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For this week’s body-care conversation, Glossy sat down with Marianne Fonseca (616,000 Instagram followers), the Brazilian model, lymphatic drainage expert and founder of body care brand Gente Beauty, which launched in September 2022. Gente Beauty pays homage to Fonseca’s Brazilian roots by incorporating ingredients native to Brazil in its products. Since its inception, Gente Beauty has become a favorite among celebs and influencers, including Hailey Beiber. Through Gente Beauty’s lymphatic products and her own social platforms, Fonseca is bringing awareness about the beauty of Brazilian culture and how it makes everyone, in every body, feel their best.
Fonseca said she learned early on how to love and accept her body exactly how it is. In her culture, bodies of all shapes and sizes were celebrated through dance, beauty and body care. One practice she distinctly remembers was lymphatic drainage massages. Lymphatic drainage massages have grown in popularity as of late with celebrities like Tracee Ellis Ross praising the treatment for the youthful glow it gives them.
While the technique may be new to some, it has been around for hundreds of years. The reported health benefits include an increase of proper blood circulation, body fluid balance and maintenance of immune functions. What’s more, it can help reduce swelling, bloating and inflammation in areas of the body that retain the most water and excess fluid.
Lympathic massages can be performed with a variety of tools, but it is most commonly done with either the hands or wooden tools. The massage is a quite simple technique. It requires firmly massaging parts of your body in an upward motion near the lymph nodes so that the excess fluid can be pushed back toward the heart and properly dissolve.
“I’m actually very grateful I was introduced to it [lymphatic massages] at a very young age because, as I got into modeling, it was something that always helped me,” said Fonseca. “I always felt a lot different when I did it. My body responded better to my diets and workouts. It was like an extra complement that I always just included in my body care routine,” she added.
Now that Fonesca lives in the U.S., she often prefers to do her own, at-home massages as they’re more affordable and more convenient for her schedule. However, she does recommend that anyone interested in exploring lymphatic drainage start with a professional first and only use at-home massages as maintenance. Fonseca says an at-home lymphatic drainage treatment shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.
For Glossy, Fonesca broke down how to self-perform a proper lymphatic drainage massage on your body.
To begin, “dry your body normally and apply the Gente body lotion — the components and the ingredients help wake up your lymphatic system,” said Fonesca. The next step is to manually wake up your lymph nodes by lightly tapping on a few target areas. “Start with the left leg, and pump your lymph nodes on the areas where the lymph nodes are: under the knee, in the groin area and on the belly just above your belly button. Just do a little pump and start massaging one leg and go to the other leg. Then you go up to the stomach, and you can do the arms if you have time,” Fonesca said.
She explained, “You should start with your left side — specifically the left leg, because that’s where the bigger lymph nodes are. Those are the ones that are draining more water, and it’s the side where the heart is. The lymphatic system works together with our heart. The heart helps the blood to be pumped throughout the body — and the lymph nodes also help, but they aren’t as effective as the heart. That’s why it’s important to do manual massages — to help the water that’s going down the leg to come back up. The heart’s doing that for the blood, but it’s not doing that for the water.”
According to Fonesca, the key to an effective massage is always to move in an upward motion. “Always bring the water up where the lymph nodes are. Then pump the lymph nodes every three or four times you are bringing water up,” she said. By bringing the water up and activating the lymph nodes, you are helping your body easily dissolve the water buildup.
Though Fonesca includes lymphatic drainage in her daily routine, she also swears by a few other beauty practices and products. “I start in the shower, and I do a good scrub using [The Ouai’s Body Cleanser Dean Street]. I also really like Clarins Body Wash. When you’re scrubbing, you’re cleaning the dead cells and your skin is getting smoother, and you’re also stimulating your lymphatic system. After I do my lymphatic drainage with The Lymphatic Drainage Effect and The Body Contour Tool, I like to also use Bye Bye Cellulite in my problem areas. … Then I top it off with Costa Brazil’s Kaya Jungle Firming Body Oil. Their body oil smells beautiful, and I know it’s going to last a long time. And, of course, there’s also the Bum Bum Body Firmeza Oil — it’s amazing.”
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