How To Do a Facial For Lymph Drainage

A post by our esthetician, Karen Kress, LE

Do you ever feel unusually puffy in the face? Maybe your head feels stuffed up? Excess lymph fluid clogged in your sinus could be the culprit.  If you have ever had a professional facial you may have noticed how light and clear your head is afterwards.  Part of the reason is the lymph draining massage techniques that your aesthetician may use.  Now you can do a facial for lymph drainage yourself. In my practice, I have seen the most remarkable change in a person’s look and comfort level after proper lymph drainage. There is nothing better for clearing clogged sinuses due to allergies or a cold!


Sinuses (credit CFCF – CC BY-SA 3.0)

Since most of us prefer a clear head and sinus, I have laid out the steps for doing a manual lymph drainage massage so you can experiment at home.  A hot shower is the best place to try this technique, as drainage starts and ends with your shoulders and they need to be exposed. It can work just as well wrapped in a towel while applying serums and lotions too.

  1. Assuming you are in the shower – Start with a good quality facial cleanser, cross your arms and massage, in a circular motion, around your shoulder joints with firm pressure. Spend at least one minute massaging each area in a circular motion then firmly stroke down to your arms from each higher starting point.
  2. Next, move to your shoulders, still using a circular motion while you travel toward your neck and then firm strokes towards and down your arms, then circle back up adding the neck and stroke back down to the arms.
  3. Maintain the “circle up, stroke down” pattern while working your jaw bone from chin to ears and your cheeks from ears to nose. Then stroke down to your arms.
  4. Start with small circles around your eyes to loosen and use large strokes around the whole eye area, working from the temples to the nose and all the way down to your arms.
  5. Circle back up to your forehead, ending with your scalp (a good time to shampoo) and stroking and moving the lymph through each area, all the way back down to your arms.

**Note** While we loosen in a circular massage from the bottom up, we drain in stroking motions, reworking each area from the top down.  This is extremely important because you can push loose lymph toward a clog and exacerbate the problem.  The idea is to loosen and move the lymph down away from your head into your arms. Pushing it down the arms is also important so the lymph passes your shoulders, from where it can travel to the heart.

I hope you enjoy your clear, light head!

Back to blog