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Lymphatic drainage massage aids gut health, reduces bloating and boosts metabolism

We talk to celebrity massage therapist Camile Perez about the buzzy new wellness treatment all over your Instagram feed.

If you’ve picked up a jade roller or given dry body brushing a whirl lately, you’re well ahead of the ‘lymphatic wellness’ curve. And now it seems like everyone is getting lymphatic drainage massages: the new treatment promising a range of benefits, from clearer skin to slimmer legs.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the technique already has quite the celebrity following, from Selena Gomez to Kendall Jenner and Hailey Bieber, who all reportedly turn to the “slimming technique” after long haul flights and before photoshoots and red carpet events.

What is the lymphatic system?

First things first: part of your immune system, your body’s lymph system is made up of a network of organs, nodes, ducts, and vessels that move lymph – a fluid containing white blood cells, proteins and fats – from tissues to the bloodstream, according to MedlinePlus.

Your lymph nodes – which are found in various parts of the body, such as neck, armpit, groin and inside the centre of the chest and abdomen – help the body cope with infection by making immune cells that help the body fight infection and filtering lymph fluid and removing foreign material such as bacteria and cancer cells.

What is lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic drainage is a gentle technique that must be performed slowly and gently but strong enough to stretch the skin gently in the desired drainage direction. However, because the lymph nodes are so small – around 1mm in diameter – this must be done without compressing the lymphatic vessels.

The belief is this encourages the lymph that is stagnated in the tissue to move towards the bloodstream to then be eliminated by the urinary system.

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What are the signs you could use a treatment?

“The lymphatic system is responsible for cleaning up the cellular waste, excessive fluids and is the ‘manager’ of the immune system,” said Camila Perez, one of New York’s most coveted massage therapists who has worked with Bella Hadid, Kim Kardashian West and Eva Chen.

“So, retaining fluids, feeling bloated, experiencing poor digestion and getting sick frequently are all signs that you should get a lymphatic drainage massage,” she told bodyandsoul.com.au.

“Lymphatic drainage is also great ally when it comes to beauty as it is amazing at reducing the appearance of cellulite. Also, during pregnancy and after surgery – can I say ‘always’? ”

What can you expect from a lymphatic massage?

Perez explains that lymphatic drainage massage uses “light to medium pressure”. It can also be done in conjunction with other techniques, such as cupping to enhance results.

What are the benefits of a lymphatic massage?

“I always hear from my clients, ‘I feel lighter’. You may experience less swelling, bloating and better digestion,” Perez said.

“Increased metabolism, increased energy, stronger immune function and illness prevention, reduction of PMS and stress are also some other benefits of this type of massage.”

Do lymphatic massages actually work?

“I’ve been doing this treatment for 16 years,” Perez said.

“My clinical experience has made me so passionate about it. Yes! It definitely works.”

“As an immediate result, you will notice a significant difference in water retention that will make you feel and even look better. Long-term: immune system, digestion, reduced stress levels and less inflammation.”

How else can I look after my lymphatic system?

Aside from massages, there are other ways you can stay on top of your lymphatic health, Perez said, starting with a balanced diet and watching your salt and carb intake.

Regular exercise is also important as the lymph nodes are close to the joints and movement pumps your lymphatic system.

Drinking water and herbal teas, like dandelion and nettle leaf, can also help flush out the kidneys and liver.

Perez also recommended using a dry brush or natural loofah – always towards the heart – to stimulate blood and lymph circulation.

Why has lymphatic wellness become so popular?

“In Brazil, it’s been popular for more than 25 years,” Perez said.

“I got really surprised when I moved to Florida eight years ago and I noticed it was not the same here.

“I think social media is one of the reasons [it is so popular]. And also, people are more interested in alternative ways to heal and take care of their bodies.”

Perez has a point.

And hey, if it’s good enough for Kendall and Hailey, we’re definitely willing to give it a try.