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Lymphatic Drainage: What It Is + Where to Get It Locally

by Alexis Spoden
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Countless new wellness trends appear on the scene every week, and they can either be quite strange, totally worth it, or both. Lymphatic drainage is a wellness treatment that incorporates a rhythmic massage technique to increase the rate of lymph flow for detoxification of the body. We interviewed the owner of Hoboken Therapeutic Massage, Amanda Mancinelli, about the lymphatic system and the amazing benefits of lymphatic drainage. Learn more about lymphatic drainage massages and where to get them locally below. 

Lymphatic Drainage

About Amanda

Amanda Mancinelli is a certified holistic manual lymphatic drainage therapist and owner of Hoboken Therapeutic Massage. She graciously answered all of our questions about this trendy but timeless wellness treatment and gives her professional opinion on who are the best candidates for it. 

What is Lymph Fluid?

Lymph fluid is the clear liquid that flows through the lymphatic system, made up of lymph nodes, vessels, and lymphatic organs, and carries white blood cells throughout the body. Think of when someone gets a blister or sprains an ankle — the swelling is lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system has two primary functions. One is filtration or getting rid of toxins, and the other is immune support, or transporting white blood cells.

What is Lymphatic Drainage?

Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) is a gentle, rhythmic technique that dramatically increases lymphangiomotoricity, which in layman’s terms means the rate of lymph flow.

Unlike our circulatory system which has the heart to pump things along, our lymphatic system has no such pump. Lymph moves naturally only via muscle contractions and deep belly breathing. On average, lymph flows at a very slow rate of 10-12 beats per minute, but MLD increases that tenfold to 100-120 beats per minute. This increase is particularly useful and most noticeable when it comes to swelling and bruising in instances of injury or surgery.

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Where Does the Fluid go When it is Being “Drained?”

Ultimately, excess fluid leaves the body through the process of urination. The kidneys will be working overtime which is why it is critical to drink lots of water both before and after a session. Water is the transport mechanism for lymph. The more someone hydrates, the better their results will be. 

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What Are the Benefits?

The benefits are numerous. Lymphatic drainage reduces swelling and bruising after an injury, surgery, or cosmetic procedure, and reduces swelling due to lymphedema. It decreases excess water weight and water retention due to pregnancy. Many studies have shown great effectiveness in reducing the symptoms of several autoimmune diseases, including fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis. 

It also reduces symptoms associated with certain skin conditions such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and scleroderma, as well as helps prevent migraines, improves digestion, and minimizes stress. 

It gives customers a “Lymph Lift” by helping to decrease the appearance of under-eye bags, puffiness under the chin, and excess water weight around the belly, ankles, and other areas. It also gives the immune system a boost. It is a good idea to clear out the lymph nodes, which collect all of the toxins and cellular debris they have filtered so that they can do their job to produce immune cells that will help fight off infection. Especially during cold and flu season, it is a good idea to come in for a lymphatic tune-up so the immune system is running at peak performance. 

Who Are the Best Candidates for Lymphatic Drainage?

Basically, everyone can benefit from MLD, but as with anything, there are certain restrictions. People who have heart or kidney failure should not receive MLD, as well as those who suspect any blood clots, circulatory system dysfunctions or have an active infection or fever. When in doubt, always consult a physician. It’s also important to note that for those specifically with lymphedema, MLD is only one part of the therapy. MLD will decrease the swelling while medical-grade compression garments will maintain progress.

How Often Should People Have it Done?

It depends on a person’s goals. If someone simply wants an immune system tune-up, once a month should get the job done. It is important to keep diet and exercise in mind, too. A clean diet and regular exercise will keep your lymphatic system humming along nicely. 

If you recently had an operation and are experiencing a lot of swelling or bruising, the protocol should be every three to four days for a few weeks to keep the rate of drainage high and resolve the inflammation as fast as possible. 

