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The Truth About Facial Massage and Lymphatic Drainage

woman getting a facial massage
October 29, 2015 Reviewed by Marta 2 Comments

Trending now — especially in the UK — is facial massage and lymphatic drainage. There are various types of massage, from manual to electronic pulses (ultrasound frequency or microcurrent), or specific techniques such as Reiki, and they are being seen as effective and non-invasive alternatives to fillers and Botox. And, finally, science is beginning to support the anecdotal evidence that massage techniques help combat aging by helping the penetration of active ingredients, boosting sagging skin and detoxifying the body.

Massage and penetration of actives

University of California researchers have tentatively concluded that massaging the skin may influences product penetration and retention, although they urged for more research to be conducted.

Massage and blood flow

A study in Thailand demonstrated that facial massage increased blood flow to the skin.

Massage and the lymphatic system

The lymphatic system is part our circulation and vital to the immune system. A network of lymphatic vessels carry a clear fluid called lymph (from Latin lympha meaning water). It is important that this fluid is able to circulate and be kept free of toxic build up as the lymphatic vessels are indispensable in collecting waste products. All of this plays an important role in the maintenance of healthy skin.

Lymphatic drainage and aging skin

There seems to be evidence that lymphatic drainage could keep us younger looking.  Recently I wrote about some very interesting research backed by Japanese cosmetic group Shiseido that concluded that impaired function of lymphatic vessels leads to accumulation of subcutaneous fat, which causes skin sagging.

The same study went on to claim that pine cone extract from Pinus Sylvestris can strengthen and normalize the lymphatic vessels. Tests were conducted for two months with a trial product formulated with pine cone extract and showed a reduction of nasolabial and facial lines, as well as neck sagging.

Manual massage

There are a million and one techniques so you’ll need to find a therapist or DIY version that works for you. Truth In Aging community member Pam told us about the pressure point version that Red Flower advocates. This is based on acupressure at 11 points on the face to help relieve the signs of stress by relieving underlying muscle tension and stimulating the lymphatic system. Red Flower even has a cleanser with ingredients to help the lymph system.

Electronic massage

Not only do microcurrent and ultrasound boost the production of collagen and elastin, they increase blood and lymphatic circulation.  I have certainly seen the evidence that they give a lift to sagging skin. For more on ultrasound, see our LED and ultrasound device, Truth Vitality Lux Renew and for microcurrent, see Truth Rejuvenate.

Beta glucan and lymphatic drainage

β-glucans are notable for their ability to modulate the immune system. Not only are they immune cells that ingest and demolish invading pathogens, they give out a rallying cry to stimulate other immune cells to join in the attack.

Featuring prominently in La Vie Celeste Eclairage Restorative Serum ($98.50 in the shop), beta-glucan isn’t the only ingredient here that helps prevent sagging skin, there’s also a peptide called caprooyl tetrapeptide-3 (also known as ChroNoline). Stemulation’s Boost Crème ($75-$140 in the shop) also gives beta-glucan pride of place. And you will be impressed by our reviewer’s before and after pictures.

  • October 29, 2015

    by Marie

    I second Pamela. I would love to have an accurate demo on how to effectively do a manual massage and how to do a lymphatic drainage massage on oneself ?

  • October 29, 2015

    by Pamela

    I live in an isolated, small beach town and sadly, there are no massage therapists trained in lymphatic drainage massage. Does anyone know if you can perform this type of facial massage (effectively) on yourself? I've found conflicting information online and not sure if the techiques I've seen demonstrated are authentic. I'm asking because the TIA team and community seem most knowledgeable. If anyone has info on this and/or a reliable online demo video of the technique, would you please share? Thanks!!

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