Dry Brushing & Lymphatic Ritual
& The Lymphatic System
What is the Lymphatic System?
The lymphatic system is responsible for collecting and eliminating the waste our cells produce. The most available lymphs we can feel are the nodes under our jaw, calls tonsils. However, there are many many more, trailing through our bodies like vines, each leaf a new node. They are the elegantly gowned garbage pick-up that course through the body, casually moving the larger portions of muck that are considered too big for the interstitial fluid (produced by red blood cells) to transport. The lymphatic system also generously transports lymph throughout the body - a fluid containing white blood cells, which staves off infections and keeps us healthy.
How to love your lymphatic system: Dry Brushing
One way to show your appreciation is through the practice of dry brushing. This is the simple act of using a natural dry bristle brush and working it over your entire body. The lymphs are quite close to the surface of the skin, so it's not necessary to apply much of pressure. The gentle movement stimulates the lymphs, and encourages healthy movement, as well as improves blood circulation and skin cell turnover.
How it's done
I love to dry brush first thing in the morning before a shower, or before getting dressed. It's an invigorating and easy way to wake up the entire body. Much like an abhyanga massage, you'll want to brush in circular movements towards the heart. As the temple of the blood stream and a sacred body center, the heart should be the primary focus of each stroke and sweep. Trade off hands as you work your way from the fingers and palm to the wrist, wrist to elbow, elbow to shoulder, and shoulder to heart. Be sure you are giving attention to the upper and lower parts of each limb. Once you've covered your arms, you can gently circle over your throat, and around the chest. From here, you can begin again at the lower back, massaging each side, up and around the torso to the heart again. When massaging the stomach, begin at the navel and work your way out in a clockwise motion (the natural direction of the digestive system). Once the upper body is finished, move to the feet, repeating a similar pattern as was covered on the arms. Toes to ankle, ankle to knee, knee to hip, and hip to heart. Remember to give love to both front and back, top and bottom. Don't forget your foot soles or butt cheeks!
Once you've finished your dry brushing, you can rinse in the shower and apply your favorite oil (I use jojoba oil just about every other day), or enjoy a refreshing sensation all over your body as you prepare for the rest of the day.
If you're looking for a good brush, check out these brushes by Kanko all made in Poland and certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, or these 100% natural body brushes by Import Ants sustainably and fairly made in Sri Lanka.