What is lymph?
You may or may not have heard of this recent wellness trend, but lymphatic health is more than just a fad. The lymphatic system is part of both the circulatory system and immune system and is responsible for moving along the lymph – or the extra fluid that drains from cells and tissues – into your bloodstream. “The lymphatic system is crucial for removing inflammatory cellular byproducts from the tissues,’ says Nicholas Nikolov, M.D. These inflammatory byproducts can include cellular waste, toxins, bacteria, and inflammatory proteins. If the lymph nodes on your neck have ever felt a little swollen, then you’ve witnessed your lymphatic system at work. Walking and exercising are excellent ways to improve your lymphatic health. Still, sometimes our bodies benefit from a little extra support, which is where lymphatic massages and treatments enter the conversation.
What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage?
Lymphatic drainage massages are typically used for patients with lymphedema, though we love to recommend these massages to patients following certain procedures, like breast augmentation and liposuction. Recently, however, facial lymphatic drainage massages have soared in popularity thanks to platforms like Instagram and TikTok. We are so glad people are getting excited about their lymphatic health!
A lymphatic drainage massage is the process of using your hands to encourage lymph to flow in the right direction. Where a deep tissue massage uses higher pressure to target the muscles, a lymphatic drainage massage will use very light pressure in order to focus on the lymph, which sits just beneath the surface of your skin. While this sounds relatively simple, improving your lymphatic health has benefits not just for your skin, but for your entire body. These include:
- Strengthening the immune system
- Making your skin glow
- Reducing water retention, swelling, and bloating
- Boosting collagen production
- Relieving sinus congestion
- Improving the healing of scar tissue, post-procedure and/or post-acne
- Reducing fine lines and wrinkles
- Giving a more sculpted appearance to the body
- Improving metabolism
- Increasing blood flow to all tissues
- Engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing you to relax deeply
What are the best ways to improve lymphatic drainage?
- Use a dry brush: Starting at the bottoms of your feet, use long, fluid strokes to brush your skin up towards your heart. Be sure to brush both the fronts and backs of both legs. When you reach your stomach, brush in a clockwise circle to boost your digestive health, then continue in long strokes towards your heart.
- Go for a walk: Exercise, including dance, running, and even walking, can help your system circulate the lymph in your body.
- Try a simple lymphatic drainage massage: Start by engaging your lymph nodes: tapping the area just above your collarbones towards the hollow of your neck. Improve your circulation further by rubbing your fingertips around your scalp, as if shampooing your hair, for twenty seconds. Then, using very gentle pressure, use the pads of your fingertips to stroke the skin on your face, starting from the chin to the ears, and gently swipe five times. Proceed to stroke your face five times from the center of the nose to the ears, then from the center of the forehead to the ears. Lastly, draw your fingertips behind the ears and down to the lymph nodes ten times.
- Incorporate CellSound treatments into your skincare routine: CellSound is a new anti-aging unfocused ultrasound treatment for the face and body which improves circulation and lymphatic drainage without inflammation or damage to the skin. We love its non-surgical, non-invasive approach, which improves cell metabolism and autophagy to boost collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid production in the skin while ridding the tissues of stagnant toxins. CellSound is a perfect addition to your lymphatic and wellness routines, and we have seen incredible results in-clinic across all ages and skin types.
The lymphatic system gives us just one more example of how beauty and wellness are inseparable. It might just be time to incorporate some lymphatic drainage techniques into your skincare routine! To find out more about tips and treatments to improve your lymphatic health, give our office a call at (310) 247-1932.