The Massage Technique Everyone's Talking About

The Massage Technique Everyone's Talking About

Lymphatic drainage might seem like standard fare to you as a professional, but with A-listers and influencers suddenly hashtagging the technique, Becci Vallis, Vitality Editor says if it is something you incorporate into your treatments, 2024 should be the year you’re shouting about it…

Everyone remembers the ‘Rachel’ haircut so it wasn’t a shocker that when Jennifer Aniston posted her love for a body compression suit which is designed for enhancing lymphatic drainage at the end of last year, the search terms on Google went wild. A ‘we want what she’s having’ approach ensued leading to an unprecedented demand for lymphatic drainage treatments with over a billion engagements on social media.

“The trend is evident on social media, particularly with hashtags like #lymphaticdrainage and #lymphaticdrainagemassage accumulating six figure posts and 425 million TikTok views,” says Lydia Taylor, Head of Spa at Evolve Beauty who incorporate specific lymphatic drainage techniques into their treatments. “A-list celebrities like Jennifer Aniston sharing their use of compression trousers in her post-workout routine have fuelled demand and now everyone wants to benefit from the technique that helps encourage a healthy immune system and waste filtration.”


A technique that dates back to Ayurvedic healing but that became more mainstream in the 1930s through the work of Dr Vodder, lymphatic drainage essentially uses gently, rhythmic massage movements following the direction of the lymph flow. The body’s waste system, if it becomes sluggish or gets overloaded by toxins, the side effects can be bloating, water retention, cellulite, acne, dullness and fatigue.

“The fluid or lymph in the lymphatic system helps remove waste and toxins from the body and works directly with your cardiovascular circulatory system to keep blood and lymph levels in balance. However, unlike the circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have the help of the heart to keep it pumping around the body, instead relying on muscle movement to keep it in motion,” explains Dr Galyna Selezneva, aesthetics doctor at Dr Rita Rakus. “Despite this, even very healthy and active individuals can suffer from sluggish lymphatics. Think of all the vessels in your body as motorways – some bigger, some smaller and some carry blood, others carry lymphatic fluid. If you get traffic jams along the way, nutrient-rich blood won’t be able to travel freely and infection-fighting lymph won’t be able to get to the organ that needs help. Lymphatic drainage therefore prevents traffic jams and keeps things moving for a healthy body.”

For the face:

By draining toxins from the skin, the massage methods, when used on the face, not only help to reduce puffiness and dullness, it can contour, lift and tone too. “Lymphatic drainage facial massage is a specialised technique to promote natural drainage of the lymph in the face and neck area which can improve the overall appearance and health of the skin and is a non-invasive way to enhance the complexion and reduce swelling. For this reason, more recently it’s been used after facelift surgery to expedite recovery as oedema [a build-up of swelling] can be a very common side effect after this type of surgery,” explains Dr Georgina Williams, co-founder of Montrose London.

For the body:

Also used after surgical procedures to reduce swelling lymphatic drainage massage when used on the body has also been found to help combat cellulite by getting rid of water retention and toxins. Of late, it’s also been dubbed as a go-to for post-exercise recovery as it can relieve sore muscles and promote relaxation.


You can incorporate lymphatic drainage into your facials and massages with relative ease and it’s also a great technique for combining with other treatments. “I swear by Endospheres as a standalone drainage or cellulite treatment or in combination to enhance the results as it uses a compressive micro-vibration system and a roller device,” says Dr Galyna.

Marie Reynolds also likes to mix modalities and in her Acu Lift treatment she uses bespoke acupuncture needling with LymphaTouch for lymphatic drainage and LED for brightening while some spas now combine face and body treatments such as administering a Hydrafacial while the client is zipped into a Body Ballancer compression suit (the option favoured by Jen An). A 2-in-1 approach that saves on time but gives top to toe results by targeting every lymph node in the body.

“Spa treatments can incorporate devices such as lymphatic pumps or pneumatic compression devices that offer compressive micro-vibration systems, or there are compression suits like the Body Ballancer that mimics the movements of MLD – manual lymphatic drainage massage,” continues Lydia. “Cupping is another technique that can be used to promote lymphatic flow, then there’s the Dr Vodder Method which employs circular and spiral-shaped movements with alternating pressure.”

This also opens up the opportunity to tailor your treatments as everyone can benefit from lymphatic drainage but by assessing your clients’ needs and preferences, it can enhance their spa experience tenfold. “It’s vital to diagnose your client correctly in order to choose the right treatment and technique and in addition, it should only be carried out by therapists with a certified manual lymphatic drainage certificate,” says Dr Galyna.


If you’re offering the treatment that’s in vogue as standard but aren’t flagging it up in your marketing materials, menu and social media, now is the time, especially if you or some of your employees are specifically trained in lymphatic drainage massage as it could set you apart from your competition. Just make sure the treatment really does what it says on the tin though, because mislabelling something just to be on trend won’t stand you in good stead and could lead to client dissatisfaction – especially if they’ve been doing their homework on what to expect.

“Transparency and accurate representation is always key when it comes to navigating trends and meeting client expectations so keep that at the forefront of your mind if you’re considering relabelling your treatments or creating specific packages,” says Lydia.

A perfect treatment for this time of year – as we head into spring when clients are looking to detoxify, boost immunity, ease tension and increase energy – while it might seem like second nature to you, it’s clearly the hot topic across Google and social media right now so lean into it, educate your clients and you could see a wave of new faces through your door.