As promised, here are some tips for YOU to help YOU. Keep your lymph flowing in between your Manual Lymphatic Drainage sessions with some easy self care tips:
- Exercise: Move around! You don’t have to kill yourself with burpees or run a marathon. I’m a fan of jumping jacks, but walking works (pump those arms!), and the new trends of rebounding and even just bouncing on a fitness ball can help.
- Dry Brushing: A superficial technique, dry brushing can stimulate your lymphatic system, aid with cellulite reduction, and slough off dead skin cells. It’s not very comfortable – I have to psyche myself up to do it – or perhaps I need a slightly softer brush. Here’s a little video demo selected because it is short, to the point, and I found that Margie made me smile. Remember: always dry brush towards the heart!
- Stay Hydrated: This is hands down the most important self care tip. Every system in your body works better when you drink water. So you just need to break down and do it. Here’s a list of hydration apps to help remind you (did you know once you’re feeling thirsty you’re already dehydrated?). I’m guilty of not drinking enough water too, so if you have a clever way to remember to hydrate, please share!
- Wash those fruits and veggies: This falls under the realm of paying attention to the environmental toxins around you. We are exposed to many environmental toxins that are out of our control, but be sure to always wash your fruits and veggies. If you’re really diving deep into healthier, cleaner living, please visit my Lemongrass Spa Products page. Lemongrass Spa’s mission is to provide natural products that are clean and made fresh, right here at home in America. The family skin care products range from cosmetics (I adore their lipsticks – no chemical taste and amazing pigment!) to lotions, scrubs, soaps, hair care, and essential oils.
Ready to try our Manual Lymphatic Drainage? During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.
What Does Manual Lymphatic Drainage Feel Like?
This is an excellent question and it always helps to know what to expect before you receive any type of treatment. Personally, if I don’t know, my mind is spinning trying to figure out what comes next and I never fully relax. This segment of my Manual Lymphatic Drainage Series reviews the location of the lymph nodes and what it’s like to experience the Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique.
Your Lymph Nodes
We have lymph nodes throughout our body. All of the nodes eventually drain into two “mother nodes” located in the supraclavicular area (just above your collar bone). Working the way down the body, the next major nodes are in your armpits (axillary nodes), your cisterna chyli is located in your abdomen, and your groin (inguinal). Below is an abbreviated chart to give you a basic visual.
The Manual Lymphatic Drainage Technique
When performing full body manual lymphatic drainage the client starts face up and the therapist starts by clearing the nodes just above your collar bone. Everything else eventually drains to this area, so you need to clear the path and give everything a place to go! We work through the body clearing the areas closest to the nodes and working away so we are always directing the lymph to towards the cleared areas. We work through the face, scalp, and neck all the way through the front of your body before turning you over. Majority of the work is actually completed with the client face up (supine), so it can be a much more comfortable experience, especially for those who get congested easily in the face down (prone) position.
The technique itself is very gentle. This is not a deep tissue massage. The lymph system is located very close to the surface of the skin, so the sensation you feel during the massage is very light pressure with a slight tug of the skin, typically in the direction of the nearest mother node (the tape playing in our heads is, “how light can I go, how far can I stretch”). There are a few areas that are massaged where you may not be used to receiving massage.
1) The eye sockets. I found it was a stranger sensation to perform this technique than to receive it. You can do it to yourself (pretty please be gentle and don’t poke out your own eye). Close your eyes, place a finger tip (preferably a clean one) on the bone UNDER your eye. Slightly roll your finger in until you feel the flat part of the bone. Yes, this helps relieve eye puffiness.
2) Your armpits. It’s a quick technique, but if you aren’t expecting someone to put their hands in your armpits it can catch you off guard. The full palm goes in your armpit, so there are no little finger tips tickling around. It’s actually kind of a comforting sensation (I find this whole treatment to be very comforting in general).
3) Under the breast. There are lots of nodes at the breast fold. The technique I use is for one hand to be on the side of the chest (kind of holding up the side of the breast tissue with my forearm and the other hand is under the breast, at the fold. Again, this felt much more invasive to perform than it did to receive. The hands barely move and the motion of the technique is towards your side and up into the armpit (to the auxillary nodes). Fun Fact: Wearing underwire bras and very tight sports bras can inhibit the full function of these nodes, which is why it’s important to clear them. It’s also important to let the girls breathe, either bra-less or with soft bras so your lymph can flow.
