Treat Your Face to a Lymphatic Massage

August 1, 2014
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

lymphatic facial massageA simple technique to relax, rejuvenate and regenerate facial skin.

The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump which means you need to move the lymph through its channels some other way.

As Joanie Greggains and I concur in The Fat Flush Fitness Plan, massage is one of the most effective ways to help your lymph move through its channels and nodes more efficiently, nourishing your tissues and making white blood cells–the mainstay of your immune system–available to your entire body.

Massage also stimulates your circulation, freeing toxins and waste products and carrying them down into the lymph system which then removes them from your body.

In addition, it can be an important healing modality. A study from the University of Miami found that massage actually increased the number of natural killer cells in the immune system, boosting your ability to resist disease. And it also helps release endorphins so you feel less pain and muscle soreness–especially important when you take up a new routine or activity.

Massage reduces stress, which can be a key factor in weight gain and weight retention. Remember that stress leads to high levels of cortisol, a powerful hormone that helps your body retain fat, especially in the abdominal region. So anything that lowers cortisol levels is a huge help in your diet and fitness efforts. Cortisol may also help promote the development of cellulite, especially around your abdomen.

Meanwhile, by stimulating your circulatory system, massage improves the flow of oxygen and nutrients to every cell, boosting your energy levels and helping to create healthy, glowing skin. Massage also promotes regular sleep, which reduces stress, lowers cortisol levels, and so, indirectly, can lead to weight loss.


Special Lymphatic Facial Massage

While you may already be aware of the benefits of a full body massage, here is a rather innovative method for massaging your face. I first learned of this technique from skin care specialist and veteran Fat Flusher Karie Wagner on our charter Fat Flush cruise. Joanie and I liked it so much we adapted it for The Fat Flush Fitness Plan book!


4 Simple Steps


1. Using the side of your index fingers, briskly massage up and down on your forehead. Using the side of your index fingers, briskly massage the sides of your face, from the temples near the hairline to the bottom of your ears.

2. Using the sides of your index fingers, start at your cheekbone beside your nose. Hook your finger under the cheekbone and gently vibrate your fingers back and forth. Gradually move down the cheekbone, vibrating your fingers, until you reach the center of the cheekbone, directly below the center of your eye. Using the same vibrating motion, finish this region by placing the underside of your thumbs under the cheekbone directly below the outer corner of your eyes and moving toward the center of the cheekbone.

3. Open your mouth slightly to create slackness in the hollow directly below your cheekbone. Using the tips of three fingers, massage both sides in a circular motion. Place your thumbs, underside against your skin, behind your jawline and just below your ears. Vibrate your thumbs and move down the jawline until your thumbs meet at your chin.

4. Bend your head to the left so your neck muscles are relaxed on the left side. Hold the four fingers of your right hand straight and firmly together. Start just under the jawline on the left side and slide your right hand down your neck and across your shoulder. Repeat ten times on the left side, then carry out the same process on the right side. You may feel a tingling sensation in your neck and arm as the lymph flows.



Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Karen

    Thanks for posting this again, it’s been a long time since I read Fat Flush Fitness Plan and it is easy to forget such simple self-care tips. I regularly massage my own tender areas but forget the face. Of course water consumption and plenty of essential fatty acids help as well. Since begining regular fish oil, CLA, GLA, larger Vitamin D, & K doses my skin looks the best it ever has even at 63.

  2. linda

    The instructions are too confusing…I would like to do it, but honestly, can’t figure out how from these instructions! It’s something that needs to be shown rather than described in words!

  3. Shirley Richey

    I have to agree with Linda above. Is there any way you can post a video demonstrating each step? Also, correct me if I’m wrong but when doing Lymphatic massages it’s important to massage with the least amount of pressure to reap the benefits. This wasn’t mentioned in the post. If this is so, could you explain the reason why? Thank you for addressing this topic. I look forward to all of your posts!!!

  4. Ann Louise

    Linda and Shirley:

    Thank you for your posts. We will look into the possibility of posting a video to demonstrate the above technique.

    Shirley: The pressure required for a lymphatic massage is very light and feathery in nature due to the delicate nature of the lympth which lie close to the skin. All of this is covered and described in much more detail in our Fat Flush Fitness Plan, from which this material is derived.

    • Becky C

      Looking forward to the video!! Love your articles.

  5. Sandra

    Will doing this help with swelling under the eyes? This is a chronic problem for me.

  6. Ann Louise

    Hi Sandra: Very gentle lympthatic drainage of the face performed by a skilled lympthatic massage expert may indeed be helpful for you. Very often swelling around the eye is related to either kidney or adrenal issues which also should be investigated. Have you taken an adrenal stress test?

  7. mishie

    has the video for the massage been made ??

    • Team ALG

      A LMT in your area should know the lymphatic massage technique.


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