver, colon, stomach, kidneys, as an example, and if those vessels/nodes are all clogged up, it is going to have a hard time “getting out the door, so to speak”.  See my blog called “Why detox, why lymph drainage detox” for more information.  I have had clients who eat very healthy and have done all the cleanses, seen the naturopath, done the wheat and dairy elimination diets but can’t figure out why they still have bloating or acne when they have done what they think are all the right things.  Then when they see me and get their lymph system “drained” of the toxins and their acne or bloating goes away, they understand the missing link!  I like to think that by draining the lymph system, I am working at a root level!

They are all complementary treatments and I recommend people try various detox techniques, including: doing cleanses, using infrared saunas, making dietary changes, exercising, taking different supplements and herbs,  seeing other practitioners who may be able to help them further, (e.g., naturopath, acupuncturist, RMT, osteopath, nutritionist, herbalist, etc.) and trying other therapies such as colon hydrotherapy (colonics), live blood analysis, and of course, exercise, yoga, etc.  I have observed that my clients who do other treatments in addition to the lymph massage get the best results.  I have also observed that the clients who eat the most healthfully and exercise seem to get faster results.  Reducing your stress load also makes a big difference as stress really taxes the lymph system. Stress creates toxins!

What kind of detox symptoms might occur after a session?  I get some symptoms when I do a cleanse.

Everyone is at different places with their health and toxin load.  Not everyone will experience any, all or some of the symptoms. Some get no symptoms. Symptoms (usually for first few days) might include: headaches, fatigue, achy, flu-like feeling (joint or other body pain – i.e. some people wake up with a neck or back ache), cold/flu like symptoms, e.g. stuffy or runny nose, sore throat, cough, lung congestion, brain fog, irritability, pimples or itchy skin or rash. Some people may experience constipation, extreme cravings or hunger.

To alleviate the symptoms, get extra rest if you are more tired. Don’t eat a lot of salt or excessive salty foods after your detox  or too much caffeine or alcohol (hard on kidneys). Drink lots of water as already stated.  This is very important.  I have drained and brought up your toxins so they can leave via the kidneys, skin, lungs, bowels, lymphatic system and if you don’t drink enough water, it is like having dirty laundry inside you!   I also recommend unrefined sea salt or Celtic salt or Himilayan salt  as a natural source of electrolytes.  Also get Concentrace trace minerals (electrolytes) at the health store or Aussie Trace Minerals electrolytes from Gaia Garden Herbals in Kitisilano and add that to your water.   Electrolytes help to absorb your water better in addition to providing you with the magnesium, potassium, calcium, sodium that you need (google “benefits of electrolytes” if you are not familiar with why they are important).  Do the infrared sauna (if you have no contraindication to that).  Take binders if you are detoxing uncomfortably.  Talk to a health food store such as Pure Integrated Pharmacy or Finlandia or a nutritionist or naturopath about how to take binders correctly if you choose to do that.  Epsom salt or himilayan salt baths  are good too.     Peppermint oil is good for headaches.  Take it easy, try to reduce your stress load as stress really aggravates your lymph system.  If you pee or sweat a a lot after your session you will be losing electrolytes so it is important to replace them.

What kind of results have you seen in your clients?

I notice that they all experience an increase in energy, some people notice that their abs become toned after a few sessions, (some without even having to exercise, not that I recommend that).  Most people comment on feeling “lighter” right after their session.  I also see them gradually losing weight if that is their goal (of course one needs to change one’s diet and exercise, too, to lose weight; one cannot just rely on lymph massages).  It is really rewarding to see them noticing their own improvements in their health, digestion/elimination issues. Many clients notice a reduction in bloating, gas. Some notice reduction in cravings and start eating differently without it being part of the plan. (For example, quite a number of them have switched to a gluten free diet and are telling me their great ideas!)

I would like to comment more on the energy issue.  A lot of clients comment on the afternoon slump or feeling more tired than usual as one of their main symptoms for seeing me.  (Even though some people think that is “normal” and that there is nothing they can do about.) This is especially interesting to me for clients who already eat extremely well (including gluten & dairy free).  Normally one might think they would have no reason to be tired.  I recently had a client in her early 50’s who had colon cancer last year and was now cancer free and following a very healthy diet of juicing everyday (I reminded her not to over-do the juicing of carrots of beets as they are high in sugar), coffee enemas daily and what she described as a perfect diet but  I observed she had high stress (which I told her creates toxins also) . But she still felt tired despite the perfect diet and health routine she was following.   She wondered if lymph drainage could help her.  Near the end of her series of sessions (5th or 6th session)  she noticed that her cold feet (she did have circulation issues) had warmed up to no longer being cold all the time and that her energy level sustained from one day (in the first few sessions after lymph massage) to the whole week as I saw her weekly. After I saw her again when I followed up with her 3 weeks later after she had completed the series, she said she still had lots of energy and now would pursue more things like yoga now that she had the energy to do so!  This is the fine-tuning that I think lymph drainage can help with – draining out those toxins in the lymphatic system where they first need to be drained.

