Lymphatic drainage massages have been popular outside of North America for some time, but the much-hyped treatment is finally gaining attention in Canada—with the waitlists to prove it.
While the French are known for singing the praises of a good haircut and facial, one of the buzziest appointments to book in Paris right now happens to be not for the hair or face—but the derrière.
“Interest in lymphatic drainage massages has been growing since summer 2020,” says Sarra Saha, owner of Madéro & Co in Paris. And that’s primarily due to people sharing their experiences on social media. Her clients, including French actresses Camille Razat from Emily in Paris and Shirine Boutella from Lupin, frequently post before and after pictures and videos to show the sculpting capabilities of the massage. Fans of the treatment say it can flatten the abdomen, abs can look more defined, bums can look lifted, legs can look leaner—but they also tout the non-visible benefits.
“The majority of our clients want to both look and feel better,” says Saha. And even those looking for body-defining benefits “are amazed by how they feel at the end of the massage.” Saha says it helps clients feel less bloated and more relaxed. Plus, it can help reduce swelling caused by conditions like lymphedema or surgery.
Lymphatic drainage massage is available across Canada. Interested in giving it a try? We caught up with a few Canadian experts to learn more.
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How does a lymphatic drainage massage work?
First, some background: The lymphatic system is the network of vessels and organs that help remove waste and bacteria from the body. Its main duty is to help prevent illness by transporting lymph, a fluid that fights infection, throughout the body. Lymphatic drainage massages are thought to help the lymphatic system do its job by moving excess lymph and fluid out of swollen tissues and back into the lymphatic vessels. Proponents say the massage results in increased energy levels, reduced stress, and a boosted immune system, as well as improved circulation, digestion, and sleep.
How does it differ from a normal massage?
Lymphatic drainage massage concentrates on the lower half of the body—the stomach, legs, and bum—instead of the back. It involves a gentler touch, instead of strong kneading common in typical massages.
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Who’s getting one?
There are people who gravitate towards lymphatic drainage massages specifically for the de-puffing benefits—but even more rely on them for the feel-good benefits. “Most of my clients have digestive problems,” says Mariana Aguiar, who performs Brazilian lymphatic drainage massages at Tight Clinic in Toronto. “And I see a lot of pregnant women because they can swell so much in the legs.” Tight Clinic owner, Karmen Lamer, adds that many of their clients have an autoimmune disease or disorder and get the treatment consistently to help relieve swelling. “We’ve seen so much interest since we started offering it right before [the first] shutdown,” says Lamer. “And that was before we started posting the before and after shots on Instagram.” When Covid restrictions lifted in 2020 and Tight Clinic was permitted to offer the treatment, they were booking about four months in advance.
How can it help people with lymphedema?
“Lymphedema is a swelling disorder, and it happens because of irregularities of the lymphatic system when it’s unable to pump out fluid from an area in the body,” says Ann DiMenna, board member of the Lymphedema Association of Ontario and author of The Complete Lymphedema Management and Nutrition Guide. It’s a condition that affects about one million Canadians and can occur due to cancer or other trauma. DiMenna says lymphatic drainage massages prove to be effective at helping to reduce swelling and can also help ease pain or discomfort, like heaviness, aching, and pins and needles. “With the massage, we’re trying to stimulate healthy areas that can flush out the fluid—so we try to redirect the fluid away from the damaged tissues,” says DiMenna. “We hope, over time, people get lymphangiogenesis, which is a regeneration of the lymphatic vessels.”
Are there any après-massage recommendations?
“The day you get the massage, I recommend drinking lots of water to make sure you’re hydrated,” says Aguiar. “The next day, you’ll feel amazing, and you’ll have such a boost of energy.” Results last a few days.
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