The lymphatic system is the body’s secondary circulatory system, and it needs to keep moving for optimal health. The lympathic system supports both the cardiovascular and immune system and helps to maintain fluid homeostasis in the body. Pretty damn important. We’ve got precious lymph nodes throughout our body with the largest groupings in our armpits, neck and groin areas, and they all deserve some love!
Dry brushing has been practiced for centuries around the world by many different cultures for its health benefits. Brushing the skin and following with our body oil is a simple and beneficial self-care practice you might consider adopting.
1. The Brush
There are many dry brushes to choose from. We like plastic-free ones made from compostable materials with non synthetic vegan bristles that are not too stiff. Whoo! It can also be nice to have a brush with a longer handle to get the hard to reach areas like the back. We love this one from our friend Jessie at Tiny Yellow Bungalow!
2. How To
Dry brushing can be very invigorating! We find it best to do it in the morning or mid-day. Doing it at night can kind of "wake us up" before sleep. It takes anywhere from 3-5 minutes to dry brush our whole body.
How we dry brush is very important. Our lymph flows and drains toward our heart, so we want to always brush towards it. You can start at the feet or hands and brush with gentle but firm strokes towards your heart. Remember that harsh exfoliation is not necessary when brushing and can actually damage the skin.
We have this beautiful, slightly acidic (pH 4.5 - 5) protective barrier on the surface of our skin. It's made up of sweat (water), sebum (oil), dead skin cells and microorganisms (microbiota of the skin). This is our first line of defense against any toxins or pathogens we are exposed to. While gentle exfoliation is important, overdoing it strips the skin of its protective barrier, leaving us vulnerable and unprotected.
We like to dry brush (standing in the tub to catch the dead skin cells), then bathe and follow up with our body oil. You do you, but keep that brush dry! Listen to your skin, if it's sensitive in some areas (avoid genitals) and dry brushing feels aggravating, then simply apply the Love Ur Lymph body oil after bathing. You'll still be getting tons of lymph lovin' benefits. We don't avoid our armpits though - the nodes in there need some gentle lovin' too!
3. Body Oil
Our 'Love Ur Lymph' body oil is perfectly formulated for lymphatic circulation, detox, and has skin nourishing, moisturizing and protecting benefits to boot! Dry brushing may increase the rate at which we lose water through the skin, making the skin more susceptible to dryness - it's important to moisturize after. Applying body oil also feeds our skin's protective barrier with essential fatty acids (like linoleic acid) which are paramount for proper skin health and hydration. We talked about some other ways we can support the lymphatic system here.
4. Benefits of Dry Brushing
- Does wonders for smoother and softer skin. Not only does it gently exfoliate, get rid of some dead skin cells, reduce ingrown hairs, and promote cell renewal, it can also help to reduce the appearance of cellulite.
- Opens up the pores - allowing the skin to breath and leaving it ready to receive all of the benefits from our Love Ur Lymph body oil.
- Stimulates digestion and can improve kidney function
- Stimulates lymphatic circulation, drainage and detox, which helps the body eliminate toxins and waste
- Boosts the immune system
- Invigorates, due to its stimulation of the nervous system, cultivating energy and rejuvenation
- Alleviates muscle tension and stress - it's meditative and can help calm and refresh the mind
Now get the funk out and start brushin'!