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As of late, I've read so many articles about celebrities proclaiming the benefits of lymphatic massage. And if you're anything like me, you may be wondering, what is it — and more importantly, what can it do for you? 

So let's start from the beginning: a lymphatic massage is a non-invasive technique that can be used to enhance the movement of lymphatic fluids into lymph nodes to clear waste and toxins from the body. 

Irani Makimoto, founder of IMD Beauty Spa, in New York and LA, has over 35 years of experience studying the lymphatic system. According to Makimoto, a lymphatic drainage massage can help to boost the immune system, increase circulation, decrease the appearance of cellulite, reduce swelling and sculpt the body. "Our most popular treatment is our Signature Lymphatic Drainage Treatment, it combines a magnesium thermal wrapped infrared sauna session, followed by our signature lymphatic massage," says Makimoto. "The FAR infrared heat accelerates skin tightening and toning while promoting a naturally detoxifying sweat, prepping the body for the massage."

Lori Bush, co-founder and CEO of Solvasa, says lymphatic massage also combines the benefits of lymphatic drainage with muscle tension release, enhanced micro-circulation, and the delivery of skin brightening and lifting adaptogens and peptides. 

Curious to know more? We sat down with three lymphatic massage experts, to uncover the benefits of this treatment.

How Does a Lymphatic Massage Work?

Lymphatic massage is a type of deep tissue massage that focuses on the lymph nodes and surrounding network. "Lymphatic massage is considered a deep tissue massage because it targets your deeper-lying connective tissues such as fascia (connecting everything from your skin to your organs), as well as the muscles that support them," says Makimoto. "It is all about detoxing the body on a cellular level by improving your lymphatic system."

The goal is to enhance circulation by targeting locations where fluid builds up, creating lumps or pockets in your muscles. This can be helpful for people suffering from swelling caused by medical conditions such as lymphedema and cellulite.

If you do decide to try this treatment, it's important to speak with your doctor first, to make sure it's right for you. While lymphatic massage is not direct therapy, if someone has lymphedema or swelling, it will help decrease the symptoms. The pressure is directed through muscles and skin to the area of swelling, which helps break down lymphatic fluid causing congestion in an attempt to reestablish proper flow.

The massage is performed using steady rhythmic pressure designed to transport fluid through the lymphatic system and back into your bloodstream, where it can be filtered out of your body. It works almost like an internal shower for your skin allowing all those impurities to flush out.

Lymphatic massage is also beneficial for people who have undergone plastic surgery, general surgery or experience inflammation issues, such as arthritis, where mobilization is key to recovery. "We usually provide our Postoperative Lymphatic Drainage Treatment,  for those who have had surgery," says Makimoto. "This massage technique is a gentle form of massage that increases blood flow and promotes recovery by processing waste and absorbing fluids which sometimes harden and become painful after surgery. A post-operative massage prevents and treats this hardening of fluids by promoting circulation, reducing inflammation, and helping scar tissue heal."

What Is a Lymphatic Face Massage?

When it comes to my face, my general belief is you only get one, so it's important to make sure it stays as beautiful as it is now... forever. If you take care of your skin while you're young, the investment will inevitably pay off as you get older. 

Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist, and founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skin Care Collection, says that a lymphatic drainage face massage is a tool that anyone can use to make their face rejuvenated and glowing.

The massage element really helps, beyond just working product into the skin, it increases circulation by delivering oxygen around the face, draining toxins and assisting in the reduction of inflammation and puffiness.

So why have a lymphatic face massage? Well, in the short term, Vargas says it helps prepare the skin for extraction. But in the long term, it's excellent for maintaining elasticity. 

As for how often you should engage in lymphatic drainage face massage — Vargas recommends a nightly treatment. And when it comes to techniques, it's best to carry out the massage as you are cleansing your skin.

VIDEO: A Face Massage Might Be the Best Thing You Can Do For Yourself Today

How Do You Do a Lymphatic Face Massage at Home?

Solvasa face wand
Credit: COURTESY

"A lymphatic face massage can be done at home in as little as three minutes using the vibrating Solvasa Crystal Energy Wand," says Bush. This wand helps to promote the one-directional practice of lymphatic drainage. Bush recommends using the wand with a  facial serum like Solvasa DeStressance, which  enables the rose quartz to glide over the skin without tugging and, most importantly, creates an integrative procedure with the extended, multi-faceted benefits. 

Below, Bush shares steps for carrying out a lymphatic massage facial at home:

1) First, apply Solvasa DeStressance serum to the face and neck without rubbing it in.

2) Treat the face in various compartments using the vibrating wand, glide down the length of your neck. 

3) Glide the wand from the center of the neck towards the ear line. 

4) Glide the wand along the jawline from the chin to the ear. 

5) Repeat under the cheekbones, gliding towards the ears. 

6) Take the wand firmly from the center of the forehead toward the temple, rotating in circular motions between brows for 10 counts. 

7) Lastly, Bush recommends gliding the end of the stone above the cheekbones from the inner corner of the eye to the temple. Firmly place the wand below each eyebrow pushing up and holding for a few seconds.  

What Are the Benefits of Lymphatic Massage?

The main goal of a lymphatic massage  is to eliminate toxins and acidity from your body, therefore, being as clean as possible, eating light meals, ensuring your body is hydrated and getting plenty of rest will give you the best results.  "You'll notice some results immediately, and some results will come after you've committed to a series of sessions," says Makimoto. 

Other benefits include increased energy levels, a large decrease in water retention and bloating, and a slimmer waist. "You'll see a more sculpted body," says Makimoto.

The long term benefits of lymphatic massage include improved skin quality. Your skin will get tighter, more toned and even cellulite can diminish after several sessions.

Draining the lymphatic system can also help heal a leaky gut, balance hormonal issues, and fix many other frustrating health issues. "The lymphatic system plays a major role in your immune system," says Makimoto.

Does a Lymphatic Massage Have Side Effects?

You'll be glad to hear that the pros of this massage far outweigh the cons. Side effects following a lymphatic massage are not common, although, increased urination and bowel movement have been known to occur. "Clients may notice side effects in relation to the gastrointestinal system, where the toxins will be eliminated, as this treatment releases tension," says Makimoto. "Other side effects include headache, aching muscles, fatigue, nausea, dizziness and upper respiratory issues could be observed. But again, these side effects are not common and the benefits of having a healthier body are numerous."