A bevy of before and after photos of celebrities flaunting their contoured torsos and legs are floating around. Our affinity for all things beauty and wellness led us to trace the photos back to the source: Camila Perez, the licensed therapist de-bloating everyone from Kim Kardashian to Bella Hadid via High Definition Massage, an exclusive massage that combines lymphatic drainage and deep strokes, for body and face. Here Perez pulls the curtain back on the jaw-dropping, noninvasive procedure including how she got her start doing Brazilian slimming massages, what they entail, the ideal candidate and more.
Tell us how you started doing Massage High Definition (MHD).
I'm an aesthetician and massage therapist from Brazil. There, aestheticians are trained for body and face treatments including massages and Lymphatic Drainage. From the day I got to know Lymphatic Drainage, I fell in love! Since then I've focused my studies on all kinds of techniques and applications of Lymphatic Drainage. Coming to the US, I got my certification for Massage Therapy and Lymphatic Drainage.
As a mom of three, I've always been trying to manage my time between them and my career. Once I moved to the US seven years ago for my husband's work, they were grown up so I had more time to invest in my education and went back to school. I was almost 40 and I didn't expect to start a business, I was mainly thinking about doing some massages for my Brazilian friends that missed getting them. But life has its own way of working things out. Now I have a team, and they do house calls all over the Miami area. I'm in a spa in Coral Gables, Florida, and I also do some pop-ups in LA and NY once a month.
What exactly is MHD and how does it work?
So, MHD is a signature Massage that combines Lymphatic Drainage, contouring (a combination of deeper strokes to releases the tissue, increase the metabolism and promote a contouring effect) and relaxation. According to the client's necessity, we design the perfect combination— a model before a photoshoot and a client with an autoimmune condition, for example, have completely different necessities. The combination is focused on treatment globally: health, beauty, and relaxation.
Is MHD the same as Lymphatic Drainage?
Lymphatic Drainage is a technique focused on the stimulation of the Lymph System. The strokes are superficial and gentle, and it targets the elimination of toxins and excessive fluids. The main idea is homeostasis, body balance, and detoxification.
What are the wellness/health benefits of MHD other than its slimming effects?
Our bodies are originally designed for a completely different world with different habits. Eating solely from trees, and being active is not necessarily part of our routine anymore. Stress, unbalanced hormones, diet, pollution, sedentariness, and illnesses, are responsible for stagnation. Imagine the Lymph System as a home's sewer—when the pipes and drains are overwhelmed, it gets congested, it's basically the same thing with the body. So Lymphatic Drainage Massage will help the body process all the waste from cellular metabolism and water retention more effectively. This results in reducing inflammation and promoting a healthier tissue. The Lymph System also plays a role in the production of defense cells which ultimately means it provides Immune support. Lastly, and most importantly, your digestive system will thank you!
Exactly how does MHD decrease bloating?
In most cases, we see immediate results due to the fact that the strokes given “clean” the Lymph Nodes. This ties into what I previously mentioned about the body being compared to a home sewer. The Lymph Nodes being referred to as the drain and makes the "water" flow inside the vessels (pipes). I find that this reaction from the body is beautiful because it is natural and instant.
From your experience, what are the possible causes of bloated abdominal/legs/arms?
In my clinical experience, the number one cause is diet. These could be bad eating habits, food allergies or intolerances. Stress is also another cause (who can relate?). In some cases, the diet may not be the cause but could come from circulatory issues, autoimmune conditions, and thyroid disease.
How long do the results of a MHD body massage last?
It depends on two variables: what is causing the swelling or bloating and what you eat/drink. In most of the cases, the visual results last up to three to four days, but it is always important to think about the detoxification and the reset that the session addresses the body.
Are there any side effects like soreness?
Soreness may occur because of tissue manipulation, but it's rare. Generally, there are no side effects especially if you keep your body hydrated.
Who are the ideal candidates for MHD?
Lymphatic Drainage (itself) is beneficial after surgeries, during and post-pregnancy, for individuals with health conditions where digestion and circulation are compromised, for healthy and active people looking for balance and beauty. It’s especially beneficial for those who seek for aesthetic benefits, the MHD combination is perfect.
Scientifically, why is it important to maintain the health of the lymphatic system?
The human body is made of around 1.300.000.000 cells and two major fluids— blood and Lymph. The blood is responsible for nurturing the cells, and the Lymph is responsible for processing and eliminating the wastes from the cells. Stagnation can compromise this whole process, causing lots of problems. A balanced Lymphatic System is key for homeostasis.
Can pregnant women get the treatment?
Lymphatic Drainage is amazing during pregnancy. I prefer to start the treatments after the first trimester, always focusing on the legs, arms, and face to prevent swelling and to bring relaxation. I never touch the stomach area.
On average, how much does one MHD session cost for body?
The average price for MHD is 350.00
You also give MHD facials—what effects do these have on the skin?
MHD facial brings circulation, oxygenates the skin, reduce puffiness and accentuate the contour. It's also super relaxing!
You have incredible skin yourself. What does your skincare routine consist of?
Thank you!! I love chemical exfoliation, so lotions with acids are a must. I'm currently using Biologique Recherche Lotion P50! It really changed my skin. Vitamin C keeps my freckles under control, and my favorite is Isdin Flavo C Ultraglican Anti-Aging Serum. Also, sunscreen is really important (since I live in Florida), and I love using the Supergoop Superscreen Daily Moisturizer SPF 40.
How did your business strategy lend to the celebrity client roster you have today?
I didn't expect that to ever happen! Luckily, I always had a wonderful clientele and the word of mouth is amazing. Of course, showing my work on Instagram was very important. Generous people and their great referrals were a blessing.
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the service industry on attracting high-profile clients?
I think the first thing to do is invest in knowledge. Study as much as you can! That makes all the difference. Also, social media is your best advertisement. A person that I didn't even know once referred me to a big model and that changed my career. Show your work, people will come to you and your knowledge will keep them with you.
I've been using these two body oils since my pregnancy. The Tonic has ingredients for skin tightening, while Anti Eau is all about Lymphatic Drainage—my favorite. For the Anti Eau, you can apply it to damp skin with gentle pressure, always towards the heart. It's a simple way to stimulate your Lymphatic System.
What are some other favorite body products or tools you recommend?
I'm in love with OUAI Scalp & Body Scrub. I'm also crazy about body oils since my skin is super dry. I love The Tonic and Anti Eau from Clarins. Also, Palmers has a very hydrating one. When I have time, I apply them and do my own Lymphatic stimulation with a wood paddle.