We all know an important function of the heart is to pump blood around our body to our various organs, but did you know there is similar but much less well-known system that is just as, if not more important for optimal health?
The body’s lymphatic system!
According to Dr. John Douillard: “The lymph travels with the nerves, arteries and veins and is by itself twice as big as the arterial blood supply system – and maybe twice as important. The lymphatic system removes waste from every cell in your body while regulating the immune system.”
The lymphatic system plays a role in so many of the body’s functions but its rarely discussed in Western medical practices until there is related diagnosis. However, the lymph is the very first system that is addressed in Ayurveda. (1)
Common Symptoms of Lymphatic Congestion (1):
- Sore joints and/or stiffness in the morning
- Swelling in fingers- rings may become tighter than normal
- Bloating and water retention
- Dry itchy skin
- Weight gain
- Swollen glands
- Poor immunity
- Brain fog
- Breast swelling or soreness
- Mild rash or acne
- Hypersensitivity and heightened reactions to food or environmental triggers
- Mild headaches
- Occasional digestive complaints like constipation, diarrhea or mucus in the stool.
Dr. Mercola says: “When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease.”
When we begin to understand the importance of proper lymph flow, we may want to know what we can do to decongest and maintain our lymphatic system on a daily basis. One of the easiest and most affordable ways to do this is with dry skin brushing.
In Ayurveda, dry skin brushing is called Garshana. Raw silk gloves are used to exfoliate and stimulate the skin. With vigorous brushing, the silk gloves also create static electricity, which is known to alkalize the blood and help get the lymph flowing. (2)
This technique can be done with a natural dry bristle brush or with the aforementioned traditional raw silk gloves.
Benefits of Dry Brushing
Take 5 minutes each day before you shower to dry brush your skin with a natural bristle brush, which can be found online or at local health food stores. My favourite is the Energy Brush from Living Libations because it has some copper bristles in addition the natural fibers. This makes more stimulating for the lymph but also makes the bristles maintain their strength longer over time.
Not only does it improve the appearance of your skin by eliminating dead cells and helping new skin to regenerate, it also stimulates circulation of the lymphatic system, and greatly enhances toxin elimination. (3)
In addition, the massaging effect of the bristles is said to be to be helpful for eliminating cellulite and other imperfections (3) because it is increasing the circulation to that area which carries away toxins stored in the fat cells.
In just 5 minutes a day, your skin will feel invigorated, energized, silky and smooth! Personally, it is something that resisted for a while before getting into a regular habit but over the years, I have come to LOVE dry brushing! My self-care ritual is incomplete without it. I actually miss it when I skip it and my skin doesn’t feel as soft and supple.
In this video, I explain the benefits of dry brushing and how to do it:
Happy Brushing Folks!