Have you ever had issues with your face being puffy or bloated? It may happen when you’re sick of not getting enough rest. There’s an easy way to learn how to massage your face to drain lymphatic fluid so you look and feel better.
Understanding Your Lymphatic System
One of the vital parts of your immune system is your lymphatic system. You have hundreds of jelly-bean-shaped lymph nodes that are connected from head to toe. These small nodes strain lymph fluid and move it back into your bloodstream. During this transportation, they help prevent infection by removing body waste and carrying germ-fighting white blood cells.
A Clogged Drainage System
Typically, your lymphatic fluid has a clear path to circulate throughout your body’s lymph nodes. However, if the fluid encounters a blockage, it can’t move, and it starts to build up. When the swelling is chronic, it’s a condition called lymphedema.
What Causes Lymphedema?
Although acute lymphedema can cause puffiness in your face, a chronic state usually presents in the arms, legs, hands, and feet. What causes your lymphatic system to block and swell? An article published by the Mayo Clinic offers these four possibilities:
People who live in tropical or developing countries often get parasites or develop lymphatic infections. These conditions can block lymph nodes and restrict the movement of fluid.
One of the most common ways you may experience lymphedema is if you’ve injured some lymph nodes. Many surgeries require the removal of surrounded nodes, especially certain cancers. If you have surgery that involves your blood vessels, some lymph node damage may occur, says the article.
Frequently, cancer cells may block the flow of lymphatic fluid, causing lymphedema. If the tumor causes nodes to enlarge, it can also lead to swelling and edematous tissue. Massage therapy may help drain lymphatic fluid back to normal flow.
4. Radiation Treatment
Radiation is often used to treat cancer and other conditions. While it does destroy threatening cancer cells, radiation can also scar and damage good tissue and lymph nodes. It’s not unusual to have lymphedema in the area you’ve had radiation treatment.
Using Massage Therapy to Reduce Lymphedema
For several years, healthcare providers have recommended massage therapy for lymphedema throughout the body, especially the extremities. However, current practices have also included massage for acute facial swelling and puffiness. Can you clear effectively with massage?
According to an article published by the Cochrane Library, massage therapy has shown positive results for people who have surgery-induced lymphedema. The gentle pressure helps move the sluggish lymph fluid and reduce swelling in the affected area, per the article.
What about using massage therapy to drain lymphatic fluid in your face? A study published by the Lymphology Journal says that it helps reduce post-operative swelling and comfort after patients have impacted molars removed. So, it stands to reason that a facial massage could also reduce occasional puffiness and swelling at any time.
Draining Lymph Fluid as a Beauty Treatment
When you reach a certain age, your complexion isn’t as tight and forgiving as when you were younger. You may start to notice under-eye baggage, puffiness, small lines, and facial wrinkles. Some of these nuisances can be caused by sluggish lymph nodes and vessels.
A study published by the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology found promising results from using massage to reduce fat thickness in people with cellulite. The study suggests that draining lymph fluid may have skin firming benefits to help facial swelling.
Some people currently use facial massage in their beauty routine. Many say that it improves their complexion and reduces puffiness and swelling around their faces. How can draining lymphatic fluid in your face benefit you?
Professional Guidelines for Lymphatic Massage Therapy
If you want lymphatic massage just for aesthetic reasons, most certified aestheticians can do them. They are available in many spas and clinics across the nation. Just be sure that your professional has been trained and certified for this type of specialized massage.
Perhaps you have a diagnosed medical condition that has caused facial lymphedema; then, you should consider a professional with more extensive training. According to an article published by Massage Therapy License Guidelines, your therapist should be licensed by the Lymphology Association of North America. They will usually have a membership with the National Lymphedema Network, says the article.
How Do Massage Therapists Drain Lymphatic Fluid?
Think of your lymphatic system as a network of nodes and vessels that circulate lymph fluid throughout your body. When you have a blockage, your massage therapist uses their hands to restore its normal flow. They can work on any area that’s affected, usually your arms and legs.
