Commentary to be attributed to integrated facialist, April Brodie
There is a lot to know about the age-old practice of lymphatic drainage, and certainly much more than what is portrayed in the media. Now heavily referenced in the world of beauty, true lymphatic drainage has been used for decades as a therapeutic method of removing excess fluid that has accumulated in the lymphatic system. Manual massage techniques as well as facial tools like gua shas and rollers are popularly touted for their lymphatic drainage benefits, though while these incorporate several facets of the lymphatic system and elements of draining, they are not quite true lymphatic drainage techniques. At least, not in the therapeutic sense. So what is the difference?
The Lymphatic System
The body’s lymphatic system acts as a waste removal system, eliminating toxins and unwanted bi-products accumulated through diet and daily functioning. Unlike the cardiovascular system, in which our heart pushes blood through veins and arteries, the lymphatic system does not have its own pump. Instead, it relies on muscular movements and water, flushing everything along tiny lymphatic vessels where the fluid is collected by lymphatic ducts. There are hundreds of lymph nodes scattered throughout the body, with the most well-known ones situated behind the earlobes and knees, the underarms, groin, neck, and temples. There are lymph nodes and lymphatic vessels throughout the face too, which is why lymphatic drainage in this area can be beneficial for reducing fluid retention, improving tone and clarity, and enhancing cell function.
The Vodder Method
Before it became a beauty trend, lymphatic drainage was (and still is) an extremely important therapeutic treatment. Fluid retention can occur throughout the body for many reasons, most prominently due to poor health and lack of exercise, and also as a result of injury, inflammation, or surgery. In fact, when fluid retention is significant, it is classified as lymphedema, a common condition and a risk associated with surgery. It can be a painful and debilitating condition, which is treated with MLD – Manual Lymphatic Drainage. There is really only one technique used for MLD, and that is the Vodder method.
April’s 40 year career and specialist training around the world has not only included techniques in all kinds of facial massage, tools like gua sha, and various traditional methods, but also in the Vodder method of lymphatic drainage. “When I first learnt lymphatic drainage in the late 1980s, nobody had any idea what it was,” says April. “There was no social media, I couldn’t Google it – people just didn’t really understand the benefits. Fast forward to today, and I can’t turn my social media or computer on without being inundated with various ‘lymphatic drainage’ methods and tools. But there are huge misconceptions. The Vodder method (or French method as I have seen it called) is the only medically-approved method (at least in the Western world) used by healthcare professionals. It was devised by Dr Vodder, who was originally from Copenhagen, before moving to the French Riviera where he and his wife set up a clinic to research and perform lymphatic drainage. He developed this in the 1930s and it is still used and taught today.”
Gua Sha & Facial Tools
So where do beauty tools like rollers and Gua Shas fit in? “Gua Sha is not proper lymphatic drainage!” says April. “A correct Gua Sha technique targets the tissue and muscle, which can have an impact on lymph, but it isn’t directly treating the lymphatic vessels. The lymph sits very shallow – approx an A4 sheet of paper depth. Also, the largest lymphatic vessel in the entire body is 2mm thick. They are miniscule. So as you can imagine, the technique should be very soft and gentle – unlike Gua Sha and rollers. Vodder movements mostly involve extremely gentle pressing of just one or two fingers at a time, rocking these in certain directions or rolling in semi-circular motions. It’s also extremely slow – to do an entire body can take several hours. It’s also worth mentioning that when we use beauty tools, we are taught to follow the pathways on the face and body which drain directly towards the nearest lymph nodes, just as the Vodder method does. So certain massage moves and tools can provide some lymph movement, but again, none are true lymphatic drainage.”
Like her name ‘Integrated Facialist’ suggests, April uses an integrative and holistic approach that combines methods from East to West. Her signature treatments incorporate techniques from both traditional rituals and modern training, with a great many techniques she has learned internationally from world-renowned educators. With decades of molding and perfecting these methods, April has not only become an authority on facial massage in her own right, but has been able to craft life-changing facial experiences that address the skin, muscle, fascia, lymph, and circulation – all while rejuvenating the body and mind.
About April Brodie
April is one of Australia’s most respected integrated facialists, with expertise spanning across luxury spa experiences and evidence-based clinical treatments. As the beauty industry has evolved over the years, April has taken her craft to new heights by pioneering her exclusive brand of luxury facial sculpting massage techniques based on the arts of Gua Sha combined with buccal/intra-oral facial massage to provide a natural botox effect.
With over 40 years experience in the beauty and wellness industry and a key opinion leader in her own right, April is a true master of her craft. Always striving to deliver the most innovative and tailored experiences. April is the only non surgical partner of Rationale, and is also the sole practitioner in Australia offering the highly sought after Bee Venom Facial. Which acquired a cult following internationally due to its celebrity and royal clientele and incredible ability to sculpt the face and leave skin looking refreshed, glowing and younger than ever.
As April’s signature Bee Venom and Buccal Fusion techniques gain more notoriety, move quickly as she is offering private treatments at both her Melbourne and Sydney location and space is limited. Bookings can be secured by visiting www.aprilbrodie.com