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AU Registered Medical Device
12-month warranty
Same day dispatch
Professionally endorsed

TENS Unit Lymphatic Drainage: A Complete Guide

A woman holding her swelling calf

Problems with the lymphatic system can lead to various sensations of pain. Fortunately, there is a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation or TENS unit for lymphatic drainage. It is a device that delivers electrical impulses to the body. Consequently, this electrical stimulation can help activate the lymphatic system. It improves lymphatic flow and relieves discomfort associated with the effects of lymphedema. Nevertheless, operating the device is easy. Position the electrode pads, adjust the settings, and activate the stimulation.

The lymphatic system is responsible for the removal of waste products and toxins from our bodies. However, when it becomes clogged or sluggish, it can lead to a variety of health conditions, such as swelling, acute pain, and chronic pain. Traditional treatments often involve physical exercise and clearing exercises. Even so, TENS therapy is seen to be an effective treatment. This article will present a TENS device for lymphatic drainage, how it works, and how to operate it.

What is a TENS Unit for Lymphatic Drainage?

Lymphatic drainage massage is a therapeutic technique involving gentle massage strokes to the lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels. This encourages the regular circulation of lymphatic fluid in the body. Fortunately, the TENS unit for lymphatic drainage can help in the process. It is a battery-powered device that streams electrical impulses in the body via electrodes placed on the skin.

Furthermore, health professionals, massage therapists, and individuals often use TENS to help improve the lymphatic system. Subsequently, TENS devices come in wired and wireless forms. Wired TENS use lead cables to attach the electrodes to the control unit. Meanwhile, wireless devices eliminate the need for physical wires. Hence, it provides greater freedom of movement while undergoing therapy.

Nevertheless, both devices offer various features. Most TENS units extend adjustable settings. This enables people to modify the frequency, intensity, and duration of electrical stimulation. Moreover, some models may offer pre-set programs. This can target different conditions, like joint pain, fibromyalgia pain, muscular pain, and shoulder conditions, including treatments for lymphatic drainage.

Functions of the Lymphatic System

  • One of its primary functions is to circulate lymph. It is a fluid containing white blood cells.
  • The lymphatic vessels function as a drainage system. It collects excess fluid, proteins, and waste products. This process helps to maintain fluid balance in the body.
  • The lymphatic system plays a vital role in the immune responses of the body. Hence, it responds to foreign particles like bacteria, infections, and viruses.
  • It helps to identify and neutralise pathogens.
  • It facilitates the absorption of dietary fats from the digestive system.
  • The lymphatic system serves as a pathway to circulate immune cells and other essential substances.

A person using four TENS on her legs at once

How a TENS Unit for Lymphatic Drainage Works

Generally, a TENS unit for lymphatic drainage works by streaming mild electrical pulses through electrodes placed on the skin. These electrical signals are designed to mimic the natural nerve signals of the body. Additionally, the electrical currents from the TENS unit can be adjusted to different frequencies, intensities, and durations. Hence, it provides the desired therapeutic effects.

When TENS delivers electrical impulses, it can lead to the muscle contractions. This promotes “muscle pump” action. As a result, it aids in the movement of lymph fluid through the vessels. Also, the activity can enhance lymphatic circulation. This process can be particularly beneficial in cases where lymphatic drainage is compromised. It includes lymphedema or other conditions characterised by fluid retention.

In addition to promoting lymphatic drainage, the TENS unit can help alleviate symptoms associated with lymphatic congestion. Therefore, the TENS act as a method of pain relief. The electrical stimulation from a TENS device can activate sensory nerves. This leads to the modulation of pain signals and a reduction in discomfort. Also, improved lymphatic circulation can contribute to the reduction of swelling.

Benefits of the Therapy

The application of TENS therapy offers a non-invasive and drug-free approach. This eliminates the need for invasive procedures or pharmaceutical interventions. Therefore, it is an attractive option for people seeking natural and gentle treatments. Furthermore, TENS treatment is customisable. This allows people to tailor the therapy parameters to specific needs.

Most TENS units are portable. This enables individuals to use them conveniently at home or on the go. Also, the use of a TENS unit presents a cost-effective option. It may reduce the need for frequent, costly clinic visits. Moreover, TENS therapy can be an adjunctive treatment. This complements other therapeutic interventions.

A guide on how to operate the iTENS app

How to Operate a TENS Unit for Lymphatic Drainage

One must follow several simple steps to operate a TENS unit for lymphatic drainage. Begin by ensuring that the device is fully charged or has fresh batteries. Then, connect the electrodes to the central machine using lead cables or to a smartphone via Bluetooth for wireless. Next, identify the treatment area, prepare the skin, and position the electrode pads. Following the proper pad placement is crucial in this step.

After the electrode pads are in place, power on the TENS unit. The device may prompt the user to adjust the settings. Thus, modify the frequency, intensity or duration of electrical stimulation. Some TENS models may allow the user to choose a pre-set program. Hence, select the appropriate program. Nevertheless, begin with the lowest setting and gradually increase it to a comfortable level.

Once the TENS device is properly configured, initiate the therapy by activating the unit. Throughout the session, it is essential to monitor any response of the body to the electrical pulses. Be aware of any changes in symptoms related to lymphatic conditions. Once the therapy session is complete, power off the TENS unit and carefully remove the electrodes.

Pad Placement

Start by identifying the body area where the lymphatic drainage is needed. This could be where swelling or fluid retention occurs, such as arms, legs, or abdomen. Then, clean and dry the skin and place the electrode pads. Generally, the pads are placed in specific configurations to optimise the stimulation.

For instance, if targeting the arm, position one electrode near the armpit and the other near the elbow or wrist. Nevertheless, it is essential to ensure the electrodes are placed at least 1-2 inches apart. Secure the pads firmly to the skin using the adhesive properties of the electrode.


Overall, a TENS unit for lymphatic drainage is a beneficial tool. It promotes the functions of the lymphatic system, which holds great importance. Consequently, the TENS unit is available in wired and wireless forms with various features. Accordingly, it sends electrical currents to the body using electrodes placed on the skin. This aids in the movement of lymph fluid through the vessels and enhances lymphatic circulation. Also, it can alleviate symptoms associated with lymphatic congestion.

Furthermore, TENS therapy provides numerous benefits. It is non-invasive, drug-free, customisable, portable, cost-effective, and can be an adjunctive treatment. One must follow simple steps to operate the device. Begin by preparing the TENS unit. Then, locate the treatment area and place the pads. This is usually in the arms, legs, or abdomen. Next, turn on the device and adjust the settings. Nevertheless, adhering to proper pad placement is essential to optimise the therapy.

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