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How lymphatic drainage can help lower your stress level

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How lymphatic drainage can help lower your stress level

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’Tis the season — and, along with jam-packed schedules, events and checking off your list, comes stress and tension. Between the holidays and winter’s chill, life can be chaotic in the cooler months! Ultimately, stress and tension can manifest physically, potentially leading to tight muscles or interfering with getting a good night’s sleep. Even with the best mattress you can find it hard to relax. You might need something more to help you. Discover the manual lymphatic drainage massage. 

Lymphatic drainage

What is Nightly Lymphatic Drainage?

Lymphatic fluid is a clear fluid that circulates throughout the body, acting as a method of elimination to facilitate your natural detoxification process. Lymphatic fluid works to cleanse and drain the arteries and connective tissues. The lymphatic system does not have a pump the way the heart does to flush or push lymphatic fluid around the body. Because of this, lymphatic fluid mainly relies on the muscle action of the body and movement to stimulate and regulate movement of this fluid. 


A useful tool in releasing stagnant energy, lymphatic drainage works by utilizing the concept of breaking up accumulated lymph fluid, transporting it away from tissues and muscles, effectively draining it.  It is typically done by using manual manipulation assisted by a paddle, working in an upward motion, moving from the ankles and bringing the paddle in movement up toward the heart. 


This manual massage technique can be performed by a professional, or at home, using a lymphatic drainage massage tool such as a paddle. This massage process is a technique that works to stimulate the movement of the fluid toward the lymph nodes, which are mainly located in the armpits, neck and groin area. The aim is to accelerate the removal process of excessive fluid, directing this instead toward the capillary vessels using specific movements to direct it in order to effectively eliminate it.

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Lymphatic drainage offers multiple emotional and physical health benefits. Some of these include: 

  • Improved immune function and support

  • Increased blood circulation and tissue regeneration

  • Promoting lymphatic flow for quicker elimination of excess fluid

  • Reduced swelling, puffiness and water retention

  • Stimulating the elimination of toxins

  • Soothing for the body and mind

  • Reduction in the appearance of cellulite

  • Enhanced feelings of lightness in the body and mental clarity

 

How to do a Lymphatic Drainage Massage?

To perform this on the body, try the following at-home routine before bedtime:

  • Use a wood paddle tool and a moisturizing oil.

  • Apply the area(s) you will be massaging thoroughly with moisturizing oil. This step is very important to protect the skin as you manipulate it with massage.

  • First, awaken the lymphatic system by “pumping” the major lymph nodes in the body. 

  • Pump the back of the knees and the armpits each 5 times.

  • Next, holding the paddle tool in a horizontal position, start stroking gently, moving from the ankle toward the inner thigh in an upward direction. Do 3-7 strokes per leg.

  • Then, flip the paddle tool to a vertical position, gently moving upward towards the outer thigh. Repeat 3-7 strokes per leg.

  • Now, massage the back of the legs using the paddle tool held again in a vertical position. You can prop up the legs on a chair to allow for easier access behind the knees. Move in an upward motion until you hit the gluteal fold.

  • Finally, massage the arms with the paddle tool held in a vertical position. Move from wrist to armpit; repeat on the outer parts of the arms. Do 3-7 strokes per each arm.

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The final touch: The Facial Lymphatic Drainage

Integrate this facial massage technique into your morning and evening self-care routines: 

  • Choose a skin care serum and mix it with a drop or two of facial oil. 

  • I apply this by dabbing—rather than patting or rubbing it in—on my face, forehead and neck in a downward motion to allow excess lymphatic fluid to drain. 

  • I usually also use a rose quartz or jade gua sha tool to allow the serum to deeply penetrate the skin as I elevate the lymphatic drainage factor. 

  • Start by using the crystal stone tool of your choosing at the sinus points on the bridge of the nose.

  • Pull gently with the tool to the side, then make a slight ‘u’ shape to drag it downward. Do this 3-5 times.

  • Then, move to the side of the jaw, repeating a similar action of sliding to the side, then dragging the skin–and, with it, the lymph fluid–downward to drain.

  • Next, flip the tool (if using a gua sha stone) to use the flat edge under the chin, stroking down the neck into the collarbone. This is a key step in moving the fluid to drain downward toward the heart.

  • Finally, if desired, you can smooth any fine lines in the forehead by gently stroking in an upward motion. Mist with a lavender face spray for extra pre-sleep relaxation!


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Self-care isn’t selfish. Rather, it’s a mindful act of taking care of the most important relationship in life — the one with yourself! Prioritize yourself, especially in the evenings right before bed, to maximize those precious hours of sleep and reset your circadian rythm. Try integrating these fluid-boosting techniques and wake up to a refreshed, rejuvenated, well-rested, happier and healthier you!

 

 

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