Cleanse and detoxify … two words that have now become synonymous with looking and feeling good, especially as modern living – think stress, chemical overload, lack of activity – takes its toll on our bodies, causing us to appear pale, puffy or tired. And now beauty experts have given the term deep cleansing a whole new meaning. Some have touted the importance of using lymphatic therapy for years, while others are just embracing what could be the key to a flawless future.
This is the part of the body responsible for cleansing soft tissue found just under the skin. It’s a network of tiny fluid-vessels throughout the body, which transports toxins, bacteria and dead cells to lymph nodes. It’s the job of the lymph nodes to break down and purify these waste products so they are more easily handled by the organs of elimination, such as the liver and kidneys.
When the lymphatic system becomes overworked, the skin suffers. Puffiness, dark circles, cellulite or dull, lifeless skin are the result. By gently stimulating its passage through the nodes, the lymphatic pathways are cleared, cleansing and detoxifying the tissues.
Jill Griffiths, Director of The Weller Institute for Manual Lymphatic Therapy, believes if we practiced lymphatic cleansing regularly we would stay looking younger, longer.
Manual lymphatic therapy is a very specific, gentle form of massage or hand manoeuvres that naturally kick-start the lymphatic system.
“The trick is in a feather-light touch,” explains Griffiths, who stresses it’s quite unlike other forms of massage.
THE LYMPHATIC DRAINAGE FACIAL
If you have regular facials, you may have noticed that the massage is often the best and most effective part of the treatment. Most likely the massage used incorporates lymphatic drainage. Some facials are actually based on this method, which combined with good skin care give glowing results.
Many spa and salon treatments encourage lymphatic drainage, particularly the ones that are described as detoxifying. Hydrotherapy baths stimulate lymphatic drainage through the use of pressured water jets. Body wraps using bandages press lymphatic fluid along by applying a steady compression on the tissues.
Daily body brushing is another way to stimulate the lymphatic system. Always brush towards the heart, and for best results follow our self-massage guide to clearing the lymph nodes in the neck, pelvis, groin and behind the knees before and after brushing.
Savvy skin-care companies recommend a mini-lymphatic draining massage technique as the best way to apply a product for maximum results, particularly if it’s aimed at firming the skin or reducing puffiness. Circulation-stimulating ingredients, such as ginkgo biloba and centella asiatica, are also included in many products to boost the increase of lymph flow through the tissues.