Lymphatic drainage: lose weight? See the benefits and price

It is uncomfortable to always have a feeling of bloating and fluid retention.

More than an aesthetic nuisance, having your legs, feet, arms, face and belly constantly swollen is a sign that your body is not able to properly eliminate fluids.

People who suffer from this problem, however, can rely on lymphatic drainage to – literally – lend a hand to the lymphatic system.

This is because, through a massage done manually or mechanically, this technique helps to drain the liquid that accumulates between the cells and that, for some reason, the organism is unable to return it to the circulatory system to be eliminated.

In the following text we will explain how this procedure can bring aesthetic and health benefits.


What is lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic drainage is a compression technique done manually or with the aid of devices to help the lymphatic system drain the standing water (lymph) between the tissues.

It is usually necessary when this compression is not spontaneous or is insufficient.

It is like a massage, made with light and smooth movements, without using force or excessive speed, capable of decreasing fluid retention, eliminating toxins, improving circulation, reducing muscle pain, helping in the treatment of cellulite and other benefits.

It is also a very suitable procedure for patients in the pre- and postoperative period of plastic surgery, as it helps in recovery and healing. For pregnant women, lymphatic drainage is useful in helping to reduce the swelling, pain and stress that can occur during this period.

It is performed by professionals such as massage therapist, physiotherapist and beautician and can generate benefits for the legs, arms, belly and face.

How does the lymphatic system work?

Our circulation system is composed of an arterial blood (goes from the heart to the body) and venous blood (from the body back to the heart).

The venous circulation, which has veins with thinner walls (capillaries), allows a small amount of the liquid to “escape” and accumulate between the tissues.

This liquid, called lymph, is composed mostly of water, but also of proteins , lipids, oxygen, glucose and white blood cells.

In general, the organism returns the substance to the circulation. This is where the lymphatic system comes in, as it is the one who helps to drain this water that is between the tissues and needs to return to the circulation so that it can be filtered.

It has the function of directing this lymph to the “filters” of our organism, so to speak, known as lymph nodes or lymph nodes, located in the armpits, groin, collarbone and neck. Through them, liquids and toxins must be eliminated.

But, for the lymph to reach the lymph nodes, the lymphatic system needs supporting pressure, which is also done by the action of the muscles in the body.

However, sometimes, this process can be slow due to several factors, such as muscle weakness (atony), physical inactivity and spending most of the day sitting and heat.

In addition to these factors, hormonal changes, pregnancy, menstruation, excess sodium in the diet, heart, kidney and liver failure can also impair the functioning of the lymphatic system. The consequence of all this is the body’s fluid retention.


Lymphatic drainage can be done in two ways: manually, as a massage, or with the use of devices (mechanical form). When choosing between the techniques, a question may arise in relation to which will bring better results:


Manual lymphatic drainage is done through a massage, without the use of any object or device. In it, the physiotherapist performs smooth movements in the treated region, without applying too much force or pressure on the skin.

These movements “take” the excess of fluids stopped between the tissues to the drainage centers of the body, the ganglia located in the armpits, collarbone, neck and groin.

Because it is done with the hands, the professional responsible for the drainage is able to have an even greater precision on the swollen regions and on possible nodules.

It is also the most suitable type for people in the postoperative period, as it is better in the treatment and elimination of possible residues, such as nodules and fats. In addition, it can help in the production of collagen, accelerating the healing time.


Mechanical drainage has the same action as manual drainage, as it also reduces fluid retention and eliminates toxins. However, it is different from manual drainage because it has a deeper action on the tissues, as its effect affects the muscles, the fat layer and the skin.

It is a better option for those looking for muscle relaxation, better cellulite reduction and reduced measurements.

In addition, because there are drainage equipment customized according to the type of treatment, the results sought can be treated with a greater focus.

In this type of drainage, the main contraindication is that it should not be done in patients in the postoperative period, since in this phase the skin is more sensitive and the devices may end up impairing or delaying recovery.

Facial lymphatic drainage

It is common to associate lymphatic drainage only to the body, as it is quite common to be done on the belly and legs, for example. But this technique can also be applied to the face.

Facial lymphatic drainage also provides many benefits, acting as a therapeutic, aesthetic and preventive procedure.