When someone just has a little excess swelling, not due to any underlying condition, they can simply come in as needed. Some people experience swelling that doesn’t go down after a flight, for example, or some women feel excess swelling around their menstrual cycles.

Whatever a person’s needs are, medical or non-medical, lymphatic drainage is definitely a wellness treatment to try due to its array of benefits, and luckily for Hudson County residents, there are local spots that offer this treatment. 

Where to Get Lymphatic Drainage Done in Hudson County

Below are a few local spots where this treatment can be done.

Alivio Wellness | 302 7th Street, Hoboken

Alivio opened in summer 2021 in Hoboken and has been improving the community’s health, one treatment at a time. The word alivio translates to relief in Spanish, and clients will certainly feel relief after a treatment. Lymphatic drainage massage is offered as a stand-alone treatment or paired with any one of Alivio’s offerings. The treatment is 60 minutes and costs $200, and can be booked online.

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Chic Diva Spa | 1129 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, North Bergen

chic diva spa

Photo credit: @chicdivaspa

For Hudson County residents near North Bergen, Chic Diva Spa is a holistic center owned by two Honduran women who believe in providing a harmonious balance of body, mind, and soul. The team at Chic Diva Spa strives to provide the highest level of professionalism while offering a tranquil environment for all to enjoy. They perform manual lymphatic drainage massages, as well as offer a lymphatic drainage machine, which is worn by the client, and uses a computerized system to inflate and deflate the boots, arms, and abdomen tape. 

Equipose Physical Therapy | 2520 John F. Kennedy Boulevard, Suite C1, Jersey City

The team at Equipose Physical Therapy treats patients and educates them on how to best manage underlying conditions. Lymphatic drainage treatment is offered in concert with other physical therapy modalities. Equipose takes medical insurance, so your treatment may be covered. Please contact the office to learn more.

Meta Bodywork | 83 Wayne Street, Jersey City

Meta Bodywork was started as a mobile service in 2017 by Meghan Kenny, who is trained in multiple modalities of massage and pain management. The studio has a permanent home across from Jersey City Hall, and is staffed by Meghan and her team of massage professionals.

Natural Care Holistic Health Center  | 128 Baldwin Avenue, Jersey City

This clinic was founded in 2011 by a mother-daughter duo. Mariana Cuello, ND, is a board-certified naturopathic doctor and registered clinical massage therapist. Her daughter Tiffany Cuello, RN, is a registered nurse. Both women are dedicated to bringing holistic wellness to the community and are heavily influenced by Mariana’s upbringing in the Dominican Republic, where her parents used organically grown herbs and plants to prevent and treat illnesses. The lymphatic drainage massage treatment is 45 minutes long and costs $100.

NJ Acupuncture Center | Jersey City + Bayonne

What’s better than a lymph drainage massage? Acupuncture + a lymph drainage. Ani and her skilled team of acupuncturists and massage therapists will have you feeling your best in no time. There are two locations, which makes it ideal for any Hudson County resident, no matter where you’re located. Top it off with a hydrafacial or cryo treatment, and you’re going to be feeling your very best.

Salvation Wellness | 30 Provost Street, Jersey City

salvation wellness jersey city

This gem in Jersey City covers all of our self-care needs and you can bet they offer lymphatic drainage massages along with many more wellness treatments too. Salvation Wellness is located in downtown Jersey City, just a short walk from the Grove Street PATH station. Every massage at Salvation Wellness is tailored to meet each client’s specific goals + needs. Founder and owner, Ceallaigh Pender, has her own product line of essential oils, body creams, and CBD salves and oils which can be added to any service for some extra benefits and relaxation.

Zening Wholistic | 1 Newark Street, Suite 23 A, 3rd floor, Hoboken

Zening Wholistic specializes in medical, prenatal, and standard massage therapy, and also offers counseling on nutrition and supplements. Zening Wholistic offers mobile in-home, in-office, and special events services.


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