Stimulate Lymph Flow for Healthy Skin
You’ve likely experienced swollen lymph nodes when your body is fighting an illness - swollen glands are a common side effect of certain head colds or viruses that impact the respiratory. The bigger picture however involves the lymph system, which is a major part of the body’s immune system. When lymph, the fluid that moves through the system, becomes sluggish, impurities can become trapped in cells. The implication of a sluggish lymph is a weakened immune system, which deeply impacts the skin.
Luckily flow can be stimulated and skin care professionals can use this technique in the treatment room to benefit clients dealing with rosacea, acne, chronic inflammation and puffiness, and overall sluggish skin.
A Look at the Lymph System
The lymph system is a network of organs, lymph nodes, lymph ducts, and lymph vessels that make and move lymph from tissues to the bloodstream. As I mentioned, it is a major part of the body’s immune system. Lymph is a fluid comprising white blood cells, which attack bacteria in the blood. You may most easily associate it as the clear, yellowish fluid that accompanies blood when a pustule is extracted.
Lymph nodes - the soft, small structures that cluster in various parts of the body such as the armpit, neck, groin, and abdomen - filter lymph fluid, produce immune cells to aid the body in fighting infection, and help rid the body of foreign antibodies like bacteria and other dangerous cells. When bacteria or infection is identified in lymph fluid, the lymph nodes go to work producing more white blood cells to fight the bacteria, which causes the swelling. The nodes is also where the body clears or purifies itself of the bacteria or any debris the lymph collected from the cellular tissue.
Since lymph is not a part of the vascular system, it doesn’t have the benefit of a pump like the heart to keep it circulating. We need to stimulate it through movement to keep it from slowing, or to jump start it when it is sluggish. This is where Stimulate Lymph Flow in the treatment room, as well as overall lifestyle comes into play.
For clients battling sluggish skin, rosacea, acne or inflammation, talk to them about best practices they can begin to implement at home. Things like deep breathing, walking and movement, drinking water, laughing, and getting regular massages, keep the lymph in motion.
In the treatment room, we can can also help get lymph moving through a technique called Stimulate Lymph Flow, and other treatments that increase overall circulation like microdermabrasion O2 applications and massage. Stimulate Lymph Flow is precise skin movement technique that is just at the surface level of the skin - it doesn’t involve moving any of the tissue underneath the skin. It just stimulates the lymph to move more efficiently, because when it is clogged, it becomes more difficult for the body to purify or cleanse itself, and the effects can appear in the skin.
As I noted, this is a very precise movement, and technique that takes time to learn. Don’t expect to master it in a day. If you are new to the technique, I recommend taking a course through a school that specializes in lymph flow. It can take hours to learn proper technique, but once you’ve mastered it, you can offer it as an add-on service in the treatment room to further the results.
One of our educators and contributors, Ann Duke, performs this technique at her facility in San Diego. Since it’s proven so valuable to her clients, we filmed a session with Ann performing it with a simple facial treatment for rosacea. This can also be used with acne, anti-inflammatory, and other treatments. The video is available here. We also put together a Lymph Drainage Treatment Map to help navigate the process, but as I mentioned you will need to undergo training if you are new to it.
Bottom line, don’t get discouraged, it takes time to learn and the more you practice the easier it will become.
Question: Do you offer lymph drainage treatments in your practice? What has been the client response?