I also have helped a women in her late 60’s going through severe adrenal fatigue, hormonal issues, low thyroid, frequent infections, digestive issues, weight issues, etc.  She had taken on  a very high stress educational program the past 5 years which severely impacted her health.  She was currently under the care of a functional medicine doctor and was following those guidelines of eating well/supplements.  She came as a referral from an existing client who had benefited from her lymph massages from me and she suffered from extreme fatigue and brain fog and commented that doing lymph massage has helped her tremendously in having more energy and clearer thinking; she credits it with helping her achieve her Ph.D!  She also commented that her swollen breasts issue disappeared.  She also lost inches all over (neck area, arms, abs, legs, ankles  slimmer (I commented she would look great in a skirt!),  and lost weight too! Even a long standing sinus issue improved.

I also had another women, 65, very healthy and fit except she did have digestive issues & fatigue and was battling candida when I first saw her and she was  under the care of a naturopath.  I observed that she had very high stress which I reminded her creates toxins.  She was rather skeptical that nothing seemed to be happening while doing the series (i.e. still gas).  I always have to remind clients that they have to do their part – i.e, change their diet (including cutting back on the alcohol and sugar), take supplements, do things to de-stress, exercise if they are not,  etc.  I also remind clients that lymph drainage massage is a process – you may not notice anything dramatic happening from session to session; you just have to trust the process. Lymph massage is only part of the equation to get toxins out and improve energy, digestion, etc.  I found out that she was doing poor food combining – i.e., mixing protein with sugar/starch or fruit which will create fermentation and create gas). I recommended she try to not do that.  Because I observed that high stress was affecting her and I like to take a holistic approach, I recommended that she add on energy healing to her sessions and she noticed that she felt lighter from her first session of adding on energy healing and lymph massage together.  After completing 2 series of lymph massages (with the last 6 including energy healing) she commented that she had lots of energy (even when I saw her 5 weeks later) and her bonus was that her foot pain  disappeared. She also had some miscellaneous aches & pains that went away.   She said that prior to seeing me for her first lymph massage she would wake up and have to step gingerly on the floor due to her foot pain.  She no longer had the foot pain but had forgotten all about it as we had mainly focussed on her digestion!

Some notice their pain disappears.  I had one woman who was about to get orthotics for her foot pain that was not going away. After one session, her foot pain disappeared, and she was in high-heeled boots very shortly thereafter when I saw her a week later.  Another woman thought she had carpal tunnel syndrome in her arm, and her boyfriend always had to give her a daily arm massage.  One day he asked her why she no longer asked for arm massages.  She no longer had pain after her lymph massages.

I am currently working on a client in her 50’s and she has commented that her hip, foot and leg pain have alleviated a lot during the lymph series.  (There have been studies saying that lymph drainage helps people with pain issues like fibromylagia, arthritis due to the way it acts to calm the nervous system (parasympathetic system).  I recently met someone who had received lymph drainage massage many years ago for pain and said her arthritis specialist had recommended it!  Another client of mine, from the very first lymph massage, comments each time that her very tight shoulders at the end of the session feel so much lighter and don’t hurt like they usually do.

I have had quite a number of people notice reduction in fluid retention especially in their legs and ankles.  One woman was especially  delighted and said she could actually see her ankles! I feel less “bumpiness” or tender areas on clients (I call it “the toxin feel”) on the clients I massage regularly. Clients, too, notice less tenderness in the areas that previously were painful.  I have noticed a youthful glow in some clients after doing lymph massages and they have made the same comment.

I have a number of clients notice an improvement in their circulation.  They said they always had cold feet and after a few sessions, their feet was no longer cold (and I noticed it too when I was working on them). This was especially beneficial to my client with diabetes.  One woman who had serious circulation issues where her ankles had become purple noticed improvement in her circulation in that region within a week (see Testimonials).  I have also noticed that some of my clients have cold thighs or other limbs too and after I do the lymph work in that area (or if they add on cellulite massage on the thighs) there is a noticeable warmth in that area from increased circulation.  Clients comment on that too.

