The lymphatic system is an integral part of your body, linked into the heart. The lymph system is responsible for sending white blood cells and antibodies to the surrounding tissues and organs. When the lymph system is not functional, your body cannot receive the antibodies and white blood cells it needs to keep your immune system strong. The lymph system requires muscle movement and water intake to function properly. Facial massage can give your lymph system a hand in the process.
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The lymph nodes are situated around your face and neck. Lymph nodes range in size from small to large. Those located around the jaw line, behind the ear and down to the collar bone are small. The areas massaged each link to the lymph system, facilitating drainage across the forehead, near the sides of the nose, down the sides of the neck line under the chin and across the shoulders along the back of the shoulder bone. Other lymph nodes are situated throughout the body, including the breast, inner thigh near the groin and under the arms.
The lymph nodes running along the jaw bone and down the side of the neck dump into the circulatory system before entering the heart. Using facial massage to stimulate lymph drainage helps reduce wrinkles and black bags under the eyes, stimulating the flow of blood and to improve the skin's health. The facial lymph nodes are the only portion of the lymph system that dumps directly into the heart. Facial massage will prepare the lymph nodes for more lymph, the fluid that transports amino acids, white blood cells and nutrients to and from the bloodstream.
When using facial massage, it is important to remember to use firm but gentle movement. The gentle pulsing of the fingertips while using a slow movement towards the heart helps to stimulate the drainage of the lymph system. A slow steady sweep down the neck towards the heart creates movement. Using the index finger, middle and ring fingers allows for coverage of the area and proper pressure. Placing the three fingers along the jaw line, starting at the centre, with the middle finger on the jaw bone, sweep firmly but gently toward the ear and down the neck towards the heart. Massaging along the forehead, outwards from the nose to the ear along the cheek and moving towards the heart facilitates full lymph drainage of the face.
A facial massage that stimulates lymph drainage can be incorporated into your nighttime regimen. Give yourself a facial massage after you have washed and moisturised your face. Or use the facial massage techniques to apply your moisturiser or wash your face. Using small circular motions, move across the forehead, from the nose across the cheeks, along the jaw line and down the neck towards the heart with warm lather to stimulate the lymph nodes to drain.
Do not attempt a lymph drainage when ill with a sinus infection, strep throat, skin infection, tooth abscess, or any other active head or facial infection. You can cause more harm than good. However, Rita Woods, a licensed massage therapist, suggests if you have been on antibiotics or receiving treatment for your condition for at least three days, it is safe to use facial massage.
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