Improve skin quality, help sculpt your body and remove the appearance of cellulite with Brazilian Lymphatic Drainage Massage.

A non-negotiable in any Brazilian beauty routine, lymphatic drainage massage has  become one of the country’s most buzzy imports thanks to devotees including models Alessandra Ambrosio, Lais Ribeiro and Camila Coelho.

“Lymphatic drainage has been part of Brazilian body care for decades,” says Sao Paulo-born massage therapist Lais Perez, who works between New York City, Los Angeles and Miami. “While lymphatic drainage is as relaxing and enjoyable as a massage, the health and beauty benefits are countless.”

So what are some of the benefits of lymphatic drainage? Clearer skin, better digestion, and more energy to name a few, says Perez. Even better? “Just one session can have an immediate, visible result.” Here, everything you need to know about lymphatic drainage massage—and how to perform one at home with Costa Brazil.

What is the lymphatic system? 

The lymphatic system is the largest circulatory system within the body and vital for our health. Made up of a complex network of vessels, tissues, and organs, the lymphatic system helps to maintain fluid balance in the body by collecting excess fluid, or lymph, before filtering and cleaning it through lymph nodes around the body, and then returning it back into the bloodstream.

A crucial part of our immune system, the lymphatic system fights bacteria and infection by destroying old and abnormal cells and removing cellular waste. A sluggish lymphatic system can result in a lowered immune system and excess fluid retention. Everything from stress, poor diet, lack of exercise and environmental toxins can cause lymph stagnation. Signs of this congestion may include bloating, food intolerance and dull skin.

What is lymphatic drainage?

In order for the lymphatic system to pump fluid around the body, it relies on pressure, movement and muscle contractions to maintain a healthy circulation. Manual lymphatic drainage uses a massage technique of light rhythmic movements to help stimulate the lymphatic system and encourage the natural movement of lymph fluid.

Purportedly, the original method of manual lymphatic drainage was developed in France in the 1930s by Emil and Estrid Vodder, a massage therapist and naturopath who treated patients suffering from acne, migraine and sinus problems by decongesting swollen lymph nodes through massage. 

The Brazilian method blends traditional lymphatic drainage massage techniques with contouring and myofascial release to instantly target bloating, puffiness, and water retention, help reduce the appearance of cellulite and deliver a boost of energy to both the body and mind. “Lymphatic drainage is a big part of our self care routine,” says Perez of the preferred Brazilian massage technique.

What are the benefits of lymphatic drainage massage?

Lymphatic drainage massage has multiple benefits, as it improves circulation, flushes out excess fluid and toxins, boosts the immune system and prevents inflammation. If a healthy lymphatic system is effectively removing waste and toxins from body tissues, results can also include clearer skin, better digestion and more energy.

“Lymphatic drainage massage can benefit the immune system since the lymphatic system is a massive part of the immune response,” says Perez, who counts benefits for the digestive system and blood and lymph circulation. “The side effects of this include improved skin quality, body contouring, and even the appearance of cellulite. Most of our clients do it regularly as part of a detoxification treatment, wellness maintenance, or even for some health conditions.”

Can you perform lymphatic drainage massage on yourself?

Yes, says Perez. “You can do a self lymphatic massage every day or whenever you feel like you need a boost. A gentle massage of the lymph nodes can stimulate the flow of lymph fluid. Also, taking a few minutes to breathe consciously and deeply using the diaphragm is a good way to stimulate the deep lymphatic system, which we can’t access with our hands.”

When doing a lymphatic self-massage it’s important to understand the pathway of the lymph system, which runs upwards towards the heart, and to follow this when applying any products. “The good news is that the lymphatic capillaries are very superficial to the skin,” Perez says. “A gentle touch can be highly effective, which makes it possible to do a good treatment at home.”

How to perform at home lymphatic drainage massage

01. Lymphatic massage strokes should always be gentle, light, slow and rhythmic, working upwards and making sure to spend an equal amount of time on each side of the body. Try to spend at least 10 minutes from start to finish.

02. Start by gently pressing and pulling the skin behind the knees, around the bikini line, under the armpits and on the sides of the neck.

03. Apply a generous amount of Kaya Jungle Firming Body Oil to the legs, abdomen and arms.

04. Using the Massage Tool, start at the ankles and use gentle upward strokes up to the knee covering the front, back and sides of the calf, before moving up to the thighs.

05. Massage the abdomen with your hands using a circular motion.

06. Using the Massage Tool, start at the wrists and use gentle upward strokes up to the shoulder.

07. Finish by using the Massage Tool on either side of the neck working up to the ears. 

08. Repeat 2 to 3 times. 

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