(As a side note, I also recommend the Firma Energywear circulation (compression) socks and leggings with far-infrared beneifts that I sell for anyone with circulation issues such as cold feet, swollen legs/ankles, varicose or spider veins, etc including during international travel).  See separate page in my website on that.)

One woman said her kids noticed how energetic she was the day after her first lymph massage.  A lawyer said he felt way more energy and focus the day after his lymph massage!  One of my clients the other day said she noticed more brain clarity the day after her session with me.  She said “she felt relaxed and sharp and her brain definitely works better after a detox with me”.

Many have commented that they noticed less tenderness in legs/abs/arms  (when I am doing the lymph massage on them) in the 2nd session  versus the first session  even though the same pressure (gentle to medium) is used.  I believe this is due to having moved out some of the toxins in the first session.

Some have commented that they actually lost weight in the day or two following the session, although weight loss usually occurs over time (initially it could be fluid retention draining from their body).  Many have commented on inch loss in their abs or thighs, specifically they noticed that their pants/skirts feel looser.  I have noticed that also in clients doing the series.  I also observe inch loss and more toned look in their arms and upper chest region (below the neck region especially). I have had some women comment that they noticed cellulite reduction over a series of sessions.

If cellulite reduction is one of your goals, I recommend adding a extra half hour so that I can focus more on areas of cellulite (abs/thighs/buttocks) and committing to a series of sessions. I have noticed (as have my clients) smoother skin texture and cellulite reduction in addition to better circulation (warmer in thighs) in that area which can only help things as improved circulation helps everything. Of course you need to do other things like good diet and exercise.   Lymph drainage massage is very popular in Brazil  for the purpose of weight loss and cellulite reduction!  (The Firma energywear leggings are also clinically tested to help with cellulite due to the far infrared component to help increase blood circulation).

I have some clients say that I really moved things in the digestive region.  Some elaborate on their bowel movements that improved (especially if constipation was an issue), but not everyone shares that information after doing a series of lymph detox massages. (Some people experience a more rapid response than others.) One senior woman said that she noticed an improvement in elimination in that she had a problem with sensation of bowel not emptying completely and it improved dramatically (she also took my advice to eat slower and chew her food, eat healthier and do things to decrease her stress level which can aggravate your digestive/eliminative system).

Some comment on having a headache after a treatment.  I personally get a headache about 2 days (not next day or same day) after receiving a lymph massage  so I sometimes forget that it was due to the lymph drainage massage but it happens quite often so that I can see a pattern for myself.  (This is a normal symptom of detoxing and cleansing – some get it and others don’t.)  Some feel thirsty and need to drink more water, and that is normal:  You are encouraged to be hydrated prior to your session and to drink lots of water for 48 hours after your session.

Some clients break out in a bit of a skin rash or pimples as toxins are being expelled out of the skin.  Some comment on feeling more tired, others more rejuvenated. Everyone is different with where they are at with their toxins.

Some clients even notice that the tenderness in their arms or legs (or other body parts) continues for a few days after their session (even though deep pressure is not used in the massage).   When I work the arm area, (the whole arm including forearm and hands), I am moving the lymph fluid upwards towards the axillary nodes (armpit nodes) so that it will filter out the toxins. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine and acupuncture, there are energy meridians in the arms and legs which correspond to the major detox organs such as the spleen, liver, gall bladder, colon and kidneys, and lymph travels along these meridians where I am massaging the tissue.

Many people comment they have a great sleep on the evening of their lymphatic massage. This type of massage also works on the parasympathetic system, so it calms the nervous system (and of course relaxation massage usually does have a relaxing effect over and above the lymph work).  Some have noticed sinus drainage or shifts in congestion (i.e. one sinus to another) after a session.

One man’s wife commented that she noticed her husband’s eczema condition improved after his lymph massage the day before. (Apparently lymph massage improves skin conditions and allergies as they are often linked to toxins).  I have noticed that for myself, too, my eczema seems to be less inflamed after a lymph massage, due to getting the toxins out of my body. I have also read that eczema is related to digestion issues.

