Written by: Dr. Leslie Deems, DACM Published on: March 20, 2020 Updated on: July 3, 2020
One of the best ways to stay healthy is to encourage lymph flow. When the lymphatic system becomes congested, it makes it difficult for the body to fight off colds and flus. When lymph flow slows, we also tend to feel lethargic, sluggish, and tired.
Another advantage to keeping your lymphatic system clean, clear, and moving is for breast health.
In this post, I'll discuss three strategies for promote lymph drainage:
dry skin brushing
radish... yes, radish!
Dry Skin Brushing for Improved Lymph Flow
The skin is the largest organ in the body, contributing to the elimination of much of the toxins we come into contact with daily. One of the most powerful ways to encourage the lymphatic system to rid itself of toxins that build up in our cells every day is through daily dry skin brushing.
Dry brushing provides a safe, easy, and affordable way to stimulate the internal organs and various systems of the body, helping to bring about homeostasis and encourages movement of lymph especially in more superficial lymph nodes.
Clearing the lymphatic system of metabolic waste helps to support overall health and wellness of the entire body. Of all these methods discussed here, dry brushing is particularly useful in the support of breast health.
Benefits of dry skin brushing
Activates main acupressure points and energy pathways
Stimulates the lymphatic system
Strengthens the immune system
Rejuvenates the nervous system
Balances the endocrine system
Removes dead skin
Tightens the skin
Tones the muscles
Selecting a Dry Skin Brush
When selecting a brush, opt for one with soft to medium bristles. You can choose one with or without a handle or select one with a detachable handle. The brush is easy to travel with and store making it convenient to give yourself a daily self massage.
How to Dry Brush your Skin
Perform dry skin brushing before bathing on dry skin. Take anywhere from 5-15 minutes for this daily routine. Even on those days when you are in a rush, take at least five minutes to do the entire protocol with less strokes.
Pay special attention to gentle brushing in sensitive areas like your breasts and groin. Never brush over any areas of irritation: open wounds, skin lesions, rash, eczema, poison oak/ivy.
Using the dry skin brush, gently slide the brush along your jaw line starting from your earlobe to the underside of your chin 8-16 times.
Place the brush at the hairline of your neck and gently pull around the side of your neck to the Adam's apple 8-16 times. Use a draping motion so that all areas of your neck are brushed.
To stimulate the pituitary gland, hold the brush on the back of your head near the base of your neck and rock the brush up and down, then side to side, 8-16 times.
Stroke the breastbone in a circular fashion to stimulate the thymus gland 8-16 times.
Gently brush the breast in a circular motion 8-16 times, avoiding the nipples.
Hold the brush in your armpit and rotate it clockwise 8 times, then counter-clockwise 8 times.
Brush up the side of your body, top of hip area to arm pit, 8-16 times.
Brush up the arm, starting at the wrists, working toward the armpit 8-16 times.
Brush over your belly button and around your waistline, 8 x.
Brush over your belly-button, clockwise (from right to left) 8 times following the natural flow of material through your intestinal tract. If you are experiencing diarrhea or loose stool, brush counter-clockwise 8 times.
Brush down from your sternum to the top of your belly button 8 times.
Brush down from your sternum to your side, over left and right rib cage 8 times.
Brush lower abdomen, top of hip area down toward groin, 8 times. Both sides.
Circular brushing in groin 8-16 times.
Brush your spine from the tailbone up as high as you can reach 8-16 times.
Brush up from ankle to groin on the inside of leg, outside of leg, and along the back of the leg 8-16 times.
Brush your ankle area 8-16 times.
Brush along the top of the feet and hands 8-16 times.
Brush the top of the toes and fingers 8-16 times.
Brush knees, front and back, in a circular motion 8-16 times.
If you'd like a diagram of dry brushing along with these steps, then sign up for the newsletter for a downloadable guide complete with illustrations showing direction of the dry brush stroke for each of these steps.
Trampoline (Rebounding) to stimulate lymph drainage
Movement is essential to a well functioning body and crucial for maintaining a clear and healthy lymphatic system. Jumping on the trampoline (also known as rebounding) every day for anywhere from 3-30 minutes can be instrumental in boosting lymph drainage. Start with 3 minutes and work your way up.
If you have knee issues, you can sit on the trampoline and bounce on your bottom. Rebounding is very therapeutic and cannot be replaced by walking. Walking is a great way to get moving but it does not target the lymphatic system in the same way that the trampoline does.
The difference is in the phenomenon of rebounding.
Hang on just a second and let's talk about the lymph system. The lymphatic system is a one-way connection of vessels leading towards our heart (it's just a little more complicated than that, but we'll stick with heart for this post).
This network of vessels has tiny valves that encourage lymph to flow in a single direction. If you want more information on how the lymphatic system works and where lymph actually reconnects with the circulatory system, be sure to check out this post.
Upon springing back up, our g-force is lower than when we walk or run and lymph valves in the lower half of our bodies are encouraged to open allowing lymph to flow upwards towards the heart.
Eat Radish to Improve Lymph Flow
I suggest consuming radish, both red radish and Spanish black radish. You need to consume about 10 red radish per day minimum for a therapeutic dose. How many days you do this depends on the person, and you should consult with your holistic health care practitioner for the dose and duration appropriate for you.
Some people need to consume radish regularly because they aren't moving their bodies enough. Others can eat red radish for several days in order to prevent cold or flu.
A minimum of ten radish per day is often times too much for people as radish can be a little spicy and leave you with bad smelling breath. To remedy this, I suggest Standard Process Spanish Black Radish* supplement. This is another easy way to support your lymphatic system and your overall health.
*Please contact Dr. Leslie Deems or your holistic healthcare provider for further information on how to order Spanish Black Radish, and remember this supplement is not intended for long term use.
About the Author
Leslie Deems is the founder of Awaken Balance. She is an Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, NAET practitioner, and lecturer. Leslie is a Doctor of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine (DACM) and is licensed by the state of California. She has been studying and practicing Chinese Medicine for 20 years. Leslie was drawn to the art of Chinese Medicine when facing her own healing crisis in 1995. Her personal journey with the efficacy of acupuncture is what drew her to apprentice with the world famous Dr. Richard Tan in San Diego.
Leslie treats a variety of illnesses and diseases, but she has a passion for helping people with chronic pain issues and food allergies. Leslie has lectured at California State University, San Marcos, on alternative health care and facial diagnosis. Her manuscript on Face Reading is presently in the works.
Currently, she is a volunteer for the Buddhist Tzu Chi medical foundation, providing free medical care for underserved individuals. She presently sees patients in both the San Diego and San Francisco Bay Area.
In addition to her private practice, Leslie resides on the Board of Directors of the Patricia Rincon Dance Collective, San Diego.
Leslie enjoys being in nature, gardening and composting, dance, travel, and time spent with family and friends. Leslie is dedicated to providing quality care in a caring and compassionate way. In the pursuit of wellness, she believes it is best to use an integrative approach, considering all options, while treating the whole person.