Simple Massage to Drain Facial Puffiness
We live in a fast-paced society, and most of us are getting too little sleep and too much salt, leading to puffiness and swelling throughout the body. Ever had one of those nights where you go out for dinner and drinks and you wake up the next morning with that weird, achy feeling? Not a hangover, but that feeling that makes you want to stay in bed, nursing a giant cup of coffee and maybe a gallon of water?
Sometimes, due to hormones or the weather or really any other possible factor, we retain excess fluid in the body. However, we can also get that puffy, achy, drowsy feeling from a buildup of lymph fluid. Lympheda is a real, serious medical condition, and is not what I’m referring to here. What I’m referencing is mild stagnation in the lymphatic system from not exercising, eating poorly, or not drinking enough water, amongst other things.
Our lymphatic system is one of our methods of “elimination”. Our body is constantly taking in substances from water, food, and air, and as a result, needs a way to remove what it doesn’t need. Just as it’s important to have proper digestion, it’s crucial to have healthy elimination throughout our lymphatic system. Of course, sometimes our lifestyle can get in the way, and that’s when we need a bit of extra help, which is where this short, easy lymphatic massage comes in.
A full-body lymphatic massage is much more in-depth (and expensive), but it’s a great option if you’re able to fit it into your schedule and budget. Even if you do get a professional lymphatic massage, doing this routine every day or a few times a week will still be beneficial.
I recommend doing it first thing in the morning, whenever you feel tired or groggy (mid-afternoon slump, anyone?) or at night, as you’re winding down to go to bed. It doesn’t require anything but you and a few massage techniques, but for added benefit, you can try incorporating calendula oil. Calendula (also known as Marigold) is a natural lymphatic, and will help drain the lymph. You can purchase some online, or make your own. Simply buy dried calendula, fill a small mason jar with the dried flowers, and pour oil on top. It has to sit in a warm, dry place for 2-6 weeks depending on how concentrated you want it, which is the only drawback. When you’re ready, strain out the oil from the flowers. The oil will be a beautiful bright red color, and is great for a variety of other uses.
Now! On to the actual massage. It’s best to do these exercises standing, in order to allow gravity to do the work of assisting in the drainage. Make sure to keep breathing, taking deep breaths between exercises.
Place your fingers along your collarbone, towards the notch at the hollow of your throat. Slide your fingertips up, over the bone, until they’re resting just behind it. If you were to pull your fingers forward, they should “hook” onto your collarbone.
Using the pressure required to slide a quarter across a smooth wooden surface, gently press down. Imagine your fingers are being used as a pump. The appropriate pace is about 1 beat per second. Do this 50-100 times.
Next, slide your hands up to rest on either side of your neck. Your pinky finger should be resting behind your earlobe, at about a 45 degree angle. Keeping your fingers pressed together, palms and fingers flat against the neck, draw your hands straight down. Your hands won’t ever lose contact with you neck; it’s just a gentle tugging. Emphasis on the gentle. None of these movements should be rough. Do this 50-100 times. If you feel the need to yawn, swallow, or move your jaw, do it! It’s a great sign things are moving.
Next, place your middle fingers tip-to-tip. Take your hands, keeping them like this, and place them behind your neck. Tug gently straight down the back of your neck, 50-100 times.
Lastly, you’re going to “Spock” your hands. Create a V by keeping your pinky and ring finger together, and your index and middle finger together. Place your hands on either side of your face, with your ear between your fingers. To clarify: your pinky and ring finger will be in front of your ear, along your cheek/jaw, and your index and middle finger will be behind your ear, along your hairline. Your earlobe should fit right in the space between your ring and middle fingers. Pull straight down, 50-100 times.
If you’re feeling ambitious, it’s best to repeat these exercises, but in reverse order. Make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards, and try to stay standing up/moving around for a bit in order to let the lymph keep draining.
You should notice almost instantly that you feel more relaxed, less puffy, and more clear-headed. If you have a tendency to get congested in your sinuses, you can also spend a minute or two pressing and gently massaging the points on either side of your nostrils, at the top of what we call the “smile” lines.
If you’re someone who has been wanting under eye filler, but tends to get puffiness in the face, most likely you were told you weren’t a great candidate. This is because the hyaluronic acid fillers used on the under eyes attracts water, and if you have a tendency to retain fluid, filler may simply add puffiness. By doing this lymphatic massage, as well as focusing on a balanced diet, drinking enough water, and getting plenty of sleep, you may notice that your under eyes will resolve themselves, or you will become a good candidate for filler.
If you try out this routine, let us know how it goes! Be careful not to do it after you’ve gotten Botox or filler, as you could potentially displace the product. Otherwise, do it as often as you’d like!
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