What is lymphatic drainage massage? Everything you need to know about the toxin-busting treatment loved by Ellie Goulding & Millie Mackintosh

From the tyre workout and crystal botany to EMS training and sitz baths, my Instagram feed is rife with a plethora of weird and wonderful wellness trends right now.

According to a report by Vuelio, since lockdown, positive conversation around health and fitness goals smashed the traditional January and February peak, rising by more than 60% in March and April. Fitness discussion remained 50% higher in May, June and July too, suggesting a more lasting change than the New Year fads.

Discussion of health and fitness goals were two-thirds men and one-third women. And as social chatter around alcohol was 13% lower than talk about exercise, it appears the nation was reaching for its running shoes more than it was reaching for the bottle. It’s clear that we’re taking our wellness much more seriously in a post-pandemic world.

So what’s the latest wellness trend we’re all going to be turning to? If my Instagram feed is anything to go by, lymphatic drainage massage is having a real moment. From Ellie Goulding to Millie Mackintosh, wellness aficionados have been taking to social media to praise the wellness treatment, so what exactly is it and what are the benefits? We turned to the best in the business, Flavia Morellato, who works on both stars, to give us a full rundown of the treatment everyone’s talking about…

So what exactly is lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic drainage is a gentle massage used to stimulate the lymphatic system, which is part of our circulatory and immune systems. Through lymphatic drainage, we stimulate the lymph nodes, accelerating the process of detoxing our body and eliminating excess water. Through the lymphatic system, we control the amount of water that our body retains or releases.

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Who can benefit from lymphatic drainage?

Anyone can benefit from lymphatic drainage. Those looking for a detox, speeding up blood circulation, metabolism, lymphatic system; those feeling tired, puffy, bloated, constipated, facing menopause, PMS, hormonal imbalance and other pregnancy, postpartum and post-surgery treatments.

What are the main health benefits?

Some of the benefits of full-body lymphatic drainage include – but are not limited to – speeding up the lymphatic system and body circulation, detoxing the body, and boosting the immune and digestive systems, therefore, making you feel lighter and healthier.

Lymphatic drainage is highly recommended during any time of pregnancy; however, it is most recommended after the first trimester.

It is very common to have oedemas in pregnancy because of the pressure the uterus puts on the pelvic and cava veins (those which receive blood from the inferior body parts). This slows down blood circulation, and with a slower blood flow, the pregnant woman’s body sends more water to these parts of the body, increasing the volume of liquids, which causes accumulation of fluids and swelling. Typically, the most affected areas are the legs, ankles, and feet, but arms and hands can also be affected.

Liquid retention can also occur due to hormonal alterations caused by pregnancy itself, which facilitates the absorption of sodium and leads to problems such as varicose veins and obesity due to the heat or even due to the use of tight clothing and shoes.

Lymphatic drainage will stimulate the lymphatic and circulatory systems, promoting the hormonal, water and toxins excess to be driven towards the heart, where it’s going to be mixed back in the bloodstream, filtered by the kidneys and flushed out through urine. This will bring more comfort, ease pains during the gestation period, make mothers feel better and allow them to enjoy some self-care before the baby is born.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t have lymphatic drainage?

It is not recommended for people with uncontrolled cardiovascular deficiencies, renal failure, uncontrolled hypertension, open wounds and thrombosis.


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