4) The Groin. Again, this sounded much more invasive to me than it felt when receiving the technique. The therapist’s hand is placed approximately between your hip bone and pubic bone and I always use secure draping. There’s lots of nodes in this area which is why it’s important to treat, and the therapist hangs out there for a while (about 30 seconds where other areas are about 10 seconds: one Mississippi, two Mississippi…).
Please note that techniques will vary by therapist and the issue you may be having treated. These notes are based on full body manual lymphatic drainage, but if your therapist is treating a specific area for any reason, that may be the only area treated. As with all my treatments, there may be techniques I do not perform if I’m not comfortable or if you’re not comfortable. It’s all about communication.
In addition to providing a stand alone lymphatic drainage massage, I will be adding this technique to select areas of the body during my Integrative and Ashiatsu massage sessions at no additional charge. Typically these will be areas that require extra attention or deeper work and the lymphatic drainage techniques will help minimize inflammation in those areas.
SPECIAL: During the month of September you may try our full body Lymphatic Drainage Massage for the special rate of $40 for a 60 minute treatment. May not be combined with any other offers; additional charge applies for mobile massage.
This year has been deemed my year of “Revolution”. “Revolution” is the word I chose as my “word of the year” (in lieu of a New Year’s Resolution). As part of my Revolution I took a course hosted by Kate Yoga in Lauderdale-By-The-Sea. The program was written by Baron Baptiste, 40 Days to Personal Revolution. Nope, I cannot make this up. My word of the year was selected before I even knew this program EXISTED. I met really lovely people and learned a lot about myself. It entails exercise (yoga), meditation, journaling (including deep excavation questions), weekly group meetings, and being acutely aware of your diet (it doesn’t prescribe a diet but requires you to pay attention to what is going in your mouth). It included an optional 3-day fruit fast (I dubbed it the Fruit FEST), which I did. I did not die, but it was a bit of torture and required a lot of creativity. I have a new love for a salad made of avocado, mango and pomegranate seeds. I grilled pineapple for dinner, roasted eggplant (yes, it’s a fruit – trust me you find ANYTHING that is classified as a fruit!) and bought a great little hand held spiralizer ($15) to make zoodles (zucchini noodles). The bigger challenge was no seasoning or butter – just fruit. But post-fast (um FEST), I have held on to some of the same recipes and I add some garlic and olive oil, a little salt and I get the healthy eating with a little pleasure.
Grilled pineapple with avocado, mango and pomegranate salad
I voluntarily gave up desserts (ALL sugar was honestly too much work because sugar is in EVERYTHING) and I’m still holding firm with that (aside from the carrot cake I ate for four days straight at my grandmother’s house because she made that cream cheese frosting from scratch and it was amazing and how can you NOT eat your grandmother’s homemade cake???). After my initial REALLY AWFUL sugar detox period (some nights I still really crave sugar), I found that I stopped craving carbs as much (AKA sugar), which also led to not craving caffeine as often (I do have a cup of coffee a few times a week, but I don’t need it every day and no more Starbucks). Giving up all of those things may sound sad, perhaps like I’m missing out on things. However, focusing on whole foods really did make a difference in how I felt physically and mentally and that makes it worth it to me. I can feel your eyes rolling… and I get it… when you’re ready, maybe you’ll try it, and you’ll know what I mean. If you’re already walking that walk, you’re nodding, mmm hmmmmm. No, I’m not prepared to be vegetarian or vegan but I’m working to focus on whole foods with an emphasis on plant based foods and I like the results.
I started to beat myself up because I didn’t do the program 100% and that’s not my way. I did not do 90 minutes of yoga EVERY DAY during my last week. My meditations did NOT get to 30 minutes twice a day. BUT I did SOMETHING every day and Kate and Rob were such inspirational facilitators, that I was able to gain a lot from the program and would be willing to do it again. There’s always something more to learn. Always a deeper level. No, you don’t have to be some kind of yogi or guru to do the program. There were people participating who had never been on a yoga mat before. They thrived and it was amazing and inspiring to share their journey with them. There were people who weren’t ready and they dropped out. That happens in any course and that’s okay too. In the beginning of the course we learn the phrase “Begin Again.” So when you get off track, in the program, in LIFE, you stop, acknowledge it, and begin again. So wherever you are on your journey, know you can always Begin Again.