Lymphatic drainage massage for both the body and the face is becoming one of the buzziest wellness treatment trends of the moment. It’s said to help minimize cellulite and bloating, firm skin, and boost circulation. Here, one Los Angeles-based writer gives it a try.
As someone who’s always down, and I mean always down, to try the latest beauty and wellness treatments, I didn’t hesitate to jump on the lymphatic drainage bandwagon. I’m sure that by now you’ve seen the massage craze take over your social media feeds (Busy Philipps has live-streamed hers) or have heard it as the latest topic of conversation around your office. Seriously, everyone is talking about this – or at least they are in Los Angeles.
For those of you who don’t know what a lymphatic drainage massage is, it’s a gentle massage technique that encourages the natural drainage of the lymph. We have fluids throughout our bodies that can often make us feel bloated, puffy, or uncomfortable if they aren’t flushed out. I’ve personally always felt that my body retains a lot of water and I wanted to find a simple, natural solution rather than turning to something like a diuretic supplement or medication that was a bit more intense. I figured, why not try one of these massages and see what all the fuss is about?
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Living in Los Angeles makes trying these hyped-up wellness treatments a lot more accessible and I had plenty of options of where to go for a lymphatic massage. Some of the most popular locations for lymphatic treatments include The Tox (there are locations in New York City and Miami too), Shape House (also in New York City), Emmanuelle Blanche, and Le Jolie Spa.
I decided to book an appointment at the Emmanuelle Branche spa in West Hollywood, a favorite amongst influencers and press and a spot with rave reviews. I also must add that compared to a lot of its contenders, this location had a much more affordable price point for the same service with a unique French twist – more on that below.
The Emmanuelle Blanche spa believes in the power of manual touch versus a machine due to the healing properties and the knowledge of an actual expert. I decided on a 60-minute lymphatic massage which incorporates a bit of the Papal Rouler method, an anti-cellulite treatment, throughout the session.
The French Papal Rouler consists of kneading the skin as well as the cutaneous tissues in order to eliminate the fat cells and to activate the venous circulation. This was done to each of my legs, arms, upper and lower back for a few seconds after dry-brushing each area of the skin. The dry-brushing service is typically an add-on, but for first-timers it was complimentary and it encourages your blood circulation to really get going before heading into the massage.
Emmanuelle Blanche and many other similar spas, like the ones mentioned above, also offer lymphatic treatments just for the face that sculpt, firm, and de-puff.
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My massage therapist explained that many clients usually come in on a weekly or bi-weekly basis for lymphatic treatments, depending on how much fluid they feel their bodies retain. The best way to describe the treatment is that each area of the skin is gently stretched and then pumped for several minutes, and you’ll notice that your therapist focuses on certain areas more than others. In my case, a lot of my fluid was retained in my thighs, knees, and flanks.
One of my biggest hesitations going into this massage was that I feared it would be painful, but it was far from that. It was very, very gentle and I experienced a lot less pressure than I would have in a traditional massage. I usually always decide on 50 to 60 minute long massages, but I was surprised by how much longer this treatment felt. And for anyone wondering, there were still essential oils involved in this treatment the same way as most spa treatments.
All in all, it was a very pleasant experience and I felt like I got my money’s worth. My treatment was $140 for the full hour-long massage, but there is a $70 option available for 30 minutes. I didn’t notice a big physical difference once we were done, but I did feel lighter, more refreshed and fluid was being moved throughout my body. My massage therapist did ensure me that once the massage was over the drainage was not actually complete, and my body was still working on it over the next day or two. This meant that I should still drink plenty of water and not eat any foods that were too difficult to digest or heavy.
Would I do it again? Absolutely. However, I would probably opt for trying this once per month rather than once a week.