As we have to treat ourselves at home, why not try a lymphatic massage with one of our favorite tools, the Gua Sha?
Let’s be creative and keep our lymphatic system flowing!
But first, do you know about the lymphatic system? The lymphatic system is made up of vessels, nodes, and lymph glands. It carries nutrients and waste material between the body tissues and the blood. However, unlike the heart, the center of the body’s other circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have its own pump. As a result, it relies on the breath and other movements to drain itself. For most of us, the body is perfectly capable of draining itself.
But too many toxins in our body, poor diet, lack of physical activity, and other issues can compromise the system, resulting in a need for assisted lymphatic drainage.
Lymphatic drainage is a kind of massage that stimulates the natural drainage of the lymph, which helps to eliminate waste from the body, reduce cellulite and improve your mood!
Gua Sha can be performed on the legs, arms, and stomach.
You need to understand 2 important points before performing a lymphatic massage:
1- When performing a lymphatic massage, it’s important that the massage includes the entire lymphatic system of the body, except the head, to drain properly.
2- There are 2 stages of lymphatic massage: clearing and reabsorption.
Clearing is to create a vacuum with gentle pressure so that the area is prepared to bring in more fluid, creating a flushing effect. It doesn’t require the Gua Sha.
Reabsorption is to release the fluid to go back up through the lymph nodes. For this stage you can use your Gua Sha.
Usually a lymphatic massage doesn’t need oil on your body but for the Gua Sha you can apply a few drops of body oil.
Keep the gua sha at an angle towards the skin, one that’s almost flat. It’s a common mistake to hold the board at 90 degrees, but this is not as effective.
Start with the upper body:
Repeat each stroke below at least three times and a max of 10—five is a good middle ground.
To clear the supraclavicular area:
• Begin by lying on a comfortable, flat surface.
• Cross your arms on your chest, with your hands resting just below the collarbones.
• Then lift your elbows slowly. The muscle action is as much pressure required to prepare the area to flush lymphatic fluid and will hit the right pressure point of the nodes.
Next, clear the axillary area:
• Lay one hand above your head.
• Use your other hand to gently scoop the underarm area and move your hand in a half circle motion. The only pressure required is gentle enough to move the surface of the skin.
Finally, clear the area inside the elbows:
• Use the fingers of your opposite hand to gently push the skin inside the elbow crease an inch at a time.
• To reabsorb, using your Gua Sha, do the following for a minimum of 3 times and maximum 10 times.
• Begin at the wrist or the tips of the fingers if you have bloating in your fingers.
• Using a gentle, sweeping motion with just enough pressure to shift the surface of the skin, massage with your Gua Sha from fingertip to hand, from hand to elbow, and from elbow to shoulder.
• Only very gentle pressure is required. In lymphatic massage, you’re only working the superficial skin structure, that’s where the fluid is trapped.
• To massage the stomach, press your palms flat down onto the area in between your hip bones.
• With hands overlapping, make circular movements clockwise around the belly button 5-10 times. Clockwise movements allow a good digestion.
• Using your Gua Sha, imagine a horizontal line from where the belly button is, and massage in downward strokes from this “line” to the groins.
To drain the lower half of the body:
• Perform lymphatic massage of the upper body before beginning with the legs.
• Using your hands, start at the groin, where the inguinal nodes are. Press at least three times. (Pumping motion)
• Begin the massage with the Gua Sha on the upper part of the leg from the knee toward your hip.
• Repeat those strokes 10 to 15 times.
To begin reabsorption on the legs, you will use a pumping motion with your hands behind the knee:
• Place both hands behind your knee.
• Pump the back of the knee with a rolling, upward motion at least 3 times.
• Your knee is now ready to take in fluid from the lower leg, so you can proceed to massaging the lower legs with your Gua Sha from your ankle towards the knee.
• Repeat these strokes 10 to 15 times.
Use this method to person a lymphatic massage on yourself and see how you feel after. For more tips of how to support your wellness at home, visit our Instagram account (www.instagram.com/emmanuelleblanchela)