The procedure can help prevent tissue aging and tone the skin (as it stimulates collagen). It also helps to eliminate bags and expression marks close to the eye region, which can be done in patients in the postoperative period.

Because it is an even more sensitive region, lymphatic drainage on the face needs to be done with even softer touches, always with a properly trained professional .

Initially, the procedure opens the ganglia located in the neck, armpits and neck. In sequence, the massage to direct the circulation of the lymph is done, stimulating the elimination of these liquids and toxins by the ganglia.

What is it for?

Lymphatic drainage is done to reduce swelling, toxins and fluid retention in the body. Therefore, it is able to promote health and aesthetic benefits, as it helps to improve circulation, the immune system, the appearance of the skin and helps to reduce cellulite.

It is a procedure that, in general, can also be indicated for women in pregnancy or after childbirth, to help reduce swelling, bring greater muscle relaxation, reduce anxiety and stress.

But it is important to always talk to the obstetrician to check the time indicated to perform the procedure.

It can also be done to help improve the results of the gym or in the pre or postoperative of plastic surgeries, such as liposuction and abdominoplasty.

It should always be done by a qualified professional , to avoid injury to patients. People who have undergone surgery, pregnant women or who have a medical condition should always consult a doctor before performing lymphatic drainage.

Benefits of lymphatic drainage

In addition to helping to reduce swelling and fluid retention, improving the functioning of the lymphatic system, this technique provides several other benefits, such as:

Detoxifies the body

There are several factors that worsen or cause intoxication of the body, increasing the amount of toxins present in the body, such as a diet full of processed foods , rich in sugar and fat, and the absence of physical activities, for example.

This intoxication when added to fluid retention becomes an even greater problem, due to the malaise and negative impacts caused to health.

Lymphatic drainage, therefore, promotes detoxification by eliminating toxins that are “stuck” to the body due to fluid retention.

Read more: Detox juice: slimming, to lose belly, how to do, recipe

Greater muscle relaxation and stress reduction

Because it is a form of massage, lymphatic drainage provides relief from muscle tension, especially when caused by extreme stress. In this way, it manages to bring greater mental and physical well-being.

Accelerates healing

Lymphatic drainage is also essential to help the healing of patients in the post-surgery period, and can reduce recovery time by up to 50%, because with the reduction of swelling, the body has better healing.

In people who have plastic surgery, usually procedures that interfere with the functioning of the lymphatic system, drainage is essential.

It can also be indicated for people who have undergone orthopedic, vascular and cesarean surgeries.

Reduces swelling caused by menopause

During menopause , when women experience more intense hormonal variations, it is common to retain fluids.

Lymphatic drainage, in these cases, can be done to help women treat problems related to the lymphatic system and, also because it is relaxing, can promote improvements in well-being.

Read more: How to live with menopause and deal with symptoms

Enhances the results of the academy

Although this is not the focus, lymphatic drainage can also be done to accelerate the results of the gym, as it helps to decrease measures due to swelling, in addition to improving circulation during activities and reducing cellulite.

Relieves bruising and swelling after surgery

After a surgical procedure, it is more common for people to retain fluid and for the lymphatic system to slow down for this drainage.

Usually, lymphatic drainage is indicated in recovery phases to help eliminate this retention, but it also ends up contributing to the reduction of bruises, pain relief, improvement of circulation and the healing and recovery process.

In liposuction and abdominoplasty, for example, the technique is fundamental, since it is possible that cells and fibrosis (internal scars) are stopped or formed in the belly region after surgery.

It can also be done on patients who have had surgery for breast enlargement or reduction (mammoplasty or mastectomy) and rhinoplasty (plastic surgery on the nose).

Helps in the treatment of cellulite

The cellulite , the skin condition is grainy, it is also one can be reduced with the achievement of lymphatic drainage, since the procedure reduces fluid retention.

It is worth mentioning that there are better results when the client also performs physical exercises and maintains a healthy diet.

Postoperative lymphatic drainage

After a surgical procedure, greater fluid retention and, consequently, swelling are normal.

This extra care after surgery is essential, as surgery usually leaves lesions in the body, such as damage to nerves and vessels, greater dispersion of fluids in cells, bruises, pain and skin sensitivity.

Lymphatic drainage in these cases is a very important procedure, as it can help to reduce the healing time, accelerating the patient’s recovery.