I also have a client in her early 40’s who came to see me for severe eczema – it was so bad she was taking prednisone (7 months) to control the itch even though she ate what was a “perfect diet”.  I observed that she was oozing very high stress (which also creates toxins).   She ideally did not want to take the steroids but had not found a solution.  After a few sessions of lymph drainage massage, her eczema started to go away and she was able to reduce, then stop the steroids which she was very happy to do (as that in itself is very bad for the body and was creating toxins in the liver).  The eczema gradually came up to be released out of the skin and disappeared.  I also recommended energy healing to help with the stress and that seemed to help.

Some women who have done a number of sessions note improvement in their PMS symptoms.  They don’t get the painful swollen/tender breasts (fluid retention) like they used to and they are less stressed during that time of month than they used to be. Some even notice a result in one or two sessions!  Some notice no cramps in their next cycle.  Some comment on hormone acne improving and sleep issues and hormone related headaches alleviating.

A breast cancer survivor commented that the “sandpaper” feeling from nerve damage of breast cancer surgery  near her armpit node  near her breasts  was gone  the day after her lymph massage!  She said it was painful prior to that just to have clothes touching her body!  Of course she has no way of knowing if it was lymph massage that played a role or if it just recovered on its own but she could not help commenting on the coincidence in timing.  

I have had several women comment on significant improvement in their fibrocystic breasts after a few sessions.

I also have had some women (and one man) comment on how clear, radiant and glowing their skin is the day after their lymph massage.  One commented that her coworkers noticed it (when she did not see it herself).  In Europe, lymph massage is a popular treatment in the beauty salons.  I just did a young woman the other day and I could not believe how much her skin Glowed with a capital G right after the session.  It was incredible.  She said her skin was still glowing the next day.  She also said her skin has not broken out near menstruation like it usually does and she also did not have swollen breasts.  (See testimonials page on others experience with anti-aging).

I have had clients notice an improvement in their hay fever symptoms (watery eyes, sneezing, runny or drippy nose).

I also had one senior lady say “My kidneys have almost returned to normal function – not going after every sip of water but at least an hour later.”  Remember it is the kidneys that produce the urine (that is stored in the bladder) and the kidneys work hard at filtering wastes in the blood.  Lymph drainage helps to drain wastes from all the cells of the body.  I am currently working on a woman in her late 20’s with interstititial cystitis (painful urination) and she noticed a huge improvement after only 2 lymph massage sessions with me.

One woman commented the other day that her severe migraines (they occur every 7-10 days) have started to decrease from 4 days to 1 day in length after doing a few lymph detox sessions.  She is happy about that as that means less pain and less medication that she hates to rely on.

I have had quite a number of clients comment (especially when they do the series) that their stress level goes down despite everything staying the same (i.e.,  nothing changed in their high stress job, their relationship, their children, etc.).  In other words, they feel a lot less stressed from having received lymph drainage massage with me.  Why is that?  One reason is that this lymph massage works on the parasympathetic nervous system.  Another reason may be due to the relaxation massage strokes  (which reduces stress).  I think though that getting physical toxins out of the body reduces stress on the body.  I mean, how can toxins NOT stress the body?  In the same way that  stress creates toxins, toxins can also create stress!

Some clients have heightened perception after lymph massage.  E.g. a lawyer said in an email the day after his session that “last night, I found that my sense of smell was stronger. Was smelling more intensely the incense that I burn and the essential oils that I use. Was a bit different.” I have had other clients notice that their vision seems different in that things seemed brighter when they drove home after their session.  Some comment that their taste buds seem more acute.

I have had a number of clients notice an improvement in their sense of smell in the day or so after their lymph massage (from getting the toxins out).  One senior lady was happy she was getting more “whiffs” of smell than normal.  She was especially gratified as she has unfortunately lost her sense of taste.

I have also observed that clients who commit to doing the series sometimes observe themselves releasing held in  emotions (over and above the physical toxins).  I notice that my clients definitely look ” lighter” after sessions as if they have let go of something. (This is something that I typically observe in my energy healing clients as stuck emotions are stored in the body.)

I have noticed that clients who have more toxins take longer to notice the relief in pain than clients who are healthier and exercise, especially those who exercise hard.  It is gratifying when they say they no longer feel that pain in the arm or abdomen, or wherever, after their lymph massage treatments.

What are your rates? Do you have a referral program?

Regular rates are $85/hr or $170 for the Bliss & Detox session of 120 minutes.  If your only goal is lymphatic then the one hour is perfectly fine.  The longer session is more pampering & includes more massage work over and above the lymph work.  Packages are available after your first time, which make it very affordable ($420 for 6  one hour sessions (works out to $70/hr) or $840 for six 120 minute sessions (works out to $140 for 120 minutes). First time promo is $59/hr (front of body only) or $118 for 120 min (both sides of body).  (There is also an option to top up for half an hour more the one hour session for $40 more with your choice of (1) back/legs/hips/glutes massage or (2) cellulite massage (abs/thighs/buttocks) or (3) a half hour seated energy healing/chakra balancing.

