We are still on that cusp of cold weather, although we can sense spring is near! Many of us are still experiencing dry skin due to the colder and drier air. There are many things you can do to combat dry skin but let’s focus on how helping our lymphatic system can help get things flowing! What is the lymphatic system and what does it do for your skin, you may be wondering?
What is the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is an intricate network of tissue and organs made up of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph that assist your immune system and act as your body's drainage system. This system is located just below your skin and is often forgotten, working in the background to ensure the body is able to properly cleanse, detoxify and maintain fluid levels . The primary function of this system is to transport a watery fluid called ‘lymph” containing white blood cells throughout the body. These white blood cells are key to fighting infection and aid the body to expel toxins, waste and other unwanted materials.
How to Care for the Lymphatic System
As the lymphatic assists with the expelling of toxins, if it is not functioning properly, your skin may suffer from acne, loss of elasticity, premature aging and overall, have a flakey texture. And unlike your cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a ‘pump’ (a.k.a the heart); it relies on you to get it going, but stimulating it is easier than you think! Exercise is the number one way to do this, as regular muscle contraction stimulates the movement of our lymphatic fluid. Lymphatic massage is also a good option, as it offers techniques that contribute to healthy lymphatic drainage. However, the easiest way (which is also probably the cheapest and least time consuming way) is to dry brush!
The Why and How of Dry Brushing
It’s an ancient practice of self-care, that you should incorporate into your daily skin-care routine, and done ideally before your daily shower (that way you wash off all the dead skin cells you have loosened). And although, you may have heard of ‘dry-brushing’ but may not know how to even start. Well, to begin, you need a good dry brush; one that is high quality and has natural bristles. The bristles should feel stiff to touch but not hard. You would be wise to look for a brush with a long handle so that you can reach your back and other hard to reach places.
You want to begin with your feet, including the soles of your feet, and move the brush in small circular motions, moving toward the heart. Brushing this way is best for circulation and your lymphatic system. Do include legs, arms, chest back and stomach. However, it is best to avoid sensitive areas, unless you have a brush for delicate skin.
What kind of pressure do you apply? It should be firm but should not cause you any pain - you are not scrubbing. Your skin will be pinkish when done - but if your skin is red and raw / irritated, you were applying way too much pressure - lighten up! How long should you spend doing this chore? Anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes will do!
When your lymphatic system is functioning well, you should notice clearer skin. It simply is amazing how connected the body and all of its systems are; honestly, for optimal health it really is important to understand how everything is connected!
Plus, after your dry brushing session, you skin will be exfoliated, you will have clearer pores and maybe even a reduction in cellulite!
You can even increase Lymphatic Drainage with this additional step! Drinking a Red Clover and Lemon Tea concoction upon arising in the morning will provide a helpful boost to the daily function of your lymphatic system.
Try this recipe:
1 tea bag of red clover tea
1 organic lemon- juiced
4-5 organic lemon rinds
3-5 ginger pieces
1 teaspoon of raw honey
Steep the red clover tea in a pot or tea kettle. Once steeped add the juice of 1 organic lemon, lemon rinds, ginger. Optional: 1 teaspoon of raw honey.