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Skin Care Therapy - Manual Lymphatic Drainage Therapy

Updated on March 12, 2011

This is a powerful tissue-cleansing treatment given by a specially trained therapist who has a sound knowledge of the lymphatic network.

Unlike traditional massage, this treatment uses the lightest finger pressure to stroke lymph in the right direction and so helps clear areas of congestion and stagnation. It works wonders for toning and refining skin all over the body, as well as for removing dark circles and puffiness under the eyes. Lymph drainage for the face is like having a mini facelift. This treatment is most effective in the hands of a professional, but there are a few helpful movements you can try. Always use a featherweight touch. Applying too much pressure may impede lymph flow.

  • Using the fingertips, stroke down the cheeks close to the ears. You may even feel slight swelling or nodules under the skin close to the ear lobes. Gently coax the lymph down towards the nodes in the neck.
  • From the shoulder blades stroke down and in towards the heart. Use the right hand to massage the left side and vice versa.
  • Stimulate the lymph glands under the arms with a gentle squeezing action. With your right hand place the thumb under the left clavicle (collar) bone and clasp the pectoral muscle with your fingers. Squeeze and release about 10 times. Do the same on the other side.
  • With light fingertip pressure gently massage the lymph nodes behind the knees. Always work in an upwards direction, from the calves to the thighs.

  • Cold blast - Alternate warm and cold showers are not only great circulation boosters, they also get the lymph moving too. Take a warm shower for 2-3 minutes first, then switch to cold for about 20 seconds. A good time to do this is after body brushing.
  • Feet treat - In reflexology the lymphatic system is mapped out on the surface of the foot and around the ankles. A good way to get at the lymph is to massage the feet. Add about 4 drops of a decongesting essential oil like lemon or peppermint to a tablespoon of carrier oil. Massage all over the feet, then start working on the lymph reflexes. Work your fingers from the tip of the toes up towards the ankle. Pay special attention to the webbing between the toes. Now work around the ankles themselves.


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