Story by Molly Gay
Desperate to restore our somewhat diminished energy, we visited North Bondi-based clinic To Wonderland Wellness Spa to try out their signature massages. Francesca, the lead specialist for their French aromatherapy lymphatic drainage massage, sat down with us to explain how these massages differ from other deep-tissue treatments.
“The lymphatic system is a pump-less, one way, full body fluid transportation network system consisting of lymphatic vessels, the lymph nodes, glands, and organs – including the tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus glands,” Francesca begins. “The lymphatic system is part of the immune system, and helps defend against bacteria, viruses, and other invaders. It also aids in nutrient transportation and absorption of fat and fat soluble nutrients in the digestive system.” So basically, it’s pretty important.
“Most people can benefit from this treatment,” shares Francesca. “It’s one of the best bodywork treatments to support anyone undertaking a cleanse, fast, detoxification or weight loss program.” Lymphatic massage also works wonders for helping heal illnesses: “It’s highly recommended for post-operative conditions, particularly breast cancer and more advanced lymphedema. Likewise for pretty much anyone who has a sluggish immune system or an ongoing illness – which can be anything from a cold, to more serious infections like the flu, tonsillitis, sinusitis, and yeast infections,” she explains.
The main differences between a lymphatic massage and other deep-tissue massages are the pressure, and which systems are being addressed. “We focus predominately on the lymphatic system – with a much lighter touch than most massage modalities,” tells Francesca. “The central nervous system is being addressed during the treatment – which we work gently to calm and soothe, so intensity and pressure are not necessary. Other modalities, such as deep tissue or remedial massage, focus more on the muscular tissue, which need firmer pressure and completely different sequences to access the deeper layers required.”
Unlike most full body treatments, a lymphatic massage can be done on the face as well. “The lymphatic facial component is very effective for ear, nose, throat, and sinus issues,” says Francesca. “It has been shown to help with allergies, acne, scarring, and inflammatory skin conditions.” If it’s so effective, why isn’t it used more often? Well, it actually is – you just may not realise it. Most facialists will conduct a form of lymphatic drainage during a facial, which is what leaves your face looking tighter and toned post-treatment. “I see amazing results for skin rejuvenation, thanks to the increase in circulation and cellular regeneration. It is incredible for collagen production and improvement in skin tone and texture,” she shares.
Unlike other lymphatic massages, To Wonderland Wellness Clinic use custom-blended essential oils to achieve the client’s desired treatment outcome. “With aromatherapy, different parts of the plant are used for specific medicinal health benefits,” says Francesca. “They work on a biochemical level within the body, but also through the olfactory pathways, which has an effect on the limbic pathway and the ancient part of our brain that is associated with emotions and subconscious functionality – particularly memory. With aromatherapy, you are able to work on a deeper level, by treating the root of an issue not just the symptoms. At To Wonderland Wellness Spa, we utilise pre-blended AO spa formations to work on a physical, emotional, and energetic/spiritual level.”
After an hour and a half later of face and body massage, even the most appalling rush hour traffic couldn’t break my zen. Never wanting to let this feeling go, Francesca recommended a few ways to stretch out the post-massage euphoria as long as possible. “Between sessions, you can prolong the benefits by using your treatment oil blend daily (talk to your therapist about where and how to apply), dry brushing your body (which continues to stimulate the lymphatic system), and utilising deep breathing techniques – often associated with exercise and yoga, which supports the movement and stimulation of the lymphatic system,” Francesca advises.
Story by Molly Gay