By Hilary Sheinbaum
You may have seen those funky-shaped wooden paddles on Instagram. Or, perhaps the before and (less-bloated) after pics of tummies caught your attention and held your gaze. Either way, there’s been a lot of buzz recently about lymphatic drainage — a treatment that can be done on oneself at-home (with or without tools), at a spa with full-body technology, or within a studio space via a rotating machine that focuses on one body part at a time (more on these methods later).
The bottom line is, regardless of how it’s completed, all techniques have one goal in mind: “Lymphatic drainage uses manual manipulation techniques to activate the lymphatic system, often done in the form of a gentle massage,” says Vanessa Chu, a co-founder at Stretch*d in New York City.
“This stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid towards the lymph nodes, so that waste matter is properly processed through the body’s tissues.”
The result? Well, besides flushing out waste, it can reduce water weight, and have slimming and contouring effects (hence those tight ab photos), among other amazing perks. Excited to de-puff and eliminate the bad stuff? Us too.
But before you do, take a quick read to learn about lymphatic drainage from three professionals in the space.
Sheila Perez in Miami has a very specific method for lymphatic drainage. “It is a combination of maneuvers of lymphatic drainage, deep tissue, and body sculpting massage,” she says. She also mentions how the results are immediate. Improvements include — but are not limited to — a decrease in size (measurements), reduction of fat between the arm and breast, eliminating toxins and cellulite, shaping the body, elimination of dead cells, and an easier time going to the bathroom.
Perez uses her hands to glide, apply pressure, and pump, in addition to utilizing other skills within a 60-minute treatment. She also applies an organic cream that helps her maneuver her client’s skin and keep bodies moisturized.
At Joanna Vargas Salons in New York City, the Ballancer Pro Treatment — a form of compression therapy — is touchless. Offering a full-body lymphatic drainage massage, it promotes cell and tissue regeneration with a gentile, relaxing pressure that moves up from the toes to the legs to the mid-section, pulsing by zone.
Another hands-off treatment is the Body Roll*r machine at Stretch*d Space in New York City. It uses flowing strokes at an optimal speed and direction to help aid the movement of lymphatic fluid when applied to the core, hips, shoulders, and beyond. It also includes gentle infrared heat to warm up body tissue.
Lastly, you can do lymphatic drainage on yourself, anytime, in the comfort of your home. Opt for super helpful tutorials on YouTube for reference; plus tools and oils that are available for purchase.
If you have time to spare: some lymphatic drainage treatments take as little as 30 minutes. (Although, there are certainly longer options).
Leading up to your appointment, it’s important to eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, and avoid alcohol, says Joanna Vargas, celebrity facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons.
Vargas adds that while most people are candidates for lymphatic drainage, those with chronic health issues should not participate. And Chu adds: pregnant women should be cautious, and other individuals experiencing medical conditions like heart issues should pass. (It’s always important to chat with your doctor before trying a new treatment or routine!)
While treatments are an investment in yourself, costs vary. In-person hands-on massages differ per specialist. A Ballancer Pro treatment is $200 for 30 minutes or $300 for 60 minutes at Joanna Vargas Salons. And, a 24-minute Body Roll*r session at Stretch*d will set you back $24. At home, the DIY type is free (aside from purchasing tools and products, that is).
Depending on your treatment type and your goals, you can do lymphatic drainage once a day (Ballancer Pro) or once a week (Sheila Perez) or twice a week (Body Roll*r). Or, even 3 to 4 times a week, if you’re doing it for yourself at home.
With that, you’re ready for lymphatic drainage. Happy detoxing!