Our Skin and the Lymphatic System
If you have read any of my previous blog posts or received a facial from me, then you know that I am a strong believer that skin problems start from within. Toxins that accumulate in our bodies for all sorts of reasons need to be released somehow, and much of the time, literally “pops up” on our skin. It may be in the form of an acne breakout, but if you have an immune disorder (a condition that will remain dormant until the immune system becomes compromised) such as Eczema, Psoriasis, or Dermatitis, this is the time you would get a flare-up. There are lots of things we can do for ourselves to flush toxins from our bodies. The best way to start is by making sure the pathways of our Lymphatic System are in working order.
What is the Lymphatic System?
The Lymphatic System is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials. When we get sick, our Lymph Nodes swell. Clear fluid when squeezing a pimple? That’s Lymph!
The lymphatic system is connected by lymphatic vessels, which are similar to the blood vessels of the circulatory system. The tonsils, adenoids, spleen, and thymus are part of the lymphatic system.
Imagine our spleen (the largest organ of the Lymphatic System) as a factory. This factory produces white blood cells that we need to help fight disease. Now imagine all the lymph vessels (that run along side our blood vessels) in our bodies being a combination of roads and freeways. If these roads aren’t clear, our lymph stays stagnant and the toxins remain in the body. A lymphatic system that is not functioning properly can result in a multitude of health problems. In direct regards to the skin, it can show up in the form of acne, loss of elasticity, premature aging, and flaky texture.
Ways to stimulate our Lymphatic System
There are several different ways to help improve the workings of our Lymphatic System. Here are some easy ways to get things moving:
Yes, subconsciously we are always breathing. However, the quality of breath may not always be there. There are several different breathing techniques that can help our lymph to get moving, but also help to reduce stress. Yoga helps because it incorporates both movement and an emphasis on breath. Learn more in this previous post.
Aside from helping to stimulate the flow of lymph, dry brushing has a variety of benefits. You can read more about how dry brushing works here.
Massage is such a great way to get the lymph moving in our bodies. I always incorporate lymphatic massage in every facial I do. Don’t have the means for a massage or facial? Before hitting the shower, take the time for self massage, or what is known as Abhyanga in Ayurveda. I like using cold-pressed sesame seed oil (coconut oil is best if you are Pitta), scented with several drops of my favorite essential oil blends. Start by massaging your feet and working your way up towards the heart (feet to butt, hands to shoulders, entire length of your back, downward, chest, and belly rubbing counter-clockwise). Try to let the oil sink in a bit before getting into the shower. No need to use soap to wash the oil off, just wash the necessary bits (you know what I'm talking about).
Drink lots of water
Once you’ve done any or all of these lymph moving techniques, how do you think the toxins drain out? Imagine all of the above techniques being the soap. Drinking water will help rinse away the toxins.
The most important thing you can do is to get up and move! Movement of any kind will help our Lymphatic Systems stay healthy.