You are correct that there are differing opinions to the question "Is it okay to receive a massage after having lymph nodes removed?". During a massage a large quantity of fluids are released that are managed solely by the lymphatic system. The release of these fluids tend to overwhelm the existing system and cause fluids to be retained in the tissues causing a lymphedema condition. This increased production of fluids are released by both the Swedish relaxation massage and the deep tissue massage. The other concern with having massages is the tissue pressure that is used by the massage therapist. The lymphatic system is compromised with moderate to deep pressure. When you do your lymphatic massage you should be only using enough pressure to only stretch the skin.
To be on the safe side I caution my patients not to have a massage unless the therapist has been certified in the management of lymphedema. I have had several patients referred to me that this is what triggered their onset of lymphedema.
We tell our patients to wear the sleeve during travel as well as during any repetitive activity that you perform (e.g. exercise routines, gardening, sweeping, vacuuming, etc).
Janet Scheetz, P.T.