A period of hot weather or poor venous return can leave your legs feeling heavy – and you feeling uncomfortable. Maybe you've already tried phytotherapy, pressotherapy, and compression socks, but nothing has really worked? Then maybe you should give lymphatic drainage a try! This manual massage technique stimulates the circulation of lymph fluid and helps to flush out toxins from your body.
Heavy legs: the symptoms
Heaviness in the legs can be caused or aggravated by various factors. These include venous insufficiency (often hereditary), prolonged standing or sitting, heat, smoking, or being overweight. On a daily basis, it means that your legs feel heavy, prickly or tingly, or may look "column-like." This feeling of heaviness can also be complicated by the development of edemas and varicose veins.
Lymph fluid and lymphatic drainage: the lowdown
Lymph is a colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic vessels, which run parallel to blood vessels and are spread throughout the body. The role of lymph is to collect waste and toxins from the body and transport them to the lymph nodes, which filter the lymph fluid and produce antibodies in response to viruses or bacteria. These antibodies are then released into the bloodstream. Consequently, the lymphatic system plans an essential role in our immune system.
Lymphatic drainage is a manual massage technique that aims to stimulate the flow of lymph and remove waste products and toxins from tissues through soft and gentle pumping movements.
The benefits of lymphatic drainage
Relieves heavy legs and swelling
Lymphatic drainage relieves feelings of heaviness in the legs by improving both blood and lymphatic circulation. When performed regularly, it leaves you feeling lighter after each session. This massage therapy is particularly recommended for anyone suffering from edema or lymphedema, and in the case of postoperative edema, to eliminate excess lymph fluid.
Helps to sculpt the figure
A manual lymphatic drainage massage works to detoxify the entire body. Regular lymphatic drainage sessions can help to reduce cellulite, prevent water retention, improve skin tone, and relieve congestion in swollen legs.
Improves the appearance of the skin
Not only is lymphatic drainage excellent for the skin of the body – it's also excellent for the skin of the face! It stimulates blood flow and helps to eliminate toxins, for a clearer, more radiant complexion. It also helps to de-puff the eye area, reducing under-eye puffiness and dark circles. And because it has an anti-inflammatory effect, it can be beneficial for acne-prone skin.
Performing a lymphatic drainage massage
What to expect from a lymphatic drainage session
Lymphatic drainage of the legs uses manual massage. This is difficult to perform properly without professional knowledge of the movements required, which explains why lymphatic self-massage is not recommended. If you wish to use lymphatic drainage to treat heavy legs, look for a professional who's both experienced and trained in lymphatic drainage massage, such as a masseur, physiotherapist or aesthetician.
Lymphatic drainage massage is performed on dry skin; no oil or cream is applied beforehand. You lie on a massage table wearing your underwear, while the therapist massages with gentle movements, applying varying levels of pressure. Using the fingertips, s/he "pushes" lymph fluid, as if to pump it, stimulating it to flow in the direction of the lymph nodes. A lymphatic drainage session usually lasts 60 to 90 minutes.
For conclusive results, you should have at least five or six massage sessions, with one every two weeks.
La Maison Absolution
Our very own Maison in Paris encapsulates our vision of beauty. It's a place where you can browse our boutique, and also take advantage of our treatment room.
We offer a range of wellness treatments for the body, including our Re-Sculpt treatment, which is ideal for releasing heaviness and excess toxins, etc. This relaxing treatment consists of two parts. It starts with cupping therapy, using a suction cup to reproduce the "pinch and roll" massage technique, for a smoothing effect. This is followed by lymphatic drainage, to activate the flow of lymph and help detoxify the body. The movements involved are slow and gentle, for a truly relaxing moment. We guarantee that afterwards, you'll feel lighter in both your body and mind!
What you can do at home
As we already mentioned, it's difficult to give yourself a lymphatic drainage massage at home, but there are still things you can do to look after your legs – and your body in general.
- Get plenty of regular physical activity. Walking, swimming and cycling are excellent sports for the legs, as they work your calf muscles and help to activate the calf muscle pump function. A sedentary lifestyle is one of the main causes of heavy leg syndrome!
- If your legs are feeling heavy or the weather is very hot, massage your skin with a plant-based gel designed to relieve heavy legs. These gels have a cooling effect that promotes vasoconstriction (i.e. tightens blood vessels). Always massage in the direction of the heart. Start at the ankles and gradually work up toward the top of the thighs, pressing with the fingertips to encourage lymph flow.
- Wear compression socks or pantyhose, especially if you suffer from venous insufficiency or varicose veins, when you have to remain seated for several hours: a long day at the office, a long train/car/plane journey, etc.
- Avoid taking hot baths and take showers instead, alternating between hot and cold water to stimulate venous return in the legs.
- Drink lots of water to help detox your body. You should drink at least 1.5 liters of water a day. If you like herbal teas, try drinking one with red vine leaf or butcher's broom. Both are known to help venous circulation!