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COVID-19: The Virus, The Vaccine, And Lymph Massage

I know, I know… You’re probably sick of people talking about COVID-19 by now. It’s all we hear…well… anywhere.

But it’s here, we can’t ignore it, and it begs the question…

What does COVID-19 mean for Lymphatic Therapy? What about the vaccine?

This question became personal yesterday when my 17-year old son got his second dose of the vaccine. He had no side effects the first time, but the second? He got a pretty good headache and told me his armpit hurt on the side where he got his shot.

Classic swollen lymph node!

So let’s dive into mixing Lymph Therapy with COVID-19 or the vaccine!

The COVID-19 Virus

The virus itself is an infection so that should be a strong clue about receiving lymph massage while you’re sick. Any infection (with the exception of a minor common cold) is a contraindication for lymphatic work.

Reminder: A contraindication is a sign or indication that a treatment is not advised. It can cause harm and make things worse!

That’s because your body is trying to fight off the infection and lock it down – you’re trying to isolate it and prevent it from spreading around the body. Lymph treatment could make it easier for the virus to break the “quarantine” your own immune system is trying to maintain.

We never do lymph treatment on an active infection, especially when a fever is present.

When you are on the mend and your symptoms are almost gone, then you could begin to do some lymphatic work to assist with the clean up.

The Vaccine

Good news! The vaccine is a different story.

You can do lymphatic work to address symptoms that result from receiving the vaccination.


But why is the vaccine different?

Glad you asked. The vaccine is not an active infection. It isn’t a live, destructive virus and therefore you don’t have to worry about spreading it around and it causing harm.

The symptoms are the result of your own immune response to the vaccine (something called innate immunity) and, while miserable, are not caused by the virus itself. You can think of them as collateral damage of your body’s own attempt to learn how to combat the “virus”.

So in my son’s case, his axillary (armpit) lymph nodes swelled up and grew inflamed from his own immune system’s response to the vaccine. Lymph massage was entirely appropriate to alleviate the symptoms. For this particular situation, that involved a quick 3-minute self-treatment involving starting the siphon and pumping the nodes.

What About Professional Lymph Therapy?

Lymphatic work being performed by a professional doesn’t change the calculus at all. A legitimate lymphatic therapist will know not to work on someone with an active infection and also that it is fine to work on someone after their vaccination.

I’ll say it again. If you have an active infection and a massage therapist says they’ll work on you… shame on them. That isn’t either wise or legal and you should run away from them.

Contraindications aren’t optional.

For my son, or anybody else only needing a quick axillary node clearing, it would not have been worth it to pay a professional. It would only make sense if you were going to get a massage anyway and the therapist can incorporate some quick lymph treatment into the rest of the session. You wouldn’t need a full session to address this problem.

Now if the symptoms post-vaccination are persistent or severe enough that you’d be willing to pay $100-200 to get rid of them, then by all means get the help. Because it will help.

Wrapping It Up...

So using Lymphatic Therapy with COVID-19 can be summed up simply.

  1. For the VIRUS itself, don’t do it!
  2. For the VACCINATION, yes lymph work can help – just remember that the cost has to be worth it to you.


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