You eat a balanced diet, exercise routinely and yet you still retain water, feel bloated and fight cellulite. Perhaps you’re not doing anything wrong, and what you need is some lymphatic drainage massage.
Although that may sound scary, a professional lymphatic massage combines manual lymphatic drainage and massage techniques to help reduce swelling and water retention and work to decrease the appearance of cellulite.
And if you ask many experts, you can actually do this at home by dry brushing and using a smooth wooden body tool shaped like a paddle.
First, the lymphatic system is an organ system that’s part of the immune system. Made up of a network of lymphatic vessels, nodes, organs and tissues, these vessels carry the clear lymph fluid back toward the heart for recirculation.
But, unlike our cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump. That’s why dry brushing, massage and even holding your legs up the wall are important. It’s through these methods that we keep the lymph fluid moving.
Dry brushing coaxes these fluids toward the heart and lymph nodes in a simple method of brushing toward the heart just before showering, which can be invigorating and a great way to exfoliate.
Then post-shower, a quick use of the body tool gets the fluids flowing even more. To try this at home, you’ll need a dry brush and a body tool. There are a few different varieties of brushes online from soft or firm, long handles to handheld and boar bristles or fibers.
Step one: Starting at the ankles, gently, but vigorously, stroke upward toward the hip, stroking about three to five times in each spot. Make sure to hit all areas of the legs up and including your derriere. Remember, this is pushing the fluids up and releasing a bit of cellulite so hit those spots.
Step two: Use the same gentle upward strokes all over the arms from wrist to shoulder, making sure to hit each spot three to five times briskly.
Step three: Brush downward on your torso from under the breasts to just above the pubic bone. You may notice a feeling of energy or see a pink flush due to increased blood flow. That’s expected.
Step four: After your shower, slather your body with your favorite body oil to create some slip for the body tool to slide over your skin.
Step five: Finally, glide the body tool over your skin, just as you used the brush, the leg, buttocks, arms and torso. Remember, you are coaxing the fluid toward the heart. Use gentle but firm pressure, making sure not to bruise yourself.
You can expect reduced swelling, water retention and the appearance of cellulite. It may not be noticeable at first but practice three to five times a week to see results.
Those who routinely dry brush report benefits to digestive issues, stress and a more tightened body. You may even notice the urge to pee more often, but that’s a good thing. Remember to stay hydrated to get the most out of your massage.