It is also a way to improve the results of surgical procedures, especially plastic surgery. In the case of abdominoplasty and liposuction, the technique also helps to prevent fibrosis, a condition in which a kind of internal scar is formed, as if they were plaques.

Therefore, in addition to rest, use of medications prescribed by the doctor, care with food, lymphatic drainage can also be among the care after surgery.

How is lymphatic drainage done?

Lymphatic drainage is a procedure that can be done by professionals such as physiotherapists, beauticians and massage therapists. It is usually done in sessions that last, on average, 1 hour, but which may vary according to the patient.

Massage can be done only with the use of hands or with specific devices, and in both forms the effect provided is the same: elimination of toxins and liquids from the body.

Thus, being a manual or mechanical drainage, professionals perform smooth, rhythmic movements and without much pressure on the treated region, “pushing” the liquid towards the lymph nodes, located in the armpits, collarbone, neck and groin.

In the beginning, the professional makes small successive pressures with the fingers on the lymph nodes (lymph nodes), and then “push” the retained liquids towards them.

These movements should always be done lightly, as the lymph nodes, as well as the lymphatic system, are in the superficial layer of the skin (dermis) and therefore, force is not necessary to promote this drainage.

It is also not necessary to use creams or oils to slide your hands over the client’s skin, as this makes the contact more slippery, which can affect the accuracy of movements.

Each region of the body requires a different drainage movement, being done as follows:

  • Legs : upward movements towards the popliteal fossa, region behind the knees;
  • Thighs : movements made towards the groin area;
  • Belly : movements made towards the groin;
  • Arms : movements made in the direction of the armpits;
  • Face : movements made towards the clavicle and neck ganglia.

How many sessions are needed?

The number of sessions for each patient depends a lot on the results and the type of treatment performed. Therefore, it is difficult to set an ideal average.

The frequency depends on each objective. Small daily (for example, after surgery) or weekly (to reduce swelling) sessions may be recommended.

On average, it is possible to see results from 4 sessions.

The important thing is to talk to the professional to understand how many sessions will be necessary and not to interrupt the treatment, as this can cause fluid retention to return.

Can pregnant women do?

In general, yes , when released by the obstetrician . In general, lymphatic drainage is safe and even recommended for pregnant women, as it helps to reduce swelling during this period.

However, in the case of women who have some disease linked to the lymphatic system, such as uncontrolled hypertension, deep vein thrombosis and renal failure, for example, lymphatic drainage is not indicated.

With the exception of these cases, the procedure can bring many advantages to the months of pregnancy, since problems with swelling are more frequent.

In addition to helping to reduce fluid retention, lymphatic drainage is also interesting because it provides a greater sense of well-being, as it helps pregnant women to relieve tension, muscle pain and anxiety.

Read more: Discover the benefits of pilates in pregnancy

It can also be done after childbirth, even in women who have had a cesarean section. However, it is important to talk to the doctor and wait for concrete healing, which may vary in each case.

Lymphatic drainage lose weight?

No . Lymphatic drainage is a massage done to increase the flow of lymph, the fluid stopped between the tissues, and thus improve the functioning of the lymphatic system. Thus, it reduces swelling and fluid retention, which can, consequently, cause a reduction in measures.

However, this procedure does not affect the person’s fat percentage, as in the case of physical activities and diets. That is why lymphatic drainage does not lose weight.

However, even for those who want to lose weight, this can be an interesting procedure because it helps to reduce swelling and cellulite. Remember that alone it has no effect on the scale.

The ideal is to lead a balanced life, with physical activities and healthy eating, with lymphatic drainage being a complement.

How to improve the results of lymphatic drainage?

Lymphatic drainage is a procedure that provides good aesthetic results, but alone it is not miraculous.

Read more: Tips to change habits and lose weight with health

But there are some tips that people can follow on a daily basis to help improve the effects of the technique, in addition to providing other health benefits:

Healthy eating

Some of the factors that contribute to fluid retention are over-consumption of sodium-rich foods.

Therefore, the ideal is to avoid foods with a high content of the substance, such as soft drinks, stuffed cookies, sweets, powdered juices or any ultra-processed product.

In return, it is best to add healthier foods to the diet, such as vegetables, legumes, fruits and proteins, for example.

