An age-old health ritual has been making its round in the modern social media world lately. 

If you’re a beauty enthusiast, you might have seen someone using “gua sha” on their face. If you’re not, you might’ve still come across someone either using a dry brushing tool or even a foam roller.


What these seemingly different things have in common is that they’re all lymphatic tools used for massages, and they offer an array of benefits that every single one of us should take advantage of.

To give you a better understanding of how things work, let’s go through the basics.

What is the lymphatic system?

To summarize notes from the Cleveland Clinic, the lymphatic system is a network of tissues, vessels, and organs that work together to move a colorless and watery fluid called lymph, back into your bloodstream.

It has four key functions:

  • Maintaining your body’s fluid levels
  • Absorbing fat from the digestive tract
  • Protecting your body (as part of the immune system) from bacteria, viruses, parasites as fungi 
  • Removing waste products and abnormal cells from the lymph

What is a lymphatic massage and what are its benefits?

Estrid (left) and Emil Vodder, the couple who helped popularize lymphatic massages.

Source: Alchetron

Lymphatic massages were first established in the 1930s by Emil and Estrid Vodder who were practicing massage therapists and naturopaths in France.

Thanks to their investigations and studies, they founded what’s now known as the “Manual Lymph Drainage” — a series of light, rhythmic manipulations that stimulate the lymph flow and fluid movement.

That being said, other kinds of lymphatic drainage methods like the gua sha, for example, have been said to be first recorded during the Ming Dynasty between 1368 and 1644.

The short of it is that a lymphatic massage — whether done on the body or face — has many benefits, but the main one involves “unclogging” the body and moving the lymph fluids along. 

A “clogged” network makes it impossible for cells to communicate, transport substances and function properly — which causes conditions such as lymphedema, swelling and bloating. 

This is why you’d often see a more toned version of the body, or a slimmer, glowier face after a lymphatic massage treatment.

But there is a difference between a regular massage and a lymphatic massage, though.

Contrary to your usual deep tissue massage where harder and stronger is better, lymphatic massages actually employ light pressure and strokes to help facilitate lymph fluid movement:

A Reddit user and massage expert shares information on how to perform lymph massages.

Source: Reddit

But does a lymphatic massage actually work?

Judging from appearances alone, lymphatic massages have more than enough proof of its benefits. Just take a look at these before and after photos:

  • A testimonial on the common side effects of lymphatic massages.

Instagram before and afters of a lymphatic massage aside, let’s talk about real benefits. Scientific studies have always proved that it can: 

Lymphatic massage side effects

As with all massages and treatments, it’s essential that you get plenty of rest and fluids after because common side effects include:

  • Increased drowsiness
  • Increased urination or bowel movement
  • Nausea and dizziness

Take it from a professional:

Source: Reddit

Be sure not to overwork your muscles and eat nutritious food and avoid as much stress as possible.

Who can benefit from a lymphatic massage?

A lymph massage can have various benefits on the body, skin and general health.

Anyone can enjoy a lymphatic massage and reap the benefits. If you have a sense that your system feels “clogged up” and that you could use some release, a lymphatic massage would be the perfect solution.

However, there are people whose wellness routine and maintenance programmes include lymphatic massages, and these are people who:

  • Suffer from chronic fatigue, depression, stress, and sleeping disorders
  • Want to detoxify their body
  • Have low energy due to sickness
  • Experience health problems like bronchitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, and others
  • Experience swelling from water retention or post-surgery bloat

How to do lymphatic massages at home

There are several ways to conduct a lymph massage at home.

If you’re someone who prefers to have lymphatic massages done professionally at the spa or at the wellness center, then go ahead.

But for those who prefer to DIY it and extend their beauty and wellness rituals at home, you’ll need a couple of tools and some self-restraint because remember, a lymphatic massage shouldn’t hurt or bruise.

However, it’s normal for your skin to turn red as you are stimulating the lymphatic system and blood flow.

Here are the tools you’ll need:

  • Oil or lotion
  • A dry brush, or a lymphatic drainage tool. Other options of drainage tools include foam rollers which can be painful. If that’s the case, you can always use a versatile tool like the Hydragun massage gun on the lowest setting. You can try the Hydragun and get a money-back guarantee by clicking on this link

And here’s the step-by-step process:

  • Begin using gentle upward strokes and circular motions on your arms, from wrist to shoulder.
  • Then, repeat the same from your ankles to your buttocks, followed by downward strokes on your torso — from your sternum to just above your pubic bone.
  • After that, you can opt to slather some oil on, to give your lymphatic massage an added aromatherapeutic factor. If you do, just remember that you’ll need to swap your massage gun head with a steel one.
  • Then, using upward motions again, glide your lymphatic tool of choice all over your body. Remember that the goal here is to move your lymph towards your heart so your body can flush out all the toxins.
  • Note that you should always use downward strokes for your stomach area.
  • You can repeat this massage up to three times a week.

For a quick guide on how to do a facial lymphatic massage, watch the video below:

How a massage gun can help with better lymphatic flow

Similar to a traditional massage or a lymphatic massage, a massage gun like the Hydragun (which is also a painless alternative to the foam roller) helps to reduce inflammation by flushing out lymph fluids out of the muscle tissue and through the circulatory system. 

This is how tight muscles become relaxed, scar tissues and adhesions are broken up and muscle soreness and tension are relieved. 

What’s even better is that you’ll be able to perform a lymphatic massage on yourself anytime, anywhere with the right amount of pressure that you’d feel comfortable with. 

Make room for better lymphatic flow, immune system and overall health and wellbeing; try Hydragun today!


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