What is the lymphatic system?
The human body has many systems in place to aid in detoxification, protection and overall health. Two of these systems work directly with the skin (in addition to internal organs) to maintain health and balance.
The circulatory system brings oxygen and nutrients to the skin and pulls waste product from the skin back out to be processed.
The lymphatic system works throughout the entire body, and moves fluid called lymph between the skin and the muscles. It consists of organs, ducts, and nodes that work to assist the circulatory system, transporting a watery clear fluid called ‘lymph’ that distributes immune cells throughout the body and drains excess fluid and waste proteins from the skin (as well as all the body’s cells and tissue.) The lymphatic system helps the skin in it’s protection of the body, as the second line of defense from invading viruses and bacteria.
We are like human water beds in a way. When our lymphatic system is healthy, fluid travels up and down, back and forth from one area to another all day long. When lymph gets blocked due to poor lymphatic circulation, we are more vulnerable to illness and infection, and waste proteins start to build up.
One of the skin’s favorite waste proteins to use is called melanin (i.e. freckles, hyper-pigmentation, sun spots.) Our skin produces this protein to protect us from UV radiation and ‘environmental stress.’ If our lymphatic system is not processing the excess protein out efficiently, it can get “stuck.”
Another example of “stuck” lymph is puffiness. Usually seen under the eyes, puffiness is a build-up of excess fluid under the skin and on top of the muscle.
What is facial lymphatic drainage, and how does it benefit the skin?
Facial Lymphatic Drainage is a very relaxing form of massage that gently unclogs certain lymph nodes and stimulates natural lymph movement. Using the pads of the fingers to lightly manipulate the fluid under the skin down pathways leading to large lymph nodes on the face, neck and chest, this technique helps to drain excess fluid and waste protein.
When performed on a regular basis (as frequently as weekly for extreme conditions), facial lymphatic drainage can greatly reduce puffiness, hyper-pigmentation, and acne break outs as well as decrease down time and bruising following surgery. It is not only non-invasive, but completely holistic – working with the body’s own natural processes and bringing balance to the skin.
What can you do from home?
While manual lymphatic drainage is the most effective way to unclog the nodes and get results, there are ways to maintain healthy lymph activity daily.
Stay active! Especially for those of you who work in front of the computer all day. Walking, running, hiking, swimming and yoga all provide the body with constant movement that can help keep the lymph flowing freely.
Dry brush your skin daily with a soft bristled body brush (link to example) using upward circular movements toward your heart. In order to get the best results, your skin must be completely dry and medium pressure needs to be used.
Also, believe it or not, jumping on a mini trampoline for as little as 10 minutes per day can massage the entire lymphatic system (plus it can be really fun, too.) To answer my client’s recent question, unfortunately jumping on the bed does not have the same effect.
bien-être skincare studio offers facial lymphatic drainage that can be incorporated into any treatment for optimal results! For more information, visit the skincare studio