Dry Skin Brushing & Lymphatic System
Our skin, also known as part of our integumentary system, is the largest organ our body has. The primary function of our skin is to protect us from harmful bacteria, injuries, and chemicals. According to Patton and Thibodeau, authors of Structure & Function of the Body, our skin by itself can weight about 20 pounds or more and makes up 16% of our body weight. (Patton & Thibodeau, 2016). The skin is also part of our eliminative system so keeping our skin healthy and well circulated is important in the process of eliminating toxins from our body.
One of the ways we can improve the circulation to our skin as well as helping it to eliminate toxins is to start dry brushing on a daily basis. One of the greatest benefits of adding dry skin brushing into our daily routines is that it helps to stimulate the lymphatic system and encourages the movement of lymph. A healthy lymphatic flow is a vital part in cardiovascular health as the lymph is returned to the bloodstream. This bloodstream runs throughout your whole body and provides oxygen and healthy cells to the tissues. Our lymphatic system relies on our muscle movement and circulation to help move this process along. When we are sedentary in our lifestyle, our lymphatic system can become sluggish and not function properly, which eventually can weaken our immune system leaving us prone to sickness and disease.
When you go to purchase your first dry skin brush, it is important that you choose natural fibers instead of synthetic fibers. In an article written by the American College of Healthcare Sciences, they state that “Natural bristles are important because nylon—or synthetic—bristles can break your skin, disturbing the delicate electromagnetic balance.” (Petersen, 2017). You do not want to dry brush after a shower or after you have applied lotion to your skin, you want to start with clean skin. Begin from the bottoms of your feet and work your way up towards the heart making small circular motions with your dry brush. Be aware of any sensitive areas and be gentle with them. It is also important to avoid using a dry brush on your face to avoid damage of the delicate skin. After you have completed dry brushing your body, it is further beneficial to take a shower and rotate between hot and cold water which will further stimulate your lymphatic system. Afterwards, you can treat yourself by using aromatic body oil or your favorite body moisturizer so you can enjoy soft and supple skin afterwards. Additional benefits of dry skin brushing include, but not limited to, stimulating the sweat and oil glands, exfoliates away dead skin cells, stimulates circulation, helps to redistribute fatty deposits, can minimize the appearance of cellulite, and can be a very relaxing part of your daily regime.
As you can see, there are many benefits to adding dry skin brushing into your daily routine. Improving the lymphatic system is just one of them that you will experience using this technique. Many people are unaware of how important and vital the health of our integumentary system is and the roles it can play in the health of other body systems. I recommend giving dry skin brushing a try for a couple weeks and see what changes you might notice.
Patton, K. & Thibodeau, G. (2016). Structure & function of the body (1st ed., p. 86). St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier.
Petersen, D. (2016). NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology II (1st ed., pp. 216-217). Portland: American College of Healthcare Sciences.
Petersen, D. (2017). Why Everyone Should Be Dry Skin Brushing. Info.achs.edu. Retrieved 14 March 2017, from http://info.achs.edu/blog/why-everyone-should-be-dry-skin-brushing