They will use gentle movements and light pressure in the swollen area. These movements may include rubbing, pushing, and slight tapping. They will use their palms to pull gently and stretch your skin to encourage the lymphatic fluid to drain effectively. You will be encouraged to practice deep breathing exercises to improve your lymphatic circulation.
Most sessions usually last for an hour, and they can be done singularly or combined with other therapeutic techniques. Facial massage sessions don’t typically last as long. Results vary according to patients and the severity of their condition.
Doing Lymphatic Facial Massages at Home
Are you tired of looking in the mirror and seeing sags, bags, and puffiness? While these can be attributed to several reasons, poor lymphatic flow can also be an issue. It’s easy to learn how to drain lymph fluid and enjoy a tighter, radiant complexion.
Although these steps aren’t as involved as a professional facial, they can still be effective. You can add this facial massage to your morning and evening beauty routine. Plus, you needn’t go to a clinic or pay a cent.
• Practice Mindful Breathing
If you practice yoga or another type of meditation, you realize how vital mindful breathing is. With each breath cycle, you are aware of the life-giving oxygen that enters your body. It’s a cleansing feeling as you exhale carbon dioxide back into the air.
To start, place your palms on your tummy and inhale deeply through your nose. You should feel your belly meet your palms. Hold that breath for 1-2 seconds, then slowly exhale through your pursed lips. Now, your stomach should feel flat. Repeat this mindful breathing exercise 5-8 times.
After you’ve finished your mindful breathing exercises, notice how calm and relaxed you are. Find a quiet place where you can comfortably do your face massage. Whether you stand, sit, or lie down, the benefits will be the same.
• Using Gentle Pressure
If you have sluggish lymph fluid in your face, gentle pressure can restore its normal movement. Using your palms, apply gentle pressure on your forehead. Work slowly down your face as you lightly stretch your skin toward your neck. This movement is moving the blocked fluid to your neck’s lymph nodes.
• Massaging Puffy Eyes
The skin around your eyes and eyelids is exceptionally delicate, so use care when massaging these areas. Since your ring finger has less pull than your other fingers, use it to rub toward the nose lightly. Use the gentlest strokes and try not to pull the skin too much.
Once you’ve worked down your face and have massaged your eyes, give your face a couple of minutes to rest. Start from your forehead again and repeat these steps at least five times.
Three Possible Benefits of Lymphatic Draining
There are many benefits to draining your lymphatic system through massage, and here are just a few.
• Helps Purify Your Complexion
A lymphatic facial massage may help improve lymph flow in the deep tissues of your face. It may bring toxins closer to the skin’s surface so your body can eliminate them. A massage might help reduce acne breakouts.
• Soothe Sensitive Skin
Draining lymphatic fluid in your face may help reduce the reactions and redness associated with sensitivity. When done gently, a face massage may help soothe symptoms of dermatitis. It may reduce swelling and puffiness, also.
• Reduces Skin Fatigue
A sluggish lymph system may leave your complexion looking dull and tired. Lymphatic drainage may help make your skin firmer and more youthful. It can often reduce swelling around your eyes and make you appear more alert and radiant.
A Note of Caution
Most people have no adverse reactions when they massage their face to drain lymphatic fluid. Just make sure not to apply too much pressure and use clean hands when touching your face. If you’ve been diagnosed with any of these conditions, talk to your healthcare provider before trying a facial massage:
- CHF: Congestive heart failure
- An active infection in your lymphatic system
- Swelling with unknown causes
- History of blood clots
- Active skin infections or other dermatological conditions
Your lymphatic system maintains a delicate balance that keeps your body strong and healthy. If you have acute lymphedema in your face, these quick and easy tips may bring your system back to normal. Talk to your healthcare provider about these and other tips to treat your puffy and swollen face naturally.