What’s a Lymphatic Drainage Massage? (And Should You Be Doing It?)

Five minutes a day with this massage technique can help you get a glowing, lifted, brighter and smoother complexion. 

If you’ve ever had a professional facial, you may have noticed the esthetician using her fingers to perform gentle yet firm, almost rhythmic strokes on different areas of your face. What was she doing? The technique is called lymphatic drainage, and when done regularly, is a critical part of  healthy, glowing skin. Even better: You don’t have to book an expensive facial to reap its benefits. Lymphatic drainage massage is something you can—and should—do at home. Here’s what you need to know.

The Lymph Low-Down

To understand how lymphatic drainage works, it helps to know a bit about the body’s lymph system. “The lymphatic system works to get rid of toxins that have been filtered out by the blood,” says Ritu Chopra, M.D., surgeon and co-founder of Solvasa. Only as we age, the lymph system doesn’t work so well. Drainage gets a bit sluggish, so those toxins and waste sit there longer. “This is because some of the smooth muscle around the lymphatic channels deteriorates and they become more porous,” says Dr. Chopra. The good news is that by applying pressure to the little valves within the lymphatic channels, you can manually direct the toxins toward the lymph nodes, so they can be eliminated. 

So, what does this process actually do for your skin? Aside from the decrease in toxins (and you want to get those out as they can increase inflammation in your body), you can expect a decrease in puffiness and swelling, as well as an increase in blood flow (hello, glow). More blood flow doesn’t just mean more radiance. It means your skin gets more oxygen and nutrients, so it’s healthier overall.  

Why It’s an Important Daily Ritual 

Lymphatic massage is gentle and safe enough that you can do it every day, even twice a day. And it’s not just beneficial for your skin, lymphatic massage is self-care. It’s an almost meditative process, says Dr. Chopra. “Doing something over and over again, even massaging your skin, gets you into this state of inner consciousness,” he says. Dr. Chopra suggests doing the massage for two minutes twice daily. You can even add a mantra in as you’re doing the repetitive motions, he says. 

How to do Lymphatic Drainage at Home

What you need: The massage can be done using either your fingertips or a crystal wand such as the Solvasa Crystal Energy Wand. The vibrating genuine rose quartz crystal tip of this wand feels soothing, provides pressure on the skin and stays cool to the touch, which helps reduce puffiness and redness. Unlike other crystal tools, the tip is stationary; it doesn’t roll but vibrates. “If you’re rolling your skin, you’re not getting constant pressure,” says Dr. Chopra. “You’re just rolling over the lymph channels without actually pushing the fluid,” he says. Additionally, the Crystal Energy Wand gently pulses to stimulate the drainage process, and it can even help to smooth the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. “For example, going up and down on the glabella muscles, the ones that give you those ’11 lines,’ will help relax the muscles, making lines look less apparent,” he says. 

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How to do it: Smooth a couple of pumps of the DeStressance Serum over your skin. You don’t want to skip this step - the wand will glide over our skin while helping to diminish visible signs of aging. Then, begin massaging with the Crystal Energy Wand moving toward the lymphatic channels, which run along both sides of our neck, as well as the sides of your face by the ears. Starting with your neck, place the wand under your chin and drag it down the length of your neck, repeating the move three to four times. Then turn the wand horizontally and smooth skin going toward your ear several times. Repeat on the other side. On your face, move the wand up your jawline up toward the ear line on both sides. You can also rotate the wand just under your cheekbone and pull it up toward the ear. For the eyes, use the tip of the wand to gently press into your undereye bags from inner corner to outer corner. 

Bottom line 

Lymphatic drainage massage is not just good skincare, it’s self-care.  

Carving out just a few minutes a day to apply this easy-to-master technique not only helps boost your glow and reduce puffiness, it’s a simple way to be more mindful and intentional in your beauty routine, and in your daily life.

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