Face Yoga

Lymphatic drainage exercises for your face: a comprehensive guide

Written by Maria NeverovichUpdated on 13 Jun 2024
Face Yoga

Lymphatic drainage exercises for your face: a comprehensive guide

Written by Maria Neverovich.Updated at 13 Jun 2024
Morning puffiness is a challenge for many of us — who hasn’t woken up with their face feeling a little swollen? This is caused by swollen lymph nodes in the face, which fill up with fluid overnight, creating that puffy look. So why doesn’t this happen during the day? Although your lymph nodes process fluid day and night, when you sleep, your body isn’t moving as much as it does during the day, meaning that fluids are more likely to gather. Although this bloated feeling can be quite bothersome, it’s important to remember that this is the normal function of the body’s lymphatic system. This system works as a natural drainage that removes toxins and enriches cells with amino acids, oxygen, and other essential nutrients. Still, you’re here because you want to avoid puffiness in the face and make your lymph vessels work more effectively. In this article, we’ll help you do just that by exploring the importance of the lymphatic system and figuring out how to improve poor lymphatic drainage in the face.

What causes lymphatic build-up in the face?

The lymphatic system is a complex network of vessels and lymph nodes that extends throughout the body. As the lymph circulates, it removes cell waste and nourishes our tissues and organs with essential nutrients, helping maintain proper fluid balance and protecting our bodies from infections. Working as an effective immune shield in our bodies, the lymphatic system has one major downside – lymph flow stagnation. This can occur for many reasons:
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Poor diet or hydration
  • Surgeries
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Tight clothing
The list goes on and on. Lymph blockages primarily affect our face, so we get puffiness above and under the eyes, swollen lymph nodes in the face, less expressive cheekbones, saggy jawline, and more. That’s why tackling lymph stagnation with face exercises for lymphatic drainage is essential, especially if you’re prone to lymphatic build-up in the body. But is there a solution? Luckily, there is. Facial lymphatic massages can help a lot. Read about 11 ways face yoga and face massage benefit your face, body, and wellness.

What is a face lymphatic drainage massage?

Unlike the blood’s circulation system, which has its own pump, the lymphatic system relies on muscle contraction and physical manipulation to stimulate its flow. That’s where a lymphatic drainage massage for the face becomes especially beneficial. Facial lymphatic drainage is a set of special massage exercises that help improve the movement of extra fluid in the face from swollen areas to lymph nodes. Contrary to facial muscle massage, lymphatic massage doesn’t require intense pressing. It’s a gentle massage with gentle skin stretching and releasing along the lymph pathways.

Benefits of lymphatic drainage for face & skin

Lymphatic drainage exercises for the face have proved effective not only in the beauty industry but also in healthcare, providing quick results for patients after heavy treatments. You can easily see the effects of lymphatic drainage on your face on your own. First, do the exercises on one side of your face only, compare the results before and after the lymphatic drainage massage, and finish your massage on the other half of your face. The visual benefits of the lymphatic drainage self-massage are as follows:
  • Reduction of puffiness
  • Healthy glowing skin
  • Smoother skin texture
  • More shaped and lifted facial features
  • Increased exchange of substances between cells
  • Improved drainage of waste produced by cells

How to: lymphatic drainage at home

You don’t need to refer to any specialized beauty practitioners to perform lymphatic drainage self-massage. This technique is rather simple to learn and doesn’t require much time. So, here is a step-by-step guide on how to massage and drain your lymph nodes in the face.

Step 1: Activate your neck nodes

Beginning with your neck nodes will help you warm up the lymph fluid flow from your face into your neck nodes and heart. Here is how to drain lymph nodes in the neck naturally. Generally, it is advised to begin low, around the neck and clavicles in order to open the channels allowing space for the remaining fluid to flow. Many people note that they may feel the need to clear the throat as they feel the lymphatic fluid drain.
  • Put your index and middle fingers together on one side of your neck, right above the collarbone.
  • Slowly move your fingers down and inwards in the direction of your collarbones. Don’t press on the skin too much, and keep your fingers above the collarbone.
  • Now, start massaging the area of your neck closer to your shoulder and gently stretch the skin to the middle of your neck.
  • When massaging, draw the imaginary letter “J” from your shoulder to your neck, keeping your fingers above the collarbone. Repeat this action 10-15 times on each side.

Step 2: Reduce the puffiness around your eyes

Puffiness around the eyes is the most common sign of lymphatic stagnation. To minimize the swelling above and under your eyes try an eye-tapping technique recommended by Jillian Osborne, a face yoga expert:
  • Start by rubbing your palms together to generate warmth.
  • Tapping: Use your fingertips to gently tap around the eye area, following the orbital bone. Begin from the inner corner of your eyes, move along the eyebrow line, and circle down to the outer corners, finishing under the eyes.
  • Repeat the tapping motion for about 1-2 minutes, ensuring that you are gentle to avoid stretching the delicate skin around your eyes.
This technique helps stimulate lymphatic drainage and improve circulation, reducing puffiness and swelling around the eyes. To work with the area under the eyes: Place the tips of ring fingers at the inner corner of each eyebrow. Gently circle the full eye starting above the brows, tracing smaller and smaller circles. Repeat 8-10 times then change directions following the same method.

Step 3: Pinch your cheeks and jawline

Face yoga lymphatic drainage is a great way to reduce the swelling in your cheeks, making your cheekbones and jawline more pronounced. Unlike other lymphatic drainage exercises, this one is a bit more intense:
  • Gently pinch your cheeks, lips, and jawline from the center of your face towards your temples. This will help to contour the lines of your face by activating your facial muscles and lymph nodes. Repeat 5 times.

Lifestyle tips to enhance the lymph flow

Facial lymphatic drainage is a great way to remove extra fluids from your face, and it doesn’t require much time. Only 10-15 minutes a day produces a significant, visible result. For a better effect, apart from daily lymphatic massage, you can also incorporate small rituals in your daily routine to make your lymphatic drainage even more efficient. What you can do to enhance your lymphatic drainage:
  • Start being more active – this doesn’t necessarily have to be exhausting workouts in a gym. Just a 30-minute walk will make a big difference.
  • Regulate your hydration – drinking water throughout the day in small sips will help your body draw the extra fluids out.
  • Don’t eat salty foods, especially before bed – salt makes your body accumulate water, which can result in facial swelling in the morning.
If you don't believe in the power of facial exercises, see our users' results.