How To Be Good To Your Lymphs

At the centerpiece of the traditional Korean approach to health and wellness, is the prescriptive treatment of the Akasuri Body Scrub. Although Akasuri, is actually a Japanese word meaning ‘red’ (aka) and ‘to rub’ (suru), it became known as the Korean-style “red scrub” because of its origins on the Korean peninsula. In Korean culture, where bathing and cleanliness represent the spiritual experience of washing and purifying the soul, Akasuri begins with a brief visit to a steam room, sauna, or even a hot shower or bath, to first soften the skin in preparation for the scrub itself.

If you aren’t lucky enough to have a Korean spa in your town, you can still experience the health benefits and wonderful soft skin that a technique called “dry brushing” will give you.  Variations of this treatment can be found at every fancy spa around the world in their efforts to pamper and rejuvenate their clients, but it’s something so deceptively simple that you can do it yourself at home.

Why Dry Brush?

Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging the body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, which greatly aids the lymphatic drainage of the entire body.  As previously discussed, when the body rids itself of toxins, it is able to run more efficiently in all areas. Dry skin brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin, and helps the skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.

How To Dry Brush:

Select a long handled, natural bristle brush or loofah. Begin brushing your skin in long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction. Always brush towards the heart. Try and brush several times in each area, over-lapping as you go.  Focus on the armpit area and sides of the neck, as both those places contain a large grouping of lymph nodes.  Focus on the lower belly, (colon area) and lower back (kidneys) as those are the other key components in your body’s elimination system.  Avoid tender or sensitive areas (nipples; cuts, bruises, etc.).  Start out with gentle brushing energy, and work up to a more vigorous one, after your skin becomes used to it.  Each session shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes if you are in a hurry; longer if you have the time to luxuriate in it.

Lymphs MassageLymphatic Massage

A customized form of bodywork, Lymphatic Massage may help the lymphs do their job better.  This type of massage can help your body in clearing sluggish tissues of waste and swelling, and is an excellent adjunct to the rest of your springtime cleaning and detoxing efforts.

Lymph vessels are found throughout the body, most of them–about 70 percent–are located just below the skin. These fragile vessels work to pick up fluids between the cell spaces when gentle pressure is applied to them from increased fluid build-up, muscle contractions, or the pressure of a therapist’s hands.  By using very light pressures in a rhythmic, circular motion, a massage therapist can stimulate the lymph system to work more efficiently and help it move the lymph fluids back to the heart.

Furthermore, by freeing vessel pathways, lymphatic massage can help retrain the lymph system to work better for more long-term health benefits.

Massage therapists versed in Lymphatic Drainage Therapy (LDT), an advanced form of lymphatic massage, can identify the rhythm, direction, and quality of the lymphatic flow and remap drainage pathways.  The functioning of the immune system is stimulated through increased lymph flow.  The additional flow carries more antigens to the lymph nodes, thereby increasing antibody/antigen contact.  This has been found to help with chronic or subacute inflammatory conditions — chronic fatigue syndrome, autoimmune disease, bronchitis, sinusitis, tonsillitis, laryngitis, arthritis, acne and eczema.

A DIY EcoSpa Technique:  Simple Lymphatic Drainage

  • Gently place your fingers, relaxed, on either side of your neck right under your ears
  • Gently move the skin in a downward motion towards the back of your neck
  • Repeat 10 times by gradually positioning your fingers lower and further down from your ear.
  • Place fingers at the top of your shoulders on either side of the neck
  • Gently massage by bringing the skin closer to the collarbone

Repeat 5 times