What is Lymphatic Drainage?

It’s likely that you have heard about lymphatic drainage a time or two on social media and wellness blogs.  You have probably read about gua sha and facial roller tools that claim to drain lymphatic “junk” or toxins out of your body.  You may have seen celebrity facialists’ massage techniques eliminate puffiness and drainage within minutes.  But what is lymphatic drainage? How often do we need to address it?  Is it really necessary if we are using good skincare?

Let’s keep it simple and talk about what the lymphatic system is supposed to do and why we need manual assistance to make that happen.  To help you understand, let’s use an analogy from within our own bodies.  Our heart has a pump to move blood flow throughout the body to the veins and arteries.  On the contrary, the lymphatic system does not have a pump to push the lymph to the lymph nodes.  Instead, we use lymphatic drainage techniques to accelerate the movement and in the case of skin, to de-puff and eliminate the excess fluid.  This manual action can occur through facial massage and tools. The goal of lymphatic drainage is to move the fluid from the tissue to the lymph nodes, all while destroying harmful bacteria and paving way for the waste to exit.

Now you may be asking what exactly is lymph?  Lymph is mostly water in and around your cells.  There is a small percentage of this fluid that contains toxic chemicals that ultimately need help being flushed out.  That is where the manual drainage helps keep everything constantly moving.


What are the Benefits of Lymphatic Drainage

This process is manually performed to help with several facial concerns.  When your eyes are puffy from too much salt intake or sleepless nights, lymphatic drainage will help stimulate blood circulation and reduce swelling.  Additionally, while eliminating toxins from the skin, our skin immunity will improve exponentially.  Other benefits include relief from sinus pressure and jaw tension.  Regarding the skin on our body, lymphatic drainage will help treat cellulite by moving the fluid along that often gets stuck beneath our skin.

How to Perform Lymphatic Drainage to your Face

In addition to a gua sha stone or facial roller, you will need an oil or crème for slip when applying to your face.  Our skin is delicate and the pressure of the stones can bruise if used incorrectly.  The most important thing to remember when using gua sha is to not press hard. You can use feather light pressure against the contours of your face.  Your skin will turn slightly pink, which is normal. That is a sign of your blood circulating.  By angling your gua sha stone at a 5-15 degree angle, start with your neck and then move to your cheeks and forehead, using outward and downward strokes.

When performing lymphatic drainage to your body through a dry brush technique, begin at your feet and use upward motions toward your heart.  You can begin going up your legs to your arms and shoulders, then use a downward motion when you brush your abdomen. This process will also help with GI issues and digestion!

How Often Should I Perform Lymphatic Drainage

Facial lymphatic drainage can be performed as many times as you wish during the week.  Many people incorporate massage into their nightly routine.   A minimum of 1-2 times/week is suggested to ensure the fluid is not stagnant. 

Do I need to Perform Lymphatic Drainage if I’m Using Good Skincare?

Short answer: YES!  The process of manual massage will allow the harmful toxins to exit and will let your skincare work its magic.  You can invest in the most expensive skincare, but if you have built up fluid and swelling, your skin will not reach its true potential.  It takes commitment, but just a few minutes every week can help to maintain a consistent routine.  Overall, lymphatic drainage will help improve blood circulation and decrease inflammation.   Goodbye tired, puffy eyes…hello radiant, vibrant skin!

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“Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” - Coco Chanel

- Coco Chanel