I admit…it’s not the sexiest of names…but I guess we’re not going for sexy here, anyways so LET ‘ER RIP!
“Drainage” is one of those words that makes me crinkle my nose and internally gag, along with “ooze” “moist” and “secrete” (I can’t believe I just wrote all of those disgusting words, ew). HOWEVER, this was nothing like the images that ‘drainage’ usually brings to mind. In fact, this ended up being one of the most relaxing wellness sessions I’ve experienced, thanks in part to Shapehouse’s amazing amenities and set-up. So, what exactly is a lymphatic drainage and why is important? Well, I was just about to get to that…
What Is The Lymphatic System and Why Does It Need To Be Drained?
After reading about the rise of lymphatic massages and drainage on blogs (The Skinny Confidential is a huge fan of them), wellness sites, and even in Vogue, my curiosity about the lymphatic system piqued. In the most condensed version that I could muster (trust me, I’m no scientist), the lymphatic system is a network of tissue and organs that transport fluid containing white blood cells (called lymph) throughout the body to help rid it of toxins, waste, and anything else that makes us sick. This network of vessels is connected to lymph nodes, which filter out all the bad stuff from the white blood cells and then re-circulates them. Nodes are located throughout the body, from your neck to your feet. SO. WHY DOES IT NEED TO BE DRAINED?!
Okay, stick with me here. The lymph system sounds similar to the circulatory system right? Right. However, the circulatory system has something veeerrryy useful that the lymphatic system doesn’t have – a pump. As we all know, the heart pumps blood throughout the system. The lymphatic system, however, depends on muscle and skeletal movements to get this toxin collecting, disease whooping fluid around to each node checkpoint. As we become more and more sedentary thanks to desk jobs, Uber, Netflix, etc., pools of lymph, toxins and ish just kind of sit there instead of being circulated from node to node (which would happen naturally if we exercised and stayed active all day, everyday). Not cute.
Lymphatic Drainage helps manually ‘unclog’ your lymphatic system and get things moving again through upwards pressure and massaging of node points. While this method has long been popular for patients who just underwent surgery and can’t really move, the general health and wellness industry has realized that lymphatic drainage, post-surgery or not, is great for the immune system, reducing water retention, aids in digestion, reduces appearance of cellulite, and is just really, really relaxing!
So…Spill the tea…How was it?
Okay, first of all, Shapehouse is a beautiful space in Flatiron (there’s also one uptown) that is dedicated to sweat, detox, and relaxation. After slipping into a cotton long-sleeve shirt and some workout pants (they also provide you with their own sweats if you’d like!) and grabbing some water, I stepped behind a curtain where someone helped me into a 5-piece space suit looking thing – two that went on my legs, two that went on my arms, and a wrap that went around my core. After setting the timer for 55 minutes, the suit started pumping and releasing pressure along my body, especially targeting where my nodes were, to jump-start the circulation of my lymphatic system. It pretty much felt like a giant blood pressure machine around my body. This could’ve been a super awkward situation if it wasn’t for the comfy, heated bed I was on and – HOLY CRAP, NETFLIX, HALLELUJAH! After an episode of Orange Is The New Black, some hydrating sips of water, and the constant urge to snuggle up and fall asleep, my 55 minutes was up and my suit was being taken off…and then I immediately had to pee for, like, hours. PEACE, TOXINS!
(Like I said, we weren’t going for sexy in this piece)
That, and the instant de-puffiness of my eyes (which had randomly blown up a day ago) were the most noticeable changes brought on by the drainage. While I won’t necessarily be able to see the other effects (i.e. a boosted immune system), I’d be interested to see whether I would become less sick throughout cold and flu season if I stuck to a lymphatic drainage regimen during those months. Shapehouse also recommends a lymphatic drainage session before one of their sweat sessions (which I’m also hoping to try soon) for optimal detox and results. Maaaay have to report back on that one-two later on.
Anyways, if you want to try one out for yourself, feel free to check out Shapehouse’s offers here!