Updated: Apr 26
Discover how lymphatic drainage massage can help you recover faster after plastic surgery and its proven efficacy to reduce swelling, especially in the face.
WHAT IS A LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE?
Lymphatic drainage massage is a form of gentle massage that encourages the movement of lymph fluids around the body. The lymph system is the body’s natural cleansing mechanism, that gets rid of toxic fluids from our cells. When the lymphatic system is healthy and works properly, the body is able to to regenerate tissues, drain fluids, filter out foreign substances and maintain a healthy immune system. When the lymph system doesn’t work well and the cleansing process is compromised, our body start to swell, and we may feel sluggish and even sick.
HOW IS A LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE PERFORMED?
In Lymphatic drainage massage we move around the body in a systematic order to respect the natural lymph flow and maximise the drainage of excess fluid. By massaging an area without swelling, we will make space for fluid to flow to those parts from more congested areas. In Lymphatic drainage massage we aim to bring back all the lymph to its normal path towards the venous angles where the blood is filtered by the kidney and the extra fluid is urinated out. Lymphatic drainage massage should not be painful at all as the pressure is very light.
WHY IS LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE SO EFFECTIVE FOR SWELLING?
The lymphatic system is similar to the cardiovascular system as it helps the body manage fluid balance, defends it from infection, and delivers nutrients while carrying away toxins and waste products. The lymphatic system doesn’t rely on its own pump tough, as the circulatory system does with the heart. Therefore to move fluid around the body, the lymphatic system relies on muscle contraction, and physical manipulation to function normally.
This is why lymphatic drainage massage becomes so important especially for those who don’t move too much. This type of specialised massage can be game changing also for those who under a lot of stress, fatigued, fighting a disease or recovering from surgery as under these conditions, the natural drainage process may be slowed down.
Research has proven the Effectiveness of Manual Lymphatic Drainage to reduce swelling and visible puffiness in those recovering from Orthopaedic injuries.
Lymphatic drainage massage was developed to help people suffering from Lymphedema, which is a chronic swelling due to damage or removal of lymph nodes, usually as part of cancer treatment, such as a mastectomy surgery.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE ON FACE AND SKIN?
As we mentioned, sometimes the body struggles to move this fluid on its own, and manual lymphatic drainage massage can make a great difference. A 2015 study found a link between impaired lymphatic function and sagging of the skin. Conditions like puffiness, acne, dryness, dullness, and even skin sensitivity can be improved and even resolved by simple lymphatic stimulation because it helps the body do detox and heal. Lymphatic drainage massage can enhance the quality of the skin, by bathing the facial cells in fluid, thus making the skin look more youthful and alive, reduce puffiness under the eyes.
WHY IS IMPORTANT TO BOOK A LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE AFTER COSMETIC SURGERY?
All cosmetic surgeries produce swelling to some extent as they disrupt the natural pathways taken by the lymphatic system affecting the body’s normal healing process. In these procedures the lymph drifts out into surrounding tissue causing swelling of the tissue as a result.
A research conducted in 2017 found a much faster drainage of fluid and reduction in swelling and puffiness in people who received manual lymphatic drainage after jaw surgery.
Cosmetic surgeries impacting the face, such as a rhinoplasty, can produce months of swelling as the face we have the highest concentration of lymph nodes in our face and neck. Therefore a good lymphatic drainage massage to the face can really make a big difference in terms of puffiness and swelling.
Other cosmetic procedures, such as liposuction and tummy tucks affect extensive areas so they often cause a great amount of lymphatic swelling.
In our clinical experience we found that people who undergo facelift, they often experience a very visible swelling that make them feeling uncomfortable and stressed about getting rid of all that puffiness asap. Some people just take longer to flush the fluid post-surgery and thanks to lymphatic drainage facial massage, we were able to help them getting those stagnant fluids circulating again.
A 2010 study in the Journal of The European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology found that repeated lymphatic drainage massage help to reduce fat and thigh circumference by 1-3 mm.
HOW OFTEN SHALL YOU GET A LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE?
The frequency of treatments do depends on your situation and goals ranging from once per month to once per week. Get in touch and we will be able to advise you accordingly.
WHAT TO EXPECT
Keep the following tips in mind during a lymphatic massage:
These massage movements should affect only the skin, so use gentle pressure and do not press hard enough to feel the muscles.
Keep the hands relaxed.
Do not massage swollen or infected areas.
Do not massage areas of the body that have undergone treatment for cancer.
Drink extra fluids, ideally 2–4 glasses of water, after each massage to help flush the body.
During the massage, there should be no pain or skin reddening.
Do not use lotions or other products, only the hands.
People can also boost their lymphatic system function and help remove more waste from the body using the following methods:
WHO SHOULD NOT GET A LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE?
Lymphatic drainage massage is usually safe for most people, but we would advice against receiving it in case you have:
WHAT ELSE YOU CAN DO TO BOOST LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE MASSAGE BENEFITS?
It could be really helpful to combine Lymphatic drainage massage treatments with compression garments (if the area affected are the legs), exercise and skin care as these all together can improve circulation throughout the lymphatic system.
Besides make sure to prioritise proper hydration for 48 hours post treatment as drinking plenty of fluid promotes proper drainage.
You may also want to opt for fruit and vegetables and avoid food rich in salt and highly processed as they could slow down the filtering process.
OUR LYMPHATIC MASSAGE LONDON
We look forward to hearing your thoughts about this article! We hope you now understand why it is important to book a Lymphatic drainage massage after cosmetic surgery and experience the magic effect of a Lymphatic drainage massage before and after!