Let’s face it: There’s nothing sexy-sounding about the term “lymphatic drainage.” But it’s a critically important part of healing in order to achieve optimal health and beauty.
The body’s “second circulatory system” consists of lymph nodes, a connecting network of lymphatic tissues, and helpful components such as the thymus, spleen, tonsil and bone marrow. The lymphatic system helps to deliver nutrients and filter out water, proteins, waste products, and other debris of cell metabolism.
“The body itself is an amazing machine and has the ability to naturally heal itself, providing that we don’t abuse it,” says Jennifer Burton, a licensed esthetician, massage therapist, and OrangeTwist HydraFacial specialist. “The problem is our lifestyles. We overdo, overstress and overeat, all in the name of overachieving. Also, we don’t get the required amount of rest to let our body repair itself at night. As a consequence, our body begins to suffer, and we can experience poor health. Many of us don’t even know anything about our lymphatic system and how we can unknowingly cause a shift in our health without even giving it a thought.”
Chronic illnesses, surgeries, getting sick and cardio-pulmonary issues can affect the balance of the lymphatic system as well. Cancer, too, throws it way out of whack. “In fact, the very conventional therapies used to treat cancer can cause the stagnation of fluid buildup, as well as the cancer disease itself,” Burton says.
A Short History
Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) is a treatment and specific message sequence originated in the 1930s by the husband-and-wife team of Emil and Estrid Vodder. They figured out the precise way to use gentle pressure to remove waste fluids from a damaged area or blocked vessels in the lymphatic system (often the following surgery for breast cancer or removal of lymph nodes). If left unchecked the fluids cause swelling, a condition is known as lymphedema. MLD techniques are still relevant today and are seeing a new surge in popularity, says Burton.
“It’s especially important for health practitioners to understand MLD, as they can come across a client who may not be a good candidate for regular massage. Someone with an autoimmune disease such as fibromyalgia or arthritis or someone who has been through cancer treatments would benefit greatly from the gentle touch of lymphatic massage,” she explains.
For all its medicinal uses, MLD also has some astounding beauty benefits. In addition to helping to keep the skin clear and bright, MLD can help speed up healing time after medical procedures, by promoting circulation and healing bruises. And because MLD helps the body to flush out toxins and eliminate excess fluids and byproducts of anesthesia, patients experience less pain and can return to normal activities sooner.
How to Optimize Your Lymphatic System
When you keep your lymphatic system in good working order, you improve your overall immunity. The best way to do this is through exercise. “Our bodies were made to move and walking fills this need perfectly,” Burton says.
She also suggests:
● Taking very hot or cold showers to help stimulate the circulatory system.
● Eliminating dairy products, which produce mucus and result in increased stagnation.
● Consuming apple cider vinegar, which supports the immune system.
● Reducing protein intake to just 10% of your overall diet, because excess protein causes uric acid to build up in the body, which slows kidney function, forcing waste to seep out through the skin. “At that point, we are susceptible to skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema, acne, cell mutation, and many autoimmune diseases,” says Burton.
● Eating more whole, raw foods such as fruit and vegetables.
● Sweating in an infra-red sauna is also a helpful detox technique.
And of course, regular MLD sessions help keep the system running smoothly.
The OrangeTwist Offerings
You can experience MLD as a byproduct of some of our service offerings at OrangeTwist. For example getting a HydraFacial stimulates drainage: the specialized tubing delivers serums and removes waste from the skin, and the pressure works on the lymph nodes and vessels underneath it. According to Burton, “This can remove excess fluid from the face as well as sculpt the jowl line, resulting in an overall glow to your skin. Who doesn’t want that?”
We are also able to provide MLD for post-CoolSculpting treatments to help the body rid itself of unwanted fat and excess fluid more quickly.
Making sure the inside of the body gets the proper attention is even more important than taking care of the outside—because, without good health, everything suffers, especially your skin. “My wish is that everyone will take a time-out to listen to your body so it can take care of you,” Burton says.