The 2 hour (“bliss & detox”) session also includes a massage on the back/hips/glutes/legs and thai massage/shiatsu techniques (palming, thumbs, elbows),  foot reflexology, scalp & face massage, neck & shoulder massage.  It also includes a half hour seated energy healing/chakra balancing.   All of the sessions include massage (using coconut oil) and include a head/shoulder/neck & foot massage.

If you wish the 2 hour session,  make sure you book way in advance to secure your time slot.

Or there is a package of 3  one-hour sessions $240 (works out to $80/hr) or 3- 120 minute sessions $480 (works out to $160  for 120 minutes)

See Promo page for First time promos.

Rates vary if the session is off-site or in a group mobile massage session.  Check my website for any current promotions.

I also have a referral program.  When you refer me to someone new for a lymph massage or  energy healing, you get your next session for a discounted rate of $59/hr or $99 for 90 min. or  $118 for 120 min – you save 30% over regular rates just by sharing and referring others.  You get that discounted rate for each new referral of these two services.  They must state that you referred them.  See my Lymphatic Detoxification flyer under “Lymphatic Drainage Massage” for the first time promo and the Toxin Quiz.

New:  When you refer me to someone new who purchases  the Firma Energywear circulation socks/leggings or tops from me (min $50 purchase), you are also eligible to get the rate  of $59/hr at your next lymph massage or energy healing appointment (instead of regular rate of $85/hr) for each new referral.

What types of payment do you accept?

Cash, cheque (once I know you), postal or bank money orders, or e-transfer (electronic funds transfer).  Sorry, I don’t accept debit and credit cards.  Did someone give you a gift certificate to Wayspa?  I now also accept Wayspa gift certificates (sold at http://www.wayspa.com or  in many stores including Save on Foods,  Superstore, Staples, etc).

How can I get a hold of you to book an appointment or for more information?

By email: vandonnasam@yahoo.com or call  778-232-8964.

More information on lymph massage can be seen in my various blogs (or google lymphatic system or lymphatic massage).  I am happy to answer your questions.

Where are you located?

I work out of Sourcepoint Shiatsu Clinic, 16th/Heather in Vancouver, by appointment only. Other locations may also be available.  See Contact Page.


Below is a Toxin Overload Quiz you can do to assess your own toxin level.  It may give you an idea of your degree of toxins but it is surprising to me (and it may surprise you too) that  a lot of my clients who eat perfect organic, very healthy diets have a lot of toxins!  So many people have food sensitivities (including to what you may already know and also what you  may not suspect (e.g. lettuce, broccoli, grains, wheat, dairy, etc).  or have digestion/elimination issues which create toxins.  Undigested food creates toxins which in turn lead to inflammation and that in turn leads to degenerative diseases and other issues.   Come and check out a lymph massage to find out for yourself.  It is important to get the toxins out for optimal health.

Toxins are chemicals or poisons that come from food, water, air or chemicals from the environment. Examples of  toxins: carbon monoxide and pollution toxins from vehicles, tobacco smoke, food additives, food dyes, MSG, chemicals from pesticides, chemical-based cleaning products, mercury from fish, etc.

Possible Toxin Overload Symptoms – check off any that apply to you

__ fatigue, sluggishness __circulation issues (e.g. cold feet/hands, varicose or spider veins)
__elimination (gas/bloating, constipation, IBS, digestive issues) __allergy-like symptoms (e.g. watery eyes, sinuses, drippy nose)
__get colds and flu easily __bags under eyes
__frequent low grade infections __have swollen legs or ankles, fluid retention
__skin problems, including rashes, itchy skin, acne, eczema __mental confusion, foggy brain
__aches & pains, e.g. neck,shoulder,back,joint pain, knee pain, foot pain, migraines __get stressed easily
__difficulty losing weight Note that lack of exercise, stress, & poor diet will aggravate your toxin level


If you experience quite a number of the symptoms above, you may be experiencing toxic overload.   Our bodies can become overloaded with toxins as we are exposed to a large number of toxins on a daily basis.  Even people who eat a perfect organic diet have toxins.  A poor diet, lack of exercise and stress can aggravate your already overloaded toxin level.


