Get Well

What the F*ck is Lymphatic Drainage

by Layla Ahmad

To err is human. I am no saint. I am greedy and often covet things I see, a lot of them shiny, much like a seagull. Although I wish I always had the bold confidence of Jameela Jamil, at 26 I am still scrolling through the feed of life, and a lot of the time I desire Hadid-ish qualities, such as a lack of puffiness and bloatedness that is begot when one has Yolanda Hadid as a mother, a woman who scolds her children for having a bite of cake on their birthday and owns a glass fridge full of fruit and mystical milks. However, I am not a supermodel, and must settle for erratically trying beauty treatments that I investigate on the internet and read about via editorial publications in the dead of the night.

Nothing has piqued my interest more than the legendary Lymphatic Drainage massage. As someone who will scream from the hills about the benefits of dry-brushing, and hopped on the jade rolling train real quick, I will do anything to drain the gunk out of my body. Long said to be painful as hell and the secret to how copious baguettes and wine are scarfed down by our angelic French counterparts, I was just dying to try it. After all I have a high threshold for pain, especially for the sake of beauty, so why not?

I connected with Delineation Hair + Skin Essentials in Toronto and got to chatting with Shekun, the grande dame and a veteran of lymphatic drainage to find out the benefits of the treatment, as well as to see if I were a good candidate.

Shekun explained, “The biggest benefits are to the immune system. You are flushing and moving the fluids then draining them into the lymph nodes under your arms.” She added, “We have a lot of lymph nodes in our underarms.” Once your body builds up a better immune system via flushing out these toxins through fluid drainage, the body is better able to fight infection. Regular lymph drainage can also help with swelling, acne, headaches, fatigue, and digestive issues. Basically, you’re in for a real treat.

Shekun gets clients to make sure they drink water immediately after and throughout the day because that is the only way to flush out all those toxins that have just been moved. This would explain why she immediately asked if I had drank water that day. Shekun told me that people who are very congested, whether in their sinuses or due to allergies, will feel a nasal drip, and afterwards will breathe much easier. It’s not all drumming and pain though… “It’s very relaxing and it’s for anyone, not just people who are sick. Everyone should try it, definitely don’t be scared.

She does agree that here are misconceptions around the treatment (only for the chic French ladies or fashion editors), but that this has changed, and many clients normally come in to see her every two weeks. “Once clients see and feel the benefits, they realize they didn’t know something like this existed.” If you are in tune with yourself Shekun said you can feel the drainage while she is working with you during the movements she does. Quite frankly this got me very excited for the treatment, so I asked for a little description. Should I expect a WWE type facelift? “The movements are not too vigorous. It’s gentle but you can feel it. If people are very congested then I work more on the face.”

So what was it like?

The treatment was unlike any other. Shekun mainly focused her drainage movements on my face, both centrally and on my temples, as well on the decolletage and underarm area, as that is where most lymph nodes are located. The movements were most intense on the face, where they felt like firm drumming in a quick motion that pulled outwards towards the jaw, and slower, more pressurized on the upper-body area, with firm and deeply intense movement that let you feel the drainage that was going on. The drainage felt relaxing but also quite firm, and the movements released tension especially in my face, where you hold a lot of stress. I was glowing after, and my jaw hung down more naturally, while usually I clench a lot. My entire body felt lighter as if a massive weight had been lifted. I walked taller and it was a completely different sensation than getting a massage.

Needless to say, while I still may not be a Hadid, I think I’m okay with it.

Feature Image via Victoria Morris

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