Not your typical massage (some might say it’s not a “massage” at all), manual lymph drainage (MLD) works to restore the natural ebb and flow of fluid throughout your body. Also commonly referred to by many spas as “lymphatic massage,” MLD also provides your skin and internal functions with several key benefits to make you look and feel more beautiful, not to mention, detoxed and refreshed.
Internal Health Benefits:
It purifies your body of toxins.
“The lymphatic system is basically the garbage disposal of the body,” says celebrity aesthetician Nerida Joy. Manually guiding fluid toward the lymph nodes, which act as filters, speeds up the body’s natural purification process to create a detoxifying effect.
It relieves fluid retention.
A lot of the fluid congestion (swelling) that is seen in areas such as the ankles, legs and arms is a result of a sluggish lymphatic system, or swelling from surgery or pregnancy. Manual lymph drainage activates the system’s pumping capabilities to keep fluid moving and alleviate buildup.
It accelerates healing.
“Physical therapy has been the main use of manual lymph drainage for the last 60 years, says Anne Bramham, spa consultant and instructor for the Dr. Vodder School. “Receiving treatments three to five consecutive days prior to a surgical procedure is important. It prepares the tissue while minimizing the risk of a post-surgical infection. I also encourage post-surgical MLD treatments. Manual manipulation stimulates vessels to work faster. As a result, the body heals faster.”
It boosts immunity.
“The lymphatic system works to destroy invading bacteria and viruses, so an increase in lymphatic flow will directly enhance the immune system to help make you less susceptible to colds and sickness,” says Joy.
External Beauty Benefits:
It minimizes the appearance of cellulite.
Improving lymph circulation disperses the backup of fluid that can lead to bulges. It allows fibrous tissues to soften, resulting in a reduced appearance of dimples and bumps. Note: MLD may not be effective in certain cases. If your cellulite is in Stage 3 or 4, it will not work to improve its appearance.
It helps prevent stretch marks.
MLD works to enhance the collagen and elastin fibers of your skin. “If done during pregnancy, it can make the dermis more elastic, which helps prevent stretch marks,” says Bramham.
It reduces acne breakouts.
“Acne is a result of pores becoming inflamed, congested and subsequently infected,” says Bramham. “MLD effectively decongests the tissue, and in the process, prevents the accumulation of sebaceous secretions. Basically, it calms your skin.”
It firms, hydrates and brightens skin.
Adapting the MLD techniques to be used in facial treatments, Joy uses them to improve skin’s cleansing power. “By eliminating toxins in the body, I am able to bring oxygen to the skin and shrink the pores,” she says. “It can completely change your skin coloring, and ultimately, your skin is a reflection of what is going on inside your body.”