Did you know that lymphatic drainage (detoxification) massage helps break up the congestion in the body and detoxifies the organs?  Detoxifying can protect you from disease and renew your ability to maintain your health.  Toxic overload, according to experts, is linked to degenerative diseases such as arthritis and cancer.


Receive a gentle to medium pressure rhythmic & flowing relaxation massage blended with oil and thumb rolling movements to get the lymph moving.  Clients find the massage very relaxing and they feel lighter afterwards.  Some even fall asleep on the table!  Detox with a lymph massage, relax & be pampered.


First time promo  $59 for an hour (reg $85) (front of body) or $118 for the Bliss & Detox session of 120 min (reg $170) (both sides of body. )  Ask about package promos.


If desired, you can also add on a  15 min. seated energy healing (clearing & moving stuck energy, grounding & balancing of  all 7 chakras) for $20 more or a 30 min. seated healing for $40 more (see detailed energy healing brochure).


Call or email Donna Sam for more information. Cell 778-232-8964 (Vancouver)

www.vandonnasam.wordpress.com    Email vandonnasam@yahoo.com


Media coverage: Lymph drainage detox massage


Christine Runs: The Lymphatic Detoxification Massage can benefit all levels of runners

February 27, 2014

Some runners participating in big events like marathons will want – or more likely need – a post race massage. Having a massage afterwards feels good and can alleviate aches and pains and lactic acid buildup. Some runners include massage therapy as part of their training regime to help shorten recovery time between workouts, while sprinters use massage therapy to help with their muscle flexibility.
Indeed, having sports massage treatment can help a runner’s recovery, while reducing the risk of injury. Now you can add another type of massage that may be helpful to runners: the lymphatic detoxification massage.
It’s a treatment which removes toxins from the body and breaks down congestion. It improves the immune system and circulation. Not enough? It contributes to a youthful glow, relieves stress, increases energy and stamina, is great for weight loss; decreases cellulite, reduces fluid retention (edema) and swelling and improves digestion and elimination. It had me at ‘youthful glow.’
Donna Sam, certified in lymphatic drainage (detoxification) massage, explained how lymph massage benefits runners: “It can help runners recover from a sports injury when they are not able to get deep tissue massage. The lymph massage helps by increasing circulation and helps by reducing edema (fluid retention) and swelling.”
Sam continued, “I helped someone with a sports injury on his knee and he said he noticed a huge improvement the next day in that the swelling went down significantly. The other benefit would be the increased energy. Most people, especially healthy people, notice a significant increase in energy the next day from getting the toxins out of their body.” The Lymph massage is a gentle to medium pressure rhythmic and flowing massage  blended with oil and thumb rolling movements to get the lymph moving.

I had the opportunity to experience this massage and felt relaxed and more energized. Before my session, Sam had me fill out the form about any health concerns or injuries that I may have.
After my session, Sam advised to drink plenty of water to get rid of the toxins and to avoid sugar and alcohol, Sam emailing a reminder to that affect. “It will also help to alleviate any detox symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. You may observe a sensation of feeling lighter, increased thirst, increased urination (body is excreting toxins – this is positive), notice a reduction in cravings over next few days and a desire to eat healthier, some even feel some pain relief, e.g. in their arms as toxins are linked to inflammation. Others comment on feeling less bloated.”
Sam is passionate about her work, saying, “I get enormous satisfaction from seeing the results in regular clients that I see every week. They all practically notice an increase in energy, their abs get toned after a few sessions – some without even having to exercise – (not that I encourage that) and I see them gradually losing weight if that is their goal. It’s rewarding to see them noticing their own improvements in their health issues.
“Many notice a reduction in bloating / gas,” Sam continued, adding, “Some notice reduction in cravings and start eating differently without it being part of the plan (e.g. quite a number of them have switched to a gluten free diet and are telling me their great ideas!). Some notice pain disappears. I had one woman who after one session was about to get orthotics for her foot pain that was not going away. (However) her pain disappeared and she was in high heel boots very shortly thereafter when I saw her a week later.”
Sam said, “If you Google lymphatic drainage massage (the proper name) you will see a lot of information on its benefits, particularly with regard to the Vodder method for lymphedema, e.g. cancer patients who have breast cancer and had their armpit nodes removed, have to do lymphatic drainage massage to deal with the swelling (edema) on their arms (to drain the lymph).”
Website: www.vandonnasam.wordpress.com
Twitter: christineruns
You Tube – runwithitcb1



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