Lymphatic drainage massage has gotten a lot of attention on social media lately, not for its health benefits but for its body contouring effects. A good lymphatic massage gets ride of excess fluid retention and bloat, which can make your muscles and face look more defined.
The lymphatic system is the body’s “water filter” which helps detoxify and get rid of damaged cells, toxins, dead blood cells, pathogens, and other waste.
With the help of a gua sha, dry brush, or your very own hands, you can manually manipulate specific areas of your body to encourage the flow of lymphatic fluid toward the lymph nodes where it’s filtered and fed back into the bloodstream. It’s a simple yet powerful way to boost the health of your lymphatic system with simple tools. Here’s some I love:
Lymphatic Massage for the Body
You may have seen before-and-afters of lymphatic drainage on TikTok. The contoured look is due to lymphatic drainage helping to reduce water retention and bloat, which may have a temporary visual slimming effect.You can achieve a smiliar effect at home by taking some time and giving yourself a thorough but gentle lymphatic self-massage, using slow, soft, and rhythmic strokes in the direction of a lymph node, or upward, are key.
- Begin by pressing on the area just below your collarbones to get the drainage started, then press the armpit three times on both sides.
- Shift your focus to the arms and stroke from the elbow to the shoulder on both sides.
- Make circular, clockwise movements around your navel, followed by consecutive up-and-down movements, from your stomach to your lymph nodes.
- Then, turn to one side of your body and, using both hands, make pushing movements from the side towards the lymph nodes.
- Don’t forget about the other side!
- Finally, to massage the legs, lay the palm of your hands right at the crease of one thigh, and move upwards toward the navel in a wave-like motion. Repeat on the other leg.
And because nothing is more satisfying than sweating it out, give your lymphatic system a leg up by using an infrared sauna or sauna blanket before your hands-on treatment. By stimulating your lymphatic system first to detox through sweat, your body is better able to remove toxins at a cellular level while preparing your lymph nodes for more effective drainage.
Lymphatic Massage for the Face
By moving excess fluid out of the facial area, you can enjoy a de-puffing. Followers of facial lymphatic drainage massages rave about the glowing, healthier-looking complexion it leaves. Other benefits include improving blood circulation, bringing fresh nutrients to the skin through blood flow, supporting healthy cell production, and taking time for self-care.
To give some TLC to your face, use a gua sha or the tips of your fingers to work your lymphatic system, starting in the middle of the face and working up and out towards the ears, before gently bringing it down the neck.
You can follow along to a video a few times before you get the flow. I found this one helpful.
So go on and give your lymphatic system some love!
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