by Catherine Spinley


There's a massage for that: Lymphatic drainage 101


part 1

It’s a bit telling my favorite poem growing up was Shel Silverstein’s “Sick.”


“I cannot go to school today,”

Said little Peggy Ann McKay.


At one point in my miseducation, I could recite the poem from memory because it was ingrained in my 8 year-old ethos. A few years later I would break it to my family I had Lou Gehrig’s Disease after watching his biography on A&E and a particularly warm summer afternoon that left me feeling a bit wilted and lethargic. I’ve had “mono” a time or two and I thought I was paralyzed for a brief 10 seconds back in the 6th grade after aggressively trying to pull off a back flip (turns out I just knocked the wind out of myself).

As I’ve aged (I sound like a brick of Brie), I’ve mastered the art of Googling remedies for the minor ailments or annoyances I face from time to time. Listen, I’m never going to steam my hoo-ha or sign up for Leech Therapy but I am going to poke and prod at my body until I feel as good as Oprah after she’s given away a dealership of cars to unsuspecting audience members.

Image: @studioagency via Pinterest

Image: @studioagency via Pinterest


Lymphatic Drainage 101 (Eeeeeew.) is Part I of The Sunday Issue’s in-depth series exploring at-home taps and tugs (mind out of the gutter, pervs) we’ve tested that help relieve the aches, pains and injustices that come with living life to the fullest.*


*FULL DISCLOSURE: These are tips from a writer with a very meager 401K and no long-lost wealthy relatives waiting to rescue me from a life of monthly Excel budgets. What I write shouldn’t replace a doctor’s opinion or diagnosis. I’ve seen a doctor for all of the issues I have (and even the ones I don’t) and confirmed it’s safe to treat myself with these simple regimens.  Make sure you see your health care professional, as well. Science is not to be ignored (ahem).


Some days I wake up and my face *LITERALLY* resembles a water balloon. It doesn’t surprise or frighten me anymore because my face has been puffy since the Seventies. I look perpetually sleepy, hungover or fresh off a long bout of tears. I’ve tried cucumber slices, chilled spoons, eye masks and creams galore and nothing works as well as a quick session with my jade roller (or a rose quartz roller). There are so many benefits that come from rolling your face but I will focus on the cosmetic ones: a reduction of facial swelling and puffiness (i.e. a good lymphatic drain), decreased appearance of fine lines, increased circulation can help product penetrate into the skin better. Here’s the massage:


First, decide if you want a Jade or a Rose Quartz face roller (Solaris Laboratories is a great place to start looking for one. Both stone rollers increase circulation, improve the tone of skin and help eliminate toxins while reducing inflammation. And while most don’t notice an outward difference in their skin when switching between a jade or rose quartz face roller, each stone carries with it it’s own unique properties.

Jade is known to relax the nervous system, promote an overall healing energy and internally bring balance and harmony. Rose Quartz is known to help in the healing emotions of the heart like anger, pain from lost love and resentment. It also helps decrease stressful feelings while increasing self-esteem.

After you’ve picked your roller, ensure it’s clean before you begin. Applying your favorite serum before rolling is optional but if you’re making this a part of your morning or evening routine, why not? Pro Tip: cleanse face, apply sheet mask and then follow the rolling ritual below!

Jade Roller.jpg


Begin on at the right temple and roll upwards towards the hairline. Do not roll back down. Pick up the roller, place at the right temple and repeat the upwards roll. UPWARDS, I SAID. Never, ever roll downwards. Gravity is evil, haven’t you learned that yet? UPWARDS. Repeat this rolling thing on the left temple and forehead.


Place the roller under the lower right cheekbone - where the contour would end if you contoured. Roll upwards towards your ear. Repeat a handful of times and then move to the left cheekbone.


Place roller under the chin and roll along the jawline outwards towards the earlobe and repeat on the other side.


It’s time to de-puff the eye area but, for real, be gentle. If your roller has two ends, use the smaller stone for the eye area - the skin here is thin and delicate. Place the roller in the inner corner of the eye and roll upwards towards the temple. Repeat this for a minute and then do the same on the other eye.

The entire lymphatic massage takes less than 5 minutes. You should aim to do the rolling daily (at night or in the morning) and, I promise, you will notice your skin will have a healthy flush from the increased circulation while feeling cool to the touch from the stone. Noticeable puffiness will decrease, especially after repeated use.

Be sure to catch The Sunday Issues’ next installment of at-home taps and tugs when we take on The Battle of the Bloat. Stomach bloating is a real issue and it’s time we talked about it.

Until then, keep rollin’


Catherine Spinley is a sometimes-writer and photographer based in New York. When not stalking other people’s dogs or yelling at people who refuse to walk up the left side of the escalator, she works in the beauty industry and practices yoga. You can read more from her at