Lymphatic drainage...is a lifestyle! There’s no magic trick you can do to improve your lymphatic health. It’s an overall accumulation of the little things that you do collectively that equate to a healthy lymphatic system. There are so many networks within the body, that the lymphatic system becomes widely overlooked. Skin health is closely related to the functionality of your lymphatic system, as it plays a major role in detoxification, and can cause fluid retention and puffiness if it is stagnant.
Educating myself on the massage modalities during my extensive time in massage school opened up an entirely new approach in healing the skin for me. I had also learned more in-depth about things that were glazed over so quickly in Esthetician school; how and where each of the muscles on the face connect, (knowing the insertion, origin, and function), but also understanding that there are so many other networks underneath the skin (besides the muscles), like the fascia, the meridians, the nerves, the bones that breathe, and the lymphatic system.
I’m happy to see lymphatic drainage coming to the surface in the esthetic industry and its importance emphasized more and more. Yet in my time in the industry, I have noticed it’s becoming a “trend” that some are jumping on without proper training and knowledge.
Pictured below is a diagram of the network of lymph nodes throughout the neck:
These play such an integral part in our over-all well being, including our skin health. Our lymphatic system is in charge of filtering and removing toxins from our bodies. Sometimes, our lymphatic system needs a little extra love to get going since it doesn’t have a pump of its own, our lymphatic systems counts on us to manually stimulate it. Below, I’ve shared all my tips and tricks on how to get your lymph nodes unclogged and add some extra glow to your skin. Not sure if your lymph nodes are functioning efficiently?
Here are some signs your lymphatic system is asking for help!
+ Fluid retention (puffiness under the skin)
+ Skin conditions like rashes & acne
+ Sinus infections
+ Frequent headaches & migraines
+ Chronic unexplained fatigue
+ Sore breasts
+ Ear popping, ringing, & infections
LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE TIPS:
#1 - Eucalyptus essential oil. Your lymphatic system works closely with your circulatory system, so anything that stimulates your circulatory system will in turn also stimulate your lymphatics. Use 3 drops on the bottoms of your feet to boost your immunity and increase circulation in your lymphatic system. Don’t have eucalyptus essential oil? Rosemary or peppermint are great substitutes. Don’t know which brand or where to start with essential oils? I personally use @vitruvi essential oils.
#2 - Echinacea tea. Echinacea is such a beautifully healing herb for many reasons. It’s commonly known for its anti-bacterial properties and immune support. I think of it as one of natures best antibiotics. However, it’s healing powers don’t stop there! This flower also helps promote healthy drainage of toxins from the lymphatic system. Here’s a simple recipe to make your own lymph draining tea: Echinacea • Peppermint • Goldenseal • Honey (steep for 10 mins).
#3 - Self-massage! Ok, I have TONS of massage tricks to share with you but we’ll start off simple with this technique to stimulate the upper thoracic lymphatic pump.
TIP #4 - Drybrushing. Now, I know this is the simplest trick in the book, but this is really the easiest thing you can do to impact and stimulate your lymphatic system in an enormous way. All this takes is 3 mins in the morning! Dry brushing may also help with the reduction of cellulite by evening the distribution of fat cells. There isn’t any ‘wrong’ way to brush, just make sure your movements are upwards and towards the heart.
#5 - Stop wearing wired bras. Breast tissue is home to a large part of our lymphatic system. Underwire bras can put pressure on the tissue beneath the breasts, constricting drainage of the lymph nodes along the top and bottom of the breast and between the armpit and sternum. When wearing bras with underwire, circulation is hindered and this can cause the lymph tissue to become stagnant and gather toxins. I can personally attest to this, as I’ve been wire bra-free for around 3 years now, and there’s no way I could ever go back! (Brands I love are @trueandco & @wearlively ).
Side note, when I ditched my wired bras I was on a tight budget and couldn’t go out and buy all new bras. So I simply cut a little hole in the fabric underneath the bra and took out the wire! And, just to bust any urban myths, your breasts won’t become saggy from not wearing a wire bra... actually the complete opposite happens, and your pec muscles get so strong that they begin to lift the breast tissue and your breasts may show signs of perkiness!
#6 - Hot and cold showers. Hot water dilates blood vessels and muscles, while cold water constricts them... creating stimulation and movement in the lymphatic system! Hot & cold showers also help reduce any build-up of fluids in the lymphatic system (from poor circulation) and it eases inflammation. Not to mention it’ll do wonders for your skin. Dry brush your body and hop in the shower for a rejuvenating water meditation. When the water is hot, envision any negativity or stress melting away from your muscles. And when the water is cold, imagine yourself in the warm sun on an island in Hawaii; it’s fun to explore the power of your mind - Who’s trying this?👋🏻
#7 - Drink hot water. I know this tip sounds basic AF but trust me, it’s the little things that accumulate and add up to your overall well being. Lymph is made up of 90% (ish) of water. So when we become dehydrated our lymphatic system struggles too. To help rehydrate your body, try this ancient Ayurvedic lymph-moving rehydrating technique: sip on hot (not boiling, just hot) water every 15 mins for an entire day. (I use my trusty Hydroflask to keep the water hot all day) And if by the end of the day you feel like you have dry mouth, then that means you are still dehydrated and you’ll want to extend this technique by doing it for 10-14 days straight. This is sooo appropriate for the wintertime before we move into the springtime! This is not something to do in spring or summer, so do it now before the seasons change! In a day, your body functions best when it’s ingesting your body’s weight, in ounces, of water.
TIP #8 - Fire cupping! This is an ancient technique where suction is created by the heat of fire (different than the suction of silicone cups). Fire cupping pulls deep stagnation, including stagnant fluids, to the surface, removing toxic pathogens and promoting the flow of freshly oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood and LYMPH, all while harmonizing the five elements within your body.
These are some simple tips that can be easily integrated into one's day-to-day rituals to maintain a healthy, fluid lymphatic system. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out or book an appointment!