Full disclosure: I am a sucker for any wellness, beauty, and health trend I find on Instagram. From MCT oil to celery juice to B12 shots, I’ve tried it all — and if I haven’t yet, I probably plan to. There have been ones that have now been incorporated into my approaches to beauty and wellness. There have also been ones that I could definitely live without. Over the past few months, I have noticed the increase in influencers, bloggers, and models getting lymphatic drainage massages to detoxify their bodies. Honestly, I was skeptical at first that a massage could do all that it claimed to help with. After contemplating it for awhile and doing my research, I finally decided to give it a try.
I made an appointment at a local massage center near me. I made sure that the masseuse was proficient in lymphatic drainage massages. Before the massage, I discussed some of the issues I was having with her and she explained how this treatment would help. The biggest reason I went in was because I suffer from chronic back and neck pain from sitting to study and at work that flares up a few times a year, making it hard to stand and walk. She went over what to expect and we talked about the method she uses. The initial process of the massage is just like any other massage — you get undressed and lay on a heated table. After that, don’t expect a deep tissue massage, because it’s nothing like that! She used light, repetitive strokes focusing on my arms, armpits, stomach, back, and legs. When the massage was over, I rested and drank a lot of water as I was directed to.
A couple days after the massage, I felt like I had an extra pep in my step. I was able to workout with no pain and my body felt like it was given a boost of energy. I noticed that the water weight around my midsection had gone down and I was no longer bloated. Overall, the inflammation in my body was gone, and I felt like my body was finally in a comfortable, content state that moved with ease. I’m not saying this massage was the answer to all my problems, but I will definitely be adding it to my health routine a few times a year! Keep reading to learn more about what a lymphatic drainage massage is and if it could benefit you.
What does the lymphatic system do?
As we go throughout our everyday life, everybody tends to build up toxins in their body. It’s your lymphatic system’s job is to remove these toxins and other unwanted waste by transporting lymph throughout the body through a network of tissues and organs. Lymph is a clear, slightly yellow fluid containing white blood cells to help your body’s immune system and to fight off infection.
Dr. Chikly, of the Chikly Health Institute, states that your lymphatic system is what keeps you healthy. Activating the lymph flow throughout the body can stimulate the immune system. When it isn’t working properly, stagnant fluid containing these toxins builds up in the body. If you are ever feeling achy, sluggish, have minor pains, or become susceptible to cold and flus, it is most likely because your lymphatic system isn’t doing its job. More serious conditions of your system not working are lymphedema, infections, blockage, and cancer.
What is a lymphatic drainage massage?
A lot more people are incorporating this massage into their health and wellness routines. You can find directions online on how to give yourself this massage, but I recommend going to a licensed therapist who is trained in lymphatic drainage massage for a proper treatment.
A lymphatic drainage massage uses very light pressure and long, rhythmic strokes that gets the lymph fluid moving and directs the toxins into the organs that can properly remove them. A trained practitioner’s hands can simply apply pressure to re-stimulate the natural contractions of the lymphatic system. This will move the stagnant fluid back into the natural lymph flow of the body.
What are the benefits?
A lymphatic drainage massage is commonly used for its ability to:
- Fight off infection
- Speed up healing and recovery from the cold and flu
- Reduce water retention
- Boost weight loss
- Improve cellulite, skin swelling, scar tissue, acne, and stretch marks
- Reduce stress and fatigue
- Help with post exercise recovery
After speaking with a trained professional, I learned that this massage is helpful for individuals with breast cancer. These people tend to get lymphedema as a result from losing lymph nodes through breast cancer treatments and surgery. It can also be used to help individuals suffering from more serious health concerns such as:
- Digestive problems
- Orthopedic injuries or surgeries
When should I do it?
Everyone can benefit from getting a lymphatic drainage massage with the change of the seasons. This is because with each season we are eating different foods, our level of activity is changing, and the change in weather can affect the body’s internal processes. It is also common and helpful to get one at the end of having a cold to help boost the immune system back into working properly. When you’re ever feeling extra bloated would be a great time to receive the treatment, as it helps to reduce water retention.
If you suffer from any of the listed symptoms and feel like a lymphatic drainage massage would help, I suggest meeting with a trained professional and they can discuss a schedule that would be good for your body.
- Drink plenty of water before and after your massage, as it can cause you to become dehydrated
- It’ll leave you feeling pretty exhausted, so you’ll want to take it easy for the rest of the day
- I suggest stripping down to as little clothing as possible (that you feel comfortable with) so the masseuse can do the treatment most effectively
- You can continue to keep your lymphatic system working properly by drinking lots of water every day