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Health & Wellness

7 Takeaways After My First Lymphatic Drainage Massage

Always in pursuit of a relaxation, One D writer sought out the health benefits of this massage treatment.
By Kimber Westphall |
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fotomaniya/istock

There is no shortage of wellness trends and offerings in Dallas. You could partake in a new ritual every day of the year, and still not hit them all. 

As a self-described massage junkie, always pursuing the path to relaxation, I’ve tried many wellness treatments. But one kept sparking my interest: a lymphatic drainage massage. In this treatment, the masseuse massages your body to manually drain toxins out of your body, encouraging your lymphatic system’s natural drainage. Often used as a treatment for lymphedema, this massage can help reduce swelling and inflammation. 

I perpetually feel a little puffy, so I thought this could be a way to alleviate some swelling. I knew it wouldn’t transport me into a trance of bliss and complete tranquility, though. This would be more of a fine tuning and maintenance treatment. Would it be uncomfortable at times? Probably. Would I feel great afterwards? I hoped so. 

I asked friends and did some digital searching to identify the best first lymphatic massage I should pursue. I ended up at Skinfinity, which offers a slightly different approach to the traditional lymphatic massage. Skinfinity’s lymphatic therapist, Brisa Gutierrez Rodriguez, incorporates wood therapy—to activate the lymphatic system—with the standard massage treatment in her $222 “Beauty Detox Body Method.” The wood therapy involves several wooden apparatuses to massage the skin, smooth the body, and manually drain the lymph. 

“Imagine your lymphatic system as a river and in order for a river to move, you have to make movement to it to flow,” Gutierrez Rodriguez says.

When I walked in the spa, I was given a minty concoction to drink that Gutierrez Rodriguez called “a little slice of heaven.” She told me this was the most effective diuretic as it contained chlorophyll to help you get rid of toxins (although there is some debate on the benefits). 

While I knew the wood therapy wouldn’t necessarily be relaxing, my treatment room offered pure notes of relaxation and healing. Despite being full of various mechanisms and tools, it almost had a mystical vibe. There were green star-like lights glittering around the space. I smelled a mixed tonic of essential oils that beckoned a restful moment. I thought to myself, “this therapist is the real deal.” 

As Gutierrez Rodriguez got started with my hour-long massage, she explained her approach is a combination of different massage techniques from Brazil, Colombia, Italy, and Turkey. The session had relaxing moments, of course, but also there were plenty of moments where Gutierrez Rodriguez reminded me to take deep breaths—especially when she was conducting the wood therapy on my stomach and legs. But she used coconut oil to glide the wooden massage tools over my body. My skin felt deliciously soft when the wood therapy was complete: a side effect I didn’t expect.

Throughout the massage, I chatted with Gutierrez Rodriguez, as I wanted to understand every step. Here are seven new things I learned about lymphatic massage therapy. 

It helps to sculpt and contour. 

Most of the people who told me about undergoing this type of treatment wanted to look slimmer and more toned. I won’t lie, this was a bi-product I was happy to explore. My clothes felt looser when I put them on after the one-hour treatment. I also felt encouraged to eat healthier the next couple days as I didn’t want to bring back any inflammation.

The place I noticed feeling the most sculpted were my legs, which were more tender during the massage. Gutierrez Rodriguez says this was because I had an excess of water and inflammation there. 

She can tell you’re clogged just by looking at you.

One thing that shocked me was that Gutierrez Rodriguez was able to look at me and could identify some internal blockages. She said my upper abdomen was experiencing some blockage, as well as around my jaw. Most people have the most blockage in the abdomen, she says. 

“I can spot the inflammation by looking at different lymphatic system points on the body and there are three parts that hold the most lymph fluid,” Gutierrez Rodriguez says. “The neck, the gut, and the groin.”

There are ample health benefits beyond your physical appearance.

While researching treatments, I found people seek out lymphatic drainage massages for a variety of reasons besides physical appearance. The list of internal health benefits this treatment touts is lengthy, from gut health, tissue regeneration, increased lymph flow, and more. The specialized approach helps the body maintain proper blood circulation, body fluid balance (in the right spots), and overall immune functions.

“More than giving you beauty,” says Gutierrez Rodriguez, “I give you health, which is what matters most, and I’m here to get the best version out of yourself.”

You feel like you did the best workout of your life the next day.

I felt a lot lighter the next day. I even put on my skinnier jeans. I knew the feeling would be temporary, but I was embracing it. However, my muscles felt sore, as if I had done two crazy workout classes back-to-back. I was a bit achy, like the flu—especially around my jaw and chest. At times it was a bit uncomfortable, but it wasn’t so terrible I wouldn’t do it again. The flu-like body aches lasted 48 hours for me. I kept focusing on the idea that my circulatory system was getting rid of excess fluid and toxic buildup. For me, that trumped the temporary, minor discomfort.

You get very sleepy the night of your massage.

I slept like a baby the evening I had the lymphatic massage. I headed up to bed even earlier than I typically do and drifted off to the ultimate slumberland. I slept soundly and woke up feeling energized and rested. I still felt that achiness, but I also felt leaner and overall, less puffy. 

You need to come back for the best results. 

This massage shifted my mindset. Instead of thinking I want to feel thinner and leaner, I thought, I want to keep my body rid of the toxins it sheds. My conversation with Gutierrez Rodriguez was educational and eye-opening, too. By mid-treatment, I felt like I was drinking the Kool-Aid and ready to sign up for more sessions.  

For optimal results, Gutierrez Rodriguez says to wait 10 days and come back from another treatment. And for the ultimate outcome, she suggests 12 treatments. The consistency is key, she says. “Your body will re-learn how to detox alone and create more collagen for itself.” 

You can use her methods at home.

If you can’t get a professional lymphatic drainage massage, Gutierrez Rodriguez says you can still address some areas at home by massaging yourself. Focus on your collarbone, ears, and behind your knees. Don’t forget your armpits, which Gutierrez Rodriguez says are often neglected in traditional relaxation massages. Since my treatment, I’ve followed her advice and used her massaging techniques at home, focusing on circulation and mitigating inflammation. Now that I’m more aware of toxins and inflammation, I’m more conscientious about getting rid of them.

Author

Kimber Westphall

Kimber Westphall

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