The lymphatic system is one of the most overlooked yet significant systems in the body. This expansive system travels throughout the body to remove waste from every cell while helping regulate the immune system. It includes a complete network of vessels, ducts, lymph node, the spleen, the adnoids and tonsils.
The lymphatic vessels act like a giant drainage system for your body that needs to stay clear to work properly. Just like in your home, if the drains become clogged in your toilet or sink, you can’t get rid of the waste effectively. This is the same for your body. Stagnant lymph flow leads to waster and toxin buildup, weakening the immunity and leading to a wide variety of health issues.
Almost every part of the body can be affected by poor waste removal in the lymphatic system. While your lymph drains become congested, you may notice:
- Stiffness, especially in the morning
- Itchy and dry skin
- Breast swelling with each cycle
- Water retention
- Brain fog
- Swollen glands
- Stubborn weight gain
- Chronic sinusitis, sore throats, colds or ear issues
- Cold hands and feet
Dry brushing for improved lymphatic health
One of the most common obstacles to detox is a sluggish lymphatic system.
That’s where dry brushing comes in. Unlike the network of arteries and veins which rely on the heart to circulate blood, your lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and instead relies on muscle motion to improve circulation. If you don’t move regularly with most of your muscles, your lymph can stagnate and waste accumulates. Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, which catches waste from cells, environmental toxins, and pathogenic organisms. Regular dry brushing can help you remove lymphatic waste more efficiently.
Better lymphatic circulation may lead to other health perks as well, including improved digestive and respiratory function. Think of dry brushing as self lymphatic drainage massage. Here's a quick look at the benefits of dry brushing.
Your skin might be the most obvious beneficiary of dry brushing, thanks to the soft but densely packed bristles that slough off dead skin cells. Dry brushing removes built-up skin cells and debris than can block pores and lead to acne. It also helps get rid of keratin buildup that causes keratosis pilaris.
Reduced Appearance of Cellulite
One of the most touted dry brushing benefits is its ability to banish the appearance of cellulite. Unfortunately, despite the people who sing these praises, there’s not yet much scientific evidence to back up these anecdotal reports. One small study did find that lymphatic drainage massage helped thin subcutaneous fat in people with cellulite. However, there’s an overall lack of studies proving the effectiveness of any cellulite treatment. What people may interpret as cellulite reduction is probably just a temporary plumping up of the skin from increased blood circulation.
Increase of energy
Another possible benefit of dry brushing is short-term energy boost. Though currently there’s not scientific research that directly links dry brushing to increased energy, by improving circulation and removing toxins, dry brushing may give you a temporary boost. Dry brushing daily before you shower in the morning can be an invigorating addition to your morning caffeine shot.
How to dry brush
Begin from your feet and work upward. Use long fluid strokes, moving toward your heart, on your limbs and circular motions on your torso and back. Move in the upward direction. It can be sensitive on the abdomen, breasts and neck, so lighten up pressure as needed. Once you get to your back, you can use downward strokes.
Generally, you should dry brush daily and shower immediately afterward to wash off dead skin cells and apply a natural body lotion afterward to put the moisture back in your skin. If you find your skin irritated or you have sensitive skin, cut back your dry brushing routine to three times a week.
Keeping your lymphatic system healthy is crucial for detoxification, immunity, and overall health. While there are many variables to keep in mind when it comes to maintaining a healthy lymphatic system, like diet, exercise, and sleep patterns, the essential step to sustaining lymph health is promoting lymphatic drainage.