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Does Facial Lymphatic Drainage Massage Actually Work?

Lymphatic drainage face massages are trending on TikTok—yielding some curiously dramatic before-and-afters—and popping up on spa menus from coast to coast. Like most wellness developments, their purported advantages sound nice on paper (er, display): Decreased puffiness, glowing pores and skin…bought! However are these fresh-faced results legit or overblown? (Is the sculpted jawline in that TikToker’s video actually a results of therapeutic massage?) And is there even a distinction between a lymphatic facial therapeutic massage and a daily one? 

We tapped three consultants (all of whom, spoiler alert, had a barely totally different tackle the subject) to weigh in. Right here’s what they needed to say re: what a facial lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage can and may’t do to your pores and skin, and methods to attempt it on your self, in case you’re so inclined.

First, let’s discuss in regards to the lymphatic system.

Earlier than we are able to get to the “drainage therapeutic massage” a part of issues, it’s useful to know what the lymphatic system is and the aim it serves. Per the Mayo Clinic, the lymphatic system consists of a community of tissues and organs together with lymph nodes and channels. Lymph—extra fluid that’s current in bodily tissue—strikes by these channels and finally drains into the bloodstream, which helps preserve balanced fluid ranges within the physique, Jennifer Levine, MD, a double-board-certified facial plastic surgeon in New York Metropolis, tells SELF. 

The lymphatic system additionally performs a serious function in your immune system. Lymph nodes are bean-shaped glands—discovered within the armpits, groin, stomach, and, yep, the face and neck—that act as guards, stopping overseas substances from getting into the physique, Dr. Levine explains. Once they entice these molecular intruders, they’ll grow to be enlarged, therefore why swollen lymph nodes are typically a symptom of an infection. Lymph nodes additionally produce disease-fighting white blood cells, that are then transported all through the physique through these lymphatic channels.

What’s a lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage?

There are totally different strategies, however the total objective of any lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage is to assist enhance the move of the lymph with a really focused sort of movement, utilizing both a instrument or the fingers, Kseniya Kobests, MD, board-certified dermatologist and director of beauty dermatology at Montefiore Einstein Superior Care in New York Metropolis, tells SELF. Proponents declare that the lymphatic system typically wants this encouragement as a result of—in contrast to the circulatory system, which is pushed by the guts—it doesn’t have an organ serving to it pump and transfer fluid. 

Nevertheless, in response to Dr. Levine, your lymphatic system is remarkably good at working by itself, with none sort of handbook help. “A lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage isn’t going to make your lymphatic system do one thing it wouldn’t do in any other case. What it could actually do is assist it work a bit sooner,” she explains. To that time….

What are the potential advantages of a facial lymphatic drainage therapeutic massage?

All the consultants we spoke to agree that the first profit is transferring extra fluid out of the facial space, and that interprets to a de-puffing impact. It’s often instantaneous, though Dr. Levine is fast to notice that any sort of diminished swelling or puffiness is simply non permanent. “There’s anecdotal proof that this sort of therapeutic massage will transfer the fluid, however that doesn’t imply it’s not going to return again,” she says. These de-puffing, swelling-reduction advantages are why lymphatic drainage massages are typically advisable after cosmetic surgery, be it on the face or physique. (Dr. Levine says that she doesn’t recommend it to her sufferers as a result of she doesn’t suppose it’s mandatory, however she notes that it’s actually not dangerous so long as you’re cautious round areas which are therapeutic.) 

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