Facial Lymphatic Drainage


If you’ve heard or own a gua sha or jade roller, you’re probably familiar with the term lymphatic drainage. This technique dates back to the 1930’s, when it was developed by Emil Vodder, a physical therapist from Denmark. Essentially, lymphatic drainage consists of massaging the skin manually to encourage lymphatic circulation and help remove waste and toxins from the body.

What is Lymphatic Drainage?

As the name suggests, lymphatic drainage is the process of draining and circulating fluid from your lymph nodes using massage techniques. The mas- sages encourage your lymphatic system to deliver fresh nutrients to your cells and will really wake up your skin. Typically done in the mornings, the result is clear, depuffed and glowing skin. The benefits of lymphatic drainage are not limited to your face and neck as lymph nodes are located throughout the body, with large clusters in the underarm and groin areas. To achieve a head-to-toe glow, indulge in a full-body massage.

Lymphatic drainage techniques

Now that you have a better understanding of how the lymphatic system works, read on to learn the techniques in draining it, so you can maximise its detoxifying effect and improve your skin’s health.

Circular movements toward lymph nodes

In order to drain the lymphatic fluid, massage your face with the tip of your fingers or pads and while doing this, always work upward and from the middle of the face towards the lymph nodes around the neck and ears. The key to a good lymphatic drainage massage is using gentle movements. It’s important to apply very light pressure to stimulate tissues, as the lymph ves- sels are just below the skin. Repeat each step six times for best results.

Massage without oil or cream

To optimise drainage, this should be a dry massage, which means doing it without applying oils or creams to the skin. So, if you want to incorporate lymphatic drainage into your skincare routine, start by cleansing your face, then perform your massage before applying any further skincare products.

The golden rule of lymphatic drainage — use upward and out- ward motions

If there’s one rule you must remember, always work upward and outward when massaging. Start with the neck, then move up to the jawline and chin, gradually work up to the mouth, nose, eyes and glabella (the space between the eyebrows), and finish by massaging the forehead.


• Reveals skin’s radiance

Lymphatic drainage helps diminish the toxin buildup below the skin surface. When practised regularly, it promotes blood flow, smooths the features and improves the complexion. Lymphatic massage is particularly recommended for anyone prone to dull skin.

P/S: Upon completing the lymphatic drainage massage, continue to mas- sage your face as you apply your skincare products. Do this by using a gua sha massage tool, made from rose quartz. It’s perfect for boosting circula- tion, stimulating skin cell renewal and giving your complexion a newfound glow.

• Reduces signs of fatigue

Boasting a soothing and firming effect, lymphatic drainage massage helps restore energy and vitality to your skin while also reducing the appearance of dark circles and puffiness below the eyes. So, if you’re looking puffy or swollen after a restless night, lymphatic drainage will immediately help by decongesting tissues.

• Prevents skin ageing

By stimulating little-used, sagging muscles, lymphatic drainage can give a fuller appearance to facial features. Facial massages also help to boost the skin’s natural collagen production, improving density and elasticity.

• Desensitises the skin

In addition, lymphatic drainage can also reduce both rosacea and skin re- activity. Lymphatic massage is often recommended for very sensitive skin that can’t tolerate deep massage movements, as well as skin that suffers from dermatitis.

• Purifies the skin

The act of massaging improves the circulation of lymph in the subcutaneous tissue. Draining the waste and toxins beneath the skin regularly makes it eas- ier for the body to eliminate them. Those who suffer from acne breakouts are recommended a lymphatic drainage massage. If you have blemish-prone skin, massage it for five minutes every day before applying your skincare products.

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