During this global pandemic, practicing self-care and stress management can do wonders for your physical, mental, and emotional, and spiritual well-being. In some instances, stress can be a factor that contributes to why our body’s decline or rather why your body may be less resilient than before.
One way to take better care of yourself is to support your immune system, which includes exercising, eating healthy, and managing stress. Another self-care practice you could add to your daily routine is Gua Sha.
Gua sha is a traditional Chinese healing method in which professionals or individuals can practice with the use of a smooth-edged tool made from a variety of gemstones including:
- Rose Quartz
- Blue Spot Jasper
When used regularly (and correctly!), gua sha can help alleviate chronic pain as well as improve circulation (i.e. lymphatic drainage) within your lymphatic system.
What is the lymphatic system?
The lymphatic system is a vital part of your immune system. It contains a series of lymph nodes responsible for draining lymph fluids back into your bloodstream. It is also the drainage or sewage system of your body that removes metabolic waste and distributes white blood cells to prevent infections.
Lymph vessels drain fluid throughout the body and allow immune cells to flow in your body, especially in your skin, and make it glowing and supple. An obstruction in your lymphatic system hinders the function of lymph vessels.
According to research by Professor Nobuyuki Takakura, "an impaired lymphatic function may cause swelling that could lead to skin 'sagging' especially for the lymph nodes we have near our facial skin."
This suggests that lymphatic obstruction can cause skin puffiness and dullness, which is why it is essential to understand the importance of proper lymphatic drainage so that you can prevent this from occurring.
Understanding your Lymphatic System
Understanding the different parts that make up the lymphatic system can help you appreciate the benefits of lymphatic drainage.
- Lymphatic vessels
Lymphatic vessels carry blood throughout the body. The role of these lymphatic vessels is to transport lymph around the body from tissues to lymph nodes.
Lymph is also known as "lymphatic fluid." This is a white fluid that’s responsible for removing your body’s waste. Its role is to carry your body’s toxic substances and wastes to the lymph nodes, which act as a filter to help remove these from your body.
3. Lymphoid organs
These organs can be broken down into two categories: primary lymphoid organs and secondary lymphoid organs.
The primary lymphoid organs are the bone marrow and thymus. These organs make lymphocytes or white blood cells. Lymphocytes are in charge of our immune response, whereas lymphoid organs include the spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes. These essential organs are where the lymphocytes go when they need to protect or counteract a foreign body and if there is an infection.
Lymphatic Drainage Massage Benefits
Now that you know how the lymphatic system works, it's also essential to understand how a lymphatic drainage massage can support your skin.
- Helps your skin glow
Performing lymphatic drainage massage regularly helps clear and release toxic substances that reside below the skin’s surface. It also helps in promoting blood flow and circulation which helps your skin look smooth and improves your complexion.
Using traditional tools such as a dry body brush or a gua sha tool to stimulate the flow of lymph can be quite effective since these tools help to promote lymphatic drainage, and in the case of dry body brushing, help to exfoliate the outer, dead layer of skin.
Facial massage, in general, provides comfort and relaxation as it tones our facial muscles and relieves facial tension, which can lead to wrinkles. It also boosts the circulation of blood and oxygen so our skin receives more nutrients.
Lymphatic drainage massage helps to restore the energy and vitality of your skin to reduce visible signs of aging (e.g.dark circles below the eye area).
Using a quality facial oil along with a Gua Sha tool can reduce the appearance of dark circles as well as puffiness in the face.
2. Encourages collagen production
Collagen is a protein that is responsible for strengthening the skin, improving skin elasticity, and providing overall structure and support to minimize sagging.
3. Reduces redness
Lymphatic drainage massage reduces skin redness and is also recommended for all skin types, including sensitive or mature skin that can't tolerate deep massage movements.
4. Keep blemishes at bay
Lymphatic drainage massage improves the circulation of lymph in our facial tissue, which. helps in draining or removing wastes that otherwise may lead to clogged pores, blemishes, and breakouts.
Gua Sha and Lymphatic Drainage
You can be well on your way to achieving a more sculpted look along with decreased puffiness, fewer fine lines, and skin that glows if you perform lymphatic drainage massage regularly with a Gua Sha tool.
If you’re wondering how this is even possible, here's an introduction to Gua Sha, an amazing beauty tool rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine and used in ancient healing practices.
Which Gua Sha tool is best for you?
There are so many Gua Sha tools available right - different gemstones, styles, and shapes - which can make choosing the right one an overwhelming process!
To help make this process easier, here’s an article which can help you decide which Gua Sha tool is right for you, based on your personal needs.
How to perform a lymphatic drainage massage with a Gua Sha tool
Now you know all there is to know about lymphatic drainage - how it works, the benefits it can provide, and a variety of tools you can use.
Here are a few simple steps to get started with a lymphatic drainage massage.
Step 1. Apply a facial mist and facial oil
You can easily perform lymphatic drainage massage when you pair your gua sha tool with a good quality facial mist and facial oil. Using a facial mist hydrates your skin and primes it for optimal absorption of beauty products.
Using a facial oil gives your skin a bit of slip, helping the gua sha tool glide smoothly and improve the glow of your skin. It can also help to prevent any rashes or irritation on your skin when performing a facial Gua Sha massage.
Step 2. Use your Gua Sha tool to gently scrape along your skin towards your lymph nodes
To drain lymphatic fluid, start at the base of the neck and work upwards starting from the mid-zone of your face to the areas where your lymph nodes are concentrated near and below the ears).
When performing lymphatic drainage, it’s essential that you apply light pressure to stimulate the movement of lymph.
Step 3. To achieve lymphatic drainage, glide your Gua Sha tool upwards and outwards.
Remember to always work upward and outward. Start with the neck, then move up to the jawline and chin, gradually work up to the mouth, nose, eyes, and forehead. Finish by gently gliding your Gua Sha tool downwards towards the base of the neck to allow the lymph to drain into the collecting ducts, where it will enter the bloodstream to be eliminated from your body.
We hope this guide helps you understand the benefits of a lymphatic drainage massage, which can help improve the look and feel of your skin.
Looking for tools that support lymphatic drainage?
At Free Flow Botanicals, we offer the tools you need for a relaxing & effective lymphatic drainage massage: Gua Sha tools that are available in different shapes and sizes, plant-based facial oils that pair well with our Gua Sha tools and natural body brushes for skin exfoliation and rejuvenation.
Have you received a lymphatic drainage massage before? What was your experience like? Feel free to share in the comments section below!
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