The lymphatic drainage massage has long been a celeb favourite for its sculpting effect in addition to helping flush toxins, boost immunity and eliminate water weight and bloating. Lymphatic drainage massage is a beauty skill worth mastering, and we're here to show you a DIY approach that you can implement at home.
So firstly, what is a lymphatic System? The lymphatic system is a collection of vessels beneath your skin and is part of your immune system which functions kind of like garbage disposal. It acts like a sanitation system for our body by getting rid of 'waste' that our body naturally produces, or other things that can invade our body, like bacteria. It's what protects us from getting an infection.
What is a lymphatic drainage massage?
Lymphatic drainage is a kind of massage that stimulates the natural drainage of the lymph, which helps to eliminate waste from the body. It is not like a regular massage which has a deep pressure that massages the muscles. This kind of massage is usually gentle and use specific techniques to move fluid around the body more effectively. The massage has a very light pressure because the lymphatic system is close to the surface of the skin. The goal is to move the fluid out of the tissues and into the lymph nodes, where bacteria, viruses and other harmful microorganisms are destroyed.
How do you lymphatic drainage massage yourself?
Understanding the lymphatic map of the body will help you to know which direction to massage.
Lymphatic massage strokes are gentle, light, slow, rhythmic, and nurturing. Respecting the cadence of lymph flow can also have a calming effect on your nervous system.
Your lymph system doesn’t have a central pump to move fluid the way the heart pumps the blood. It depends on muscle contractions to move it. It’s a one-way circulatory system. Every day, three litres of fluid are absorbed into your lymph vessels. Without your lymph system, your body would swell with fluid and waste, including viruses and bacteria. With lymphatic drainage massage, we’re moving lymph fluid through the vessels to mimic muscle contractions and speed up lymph circulation.
How to start your massage?
As lymph fluid empties into the bloodstream—into the subclavian veins—at the base of the neck the first thing you want to do is to stimulate your lymph nodes in the neck. The best way we found to help people understand this concept is: Let’s say you have a dirty ring around your bathtub and you want to clean it. What’s the first thing you’re going to do? Most people say: Put soap on it and start scrubbing the ring. But if you do that and you haven’t cleaned the hair out of the drain first, when you start scrubbing and put the water in the tub, you’ll get a backlog of dirty water at the drain. So when you're doing your lymphatic massage, first start at the main lymph nodes, neck, armpit, and the top of the thigh and abdomen.
Lymph strokes use the palm of your hands as much as possible—or a side of a Body Gua Sha that fits that part of your body. This is how you’ll achieve the nurturing and comforting response associated with lymph massage. You want to massage the fluid in one direction: toward the lymph nodes, not in circles.
How do you feel after?
Deeply relaxed, lighter, brighter, and with more energy. It’s like a reset button. Might start feeling lethargic, heavy, or sluggish, and when you're done leave feeling revived. Waking up the lymphatic system even just a that little bit is going to increase the lymph circulation, and you will feel the difference immediately.