The lymphatic system is a part of your immune system. It helps to balance fluids and protects your body from foreign invaders to try and prevent illness.
Your lymphatic system collects excess fluids in the body and filters through it to make sure there are no toxins before allowing the fluid to enter back into your blood vessels.
The process of lymphatic drainage is a way to aid your lymphatic system, promoting greater movement of lymph fluid which will allow the filtration process to work faster so that filtered fluid can return back to your blood.
Lymphatic drainage is important and should definitely be something you consider adding to your daily routine. By practicing lymphatic drainage techniques, your body can de-puff. You get rid of excess fluid build-up, and you prevent puffy-looking skin. You are helping your body remove waste faster, improving circulation in your immune system, and preventing water retention.
Here are some ways to do lymphatic drainage at home:
1. Dry Brushing
This technique is done over the entire body — except the head — so you are working to increase circulation and drainage across your whole body. Start by obtaining a body brush: usually, they have soft, natural bristles that are somewhat stiff so you can exfoliate properly. If you want to exfoliate your back, look into a brush with a long handle. Make sure your skin is completely dry — the best time to dry brush would be before your shower, as this technique is exfoliating for the skin and sleeves off dead skin cells all over your body.
Start at your feet by moving the brush in wide circular motions, working your way up your body, excluding your face, and finishing off on your arms. When starting off, apply light pressure until you are used to it and you know which areas are more sensitive, so you can adjust the pressure. Remember to avoid places of injury and wounds. Wash your brush afterward (baby shampoo works great), and do this once a day for however many days of the week you desire, so long as your skin can tolerate it.
Massages are another good full-body option (excluding the face). You can use your favorite body oils and lotions or massage yourself dry, depending on your preference. Use the palms of your hands or fingertips and when massaging your body, remember to move in the direction of your lymph nodes, mainly making upward strokes. Here is an in-depth guide to carry out a full-body massage from a professional.
3. Gua Sha
This is a great technique for your body, mainly from the neck up. This will help detoxify and helps with circulation, draining excess fluids in your face.
Start by applying your favorite facial oil, then take the gua sha starting from your chin and move outwards and up towards the edge of your jawline. Use the same motion, moving towards the exterior surface of your face on your cheeks and above your eyebrows. For your forehead and neck, make upwards strokes. Do this as many times a week as you want!
4. Jade and Ice Rollers
This is another draining technique you can use on your face! You can refrigerate beforehand to get a cool sensation or use it as-is. You can also use an ice roller if you really want that cooling sensation. Start by applying your favorite facial oil, and use the same technique as the gua sha, rolling in an outward motion. If you have a double-sided gua sha, you can make outward motions on your nose and move from the inner corner of your under eyes and out!
These are some simple, at-home ways to do lymphatic drainage at home. Tweet us @VALLEYmag and let us know your favorite technique!