Read more: Why eat vegetables?

Fluid intake

Several factors can induce fluid retention by the body, such as hormonal disorders, increased toxins in the body, problems with cardiovascular or cellular health. But, among the causes, is also dehydration.

When we consume few liquids we are unable to supply the body’s water needs. In response, the body begins to retain water, as this is the way to compensate for fluid deficiency.

To resolve this retention, a greater intake of fluids is necessary, to return the proper hydration that the body needs, preventing the kidneys from retaining the water that needs to be eliminated.

Thus, consuming a lot of water or diuretic teas, for example, helps prevent fluid retention by ensuring good hydration and greater urine production, eliminating toxins from the body.


In addition, for those who want to lose weight, just performing lymphatic drainage is not enough. Practicing physical exercises helps to speed up this process of eliminating toxins and fat, as well as improving the circulatory system.

After lymphatic drainage, even 30-minute walks a day already help to potentiate the effects of the procedure.


Lymphatic drainage, despite being a very safe procedure, has some contraindications. It should not be done under the following conditions:

  • Acute infections;
  • Phlebitis (inflammation of the vein wall);
  • Thrombophlebitis (superficial venous thrombosis);
  • Patients being treated for some type of cancer;
  • Cardiac insufficiency;
  • Arterial hypotension;
  • Untreated hyperthyroidism;
  • Severe bronchial asthma;
  • Fever;
  • Renal insufficiency.

Price: how much does a lymphatic drainage session cost?

The price of a lymphatic drainage session can vary a lot according to the clinic, the location and the professional. On average, each session costs around R $ 40 to R $ 100, which can be even more expensive.

Lymphatic drainage is massage?

Lymphatic drainage is one of several types of massage that exist. Each technique is done with a specific objective, the drainage being the elimination of lymphatic fluids from the body.

It is not always called a massage, as the main objective of the procedure is not to bring relaxation – although it is also one of the additional benefits.

Common questions

Does lymphatic drainage treat stretch marks?

Unfortunately, no . Lymphatic drainage has an effect on the lymphatic system and is therefore not indicated for the treatment of stretch marks , which are marks caused by the rupture of the elastic fibers of the skin.

It is important to talk to a dermatologist to find out what is the best aesthetic procedure to do. Some possible options include chemical peels and laser treatments, which act on the deepest layers of the skin and help to soften these marks.

Read more: Stretch marks: what causes, how to avoid and treatments

Does drainage help reduce swelling after childbirth?

YEAH ! Lymphatic drainage is an aesthetic treatment that can accompany women before, during and after pregnancy, always with the knowledge of the doctor and the choice of duly qualified professionals.

After delivery, it is necessary to confirm with the obstetrician doctor how long to wait to perform the procedure . In women who have had a cesarean section, it is necessary to wait for the surgery to heal completely.

It may be recommended that women who have had a cesarean section wait around three months to begin the lymphatic drainage sessions, so that the body is able to fully recover from childbirth.

Can I associate lymphatic drainage with other aesthetic procedures?

Yes , lymphatic drainage can be done in conjunction with other aesthetic treatments, such as aesthetic ultrasound, endermotherapy and Russian current, for example.

However, it is always important to consult a qualified specialist to confirm the possibility of doing other procedures at the same time and what the implications are.

What is the difference between lymphatic drainage and shaping massage?

Modeling massage and lymphatic drainage are performed with different goals and techniques. The modeling massage is performed with faster, more intense and repetitive movements on the skin, like modeling the treated region.

Therefore, it is more sought after by those who want to lose weight and have more pronounced body curves. Lymphatic drainage is done with smoother movements, with the main objective of eliminating lymph to reduce swelling.

Does lymphatic drainage hurt?

No . Lymphatic drainage should not cause pain, nor cause bruising and discomfort, as it is done with lighter and smoother movements, without putting too much pressure on the client’s skin.

It can be painful in special conditions, such as in the postoperative period of plastic surgery, as it is an inflammatory condition of the tissue itself and unrelated to the massage itself.

To help reduce swelling and fluid retention, lymphatic drainage is one of the most recommended procedures. In addition, it helps to relax and reduce cellulite, a great option for those who want to take a break from stress and still have several benefits.

If you have already done so, feel free to share the results obtained in our comment space. Thanks for reading!