Lymph massage has been around for 1000s of years across the globe, fom rasa dhatu cleansing in Ayurveda to the art of gua sha in Chinese Medicine, to Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) developed by Emil Vodder in the 1930s.
What do all of these techniques have in common?
The facilitation of lymph drainage!
Lymph, derived from the Latin word for water, is literally just that - our internal waters that flow through our entire being. You can think of the lymphatic system like a series of rivers & tributaries, clearing waste and facilitating the movement of resources. When that water gets bogged down with waste products and is unable to move, issues inevitably arise. We support the facile movement of lymph through our diet & lifestyle (we really get into this in our Dump the Detox course!), but lymphatic massage techniques can also facilitate the process!
I've created my own little lymphatic massage routine for my face. It takes less than 5 minutes and I can really tell a difference before and after! I've pulled from 3 different healing traditions here by using:
-An Ayurvedic Beauty Balm by Banyan Botanicals as my oil/balm source. As someone who runs on the dry side, the saturated fat base of ghee + coconut oil plus the infusion of enriching roots like Shatavari really improves the quality of my skin. (Use THIS link and code HERBGIRLS15 for 15% off)
-A gua sha rose quartz stone gifted to me by my lovely business partner, Amy Wright. You can also use your hand or the edge of a spoon, but I do love the feel of a cold stone gliding across my face!
-Techniques from the Book of Lymph, by Lisa Levitt Gainsley. I found this book very helpful in better understanding the function and flow of lymph in the body, and have incorporated some of her motions at the start and finish of my routine.
Directions for Simple 5 Minute Facial Gua Sha Routine
Repeat every motion 10x
Booby Lymph Massage Addendum
This routine is for you if you are someone whose boobs get sore the week before your cycle. When our liver is burdened, our lymph will get backed up, too. We often feel this in our boobs because so many lymph nodes live here! If estrogen can't be deconjugated and broken down properly, the build-up can aggravate smooth and seamless lymph flow. I have found that doing this routine daily the week before my period has dramatically reduced my booby tenderness! You can find the full routine in the Book of Lymph - I just pulled out the sections I especially like!
Repeat every motion 10x
1. Don’t press too firmly or too lightly. The pressure is equivalent to removing shaving cream completely from your skin - firm enough that it clears away but not so hard that you are pressing into the muscle (then your routine will turn into a muscular massage rather than draining the lymph which runs just superficial to the muscle)
2. For each movement contouring your face - steps 4,5, & 7 - you always want to move inward to UP and outward, so the final placement of your tool will be a bit higher than the starting point, creating an element of “lift” as you both drain your lymph and train your face to work against heaviness and gravity.
3. At the end of each movement, it’s a nice practice to press and wiggle the tool lightly. This assures you are really helping move the lymph away from your face so it can drain into nodes and be cleared.
4. A cold gua sha stone is my favorite tool for this practice, but the edge of a spoon or blade edge of your hand will also do the job. Place your gua sha stone in the fridge or freezer 10 minutes before your routine to really target puffiness and tiredness in the face.
5. STAY hydrated! Lymph is our body’s internal drainage system and needs ample fluid to flow - especially if we are actively detoxing from something. To keep that river flowing, we need to stay hydrated. Aim for ½ your body weight in fl.oz a day. The quality of your water is also of utmost importance. If we are drinking water straight from the tap, that water is *most likely* already filled with numerous toxins and compounds that our lymph will also have to detox and drain. So make it easy on yourself and invest in a GOOD water filtration system. In our opinion, nothing gets better than LivePristine. It’s worth the investment. Next best option would be a Berkey.
Eileen Brantley & Amy Wright
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