Smiling woman closing her eyes in relaxation while getting a lymphatic drainage massage.

Beauty enthusiasts are no strangers to lymphatic drainage massage. The likes of and Sofia Richie attribute their figures and full-body glow to this therapeutic practice. But with so many gimmicky beauty rituals (bird poop facials, anyone?) promising this and that but delivering little to no results, what makes this one any different?

Manual lymphatic drainage (MLD) massage was developed by doctors Emil and Estrid Vodder in the 1930s. Several studies have shown that its benefits go beyond just superficial beauty enhancements. The massage stimulates the lymphatic system, which plays a vital role in detoxifying the body.

Curious? Before you book an appointment, learn more about its benefits and read on for tips to enhance your post-massage experience.

Lymphatic Drainage Massage Benefits

If you love or a , you'll enjoy a lymphatic drainage treatment. It offers a similar sensation to scraping your entire body with a tool, albeit with the therapist solely using their hands.

Since the massage aims to “unclog” the lymphatic flow, it supposedly drains toxins from the body and flushes out excess liquid. The range of benefits attributed to lymphatic drainage massage include:

1. Lowering stress and anxiety levels.

Like all kinds of massage, manual lymphatic drainage relieves muscle tension by applying gentle and targeted pressure. And unlike , which may induce some temporary discomfort, MLD is known to be painless. You may even feel sleepy during the session.

The therapist's skilled hands work to alleviate tightness, inducing relaxation. The brain responds by lowering cortisol and releasing happy chemicals like serotonin. In addition,  finds that stimulating the lymphatic system has a positive impact on anxiety symptoms.

2. Easing discomfort from swelling.

One of the main functions of lymphatic drainage massage is to regulate fluid retention (edema), especially in the abdomen and legs. According to , this skin-stretching massage shows promising results. It reduces swelling, particularly in conditions like cancer-related lymphedema, making it a recommended therapy for those who have an injury or are recovering from surgery.

This massage technique also has a de-bloating effect since it mobilizes fluid inside the lymphatic system. After one session, you may notice a reduction in puffiness and a more defined appearance in certain areas of your body. So, if you're about to go on a or important events, this might be the quick fix you're looking for.

3. Relieving constipation.

Speaking of bloating, lymphatic treatment can help you poop better. While it may not be the first solution that comes to mind when dealing with digestive issues, this massage has been found to improve bowel movements. Research even says it provides than abdominal massage and electrical stimulation when it comes to relieving constipation.

So, how does lymphatic drainage help relieve constipation? It uses specialized movements to “push” the stagnant fluid in the intestines. This increased flow helps activate the muscles, promoting peristalsis — wave-like contractions that propel stool through the digestive system.

4. Boosting energy.

Your energy levels can take a hit with a and sedentary lifestyle. Coincidentally, these two factors cause your body to accumulate toxins and waste products, which leaves you feeling even more sluggish.

Lymphatic drainage massage solves this problem by keeping your metabolism high, allowing your body to transport more nutrients and oxygen to cells and tissues. While you will feel lighter, it's possible to experience detox symptoms before you reach an energized state. But don't worry. That's the sign your body is flushing out all the junk.

5. Reducing the appearance of cellulite.

Before-and-after photos for lymphatic massage may look too good to be true, but it's not an illusion. While it may not permanently (nothing can), it can improve the overall texture of your skin.

The  reports that MLD can make cellulite less noticeable by breaking up the layer of fat underneath the skin. Plus, the pressure increases blood flow to the affected areas, prompting healthy cell regeneration and collagen production. The results? Smoother skin and a radiant, .

What to Do After a Lymphatic Drainage Massage

After all the rubbing, kneading, and pulling, your body will continue to flush out toxins and water. This can make you extra thirsty like you did a mini-marathon, so bottoms up! and avoid sugary foods to help speed up the lymphatic drainage process. Avoid and caffeinated beverages, as they can dehydrate your body.

Other than that, you can relax. Take a shower to soothe your skin. However, hot water is a no-no as the heat can impede the lymphatic flow. Instead, go for a cold or . Use Dove Go Fresh Cucumber & Green Tea Body Wash with Microbiome Gentle Skin Prebiotics formula that helps strengthen your skin’s barrier with regular use. It's infused with cucumber and green tea extracts to keep your skin fresh and hydrated for up to 24 hours.

The verdict is in. Lymphatic drainage massage is worth the hype. Although it usually comes with a hefty price tag, the benefits exceed that of a regular spa treatment. If it's something you'd like to try, consult with a qualified therapist or healthcare professional to ensure it is suitable for you.