Tracee Ellis Ross Hilariously Massaging Her Belly In the Name of Lymphatic Drainage Is the Content the World Needs RN

In a recent Instagram video, the actress drums on her abdomen in a fast-paced motion as she laughs uncontrollably (and you likely will, too).

Photo: Getty Images

Tracee Ellis Ross is, without question, one of the funniest people on the planet. So, when she pops up on the 'gram, you know it's gonna be good — and her latest post is no exception.

On Wednesday, Ellis Ross shared a Reel on Instagram, in which she's hanging out in her closet, wearing just a bra, and laughing uncontrollably as she "massage[s] the belly."

"I was told to massage the belly," the Black-ish star says to the camera as she bursts into laughter and drums her fingers on her abdomen. "I think that's too much, but I'm going to do it anyway." Continuing to tap her tummy in a fast-paced motion, Ellis Ross goes on to breathlessly explain in between giggles (and silly percussive noises) that she's "gotta massage it" for "lymphatic drainage."

"Moisturize and massage," she adds, before lamenting about her midsection — which looks downright flawless, for the record — and trying not to flash "lower titty" to her 10.7 million followers.

Delighted? Likely. Confused? I'll explain. Ellis Ross seemingly hints at the fact that she's trying to tone her lower ab muscles through lymphatic drainage, a buzzy massage technique that aims to move fluids throughout your body via light, quick, gentle strokes. The goals? To reduce swelling as well as bolster your immune system.

ICYDK, the lymphatic system is a "network of tissues, vessels, and organs that work together to move a colorless, watery fluid called lymph through the body," as Mysti Cobb, a massage therapist specializing in lymphatic drainage massage at BIÂN Chicago, previously told Shape. It's an important part of the immune system located almost directly beneath the skin, producing and releasing lymphocytes (aka white blood cells) that protect your body from foreign invaders or pathogens. It also helps to clear waste products and toxins according to the Cleveland Clinic, thereby keeping your overall health in tip-top shape. (Read more: How to Mimic a Lymphatic Drainage Massage At Home)

The actress previously told The Wall Street Journal Magazine that she likes to "wake up" her lymphatic drainage by way of dry brushing, especially if she's "really tired." (Apparently, Ellis Ross doesn't drink caffeine and "can't do stimulates of any kind," so she mimics a lymphatic drainage massage at home when she needs an energy boost.)

As for her most recently silly self-massage, though, there's not too much of a health benefit to speedily drumming your fingers on your belly — something that Ellis Ross seems to admit in her equally comical caption. "'I was told to massage the belly,'" she wrote. "Ummm, by WHO??! Girl, stop. Ain't nobody told you that 😂 also why am I out of breath."

Here's the deal: "It's recommended to get a licensed massage therapist with lymphatic drainage training to really get the job done," Cobb previously told Shape. A specialist will know the exact techniques to employ — deep pressure will bypass the lymph system entirely, ultimately missing the point altogether, noted Cobb, which is why strategic light touch is crucial here.

Still, there's no denying that a self-massage at home is a great way to relax, offering up a soothing form of self-care that can help relieve pain and tension when you're not able to visit your favorite spa. But if you're looking for the specific (supposed) immune system benefits and reduction in puffiness that a lymphatic massage can potentially offer, you're better off waiting until you can get the full monty from a massage therapist.

DIYing it won't hurt, per se, but "If you're in good health, exercise regularly, and have a strong immune system, your lymphatic system and/or lymphatic drainage isn't something you need to be overly concerned with," Giselle Wasfie, D.A.C.M, founder of Remix Acupuncture Integrative Health in Chicago, previously told Shape, That said, if you have been feeling sluggish, tired, and overall kinda "blah" lately, you can take tips from Ellis Ross and give dry brushing a go. An ancient technique, dry brushing is essentially an easy and more accessible way to reap some of the de-swelling rewards of a true lymphatic drainage massage. (

Want to try it yourself? Simply snag a dry brush — e.g. Dermstore Collection Dry Brush Exfoliator with Handle (Buy It, $12, — and you'll want to brush your dry, body starting on your feet in wide, circular, clockwise motions, opting for about five to 10 strokes per area. The entire routine (which as an added bonus can also exfoliate your skin) takes a few minutes total and should ideally be done before you shower, helping to flush out excess fluids and get your lymphatic system moving and grooving. There's no guarantee you'll have as much fun as Ellis Ross, but channeling her infectious spirit is always a great place to start. (Pssst… Lana Condor is a huge fan of lymphatic drainage as a form of self-care, too.)

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles