But first, the Lymphatic System…
The easiest way to explain the lymphatic system is comparing it to a sewage system/water treatment plant AND the tap. The lymphatic system drains waste from the body, cleans it or breaks it down, and then delivers it back where it’s needed. The lymphatic system has so many components that it would honestly be impossible for me to go into full detail.
The important things to know about the lymphatic system are:
– an unhealthy lymphatic system can cause a wide range of problems, from weight gain, fatigue, brain fog, cellulite, headaches, bloating, skin concerns etc. So, a LOT.
– Unlike the heart which pumps blood through the body, the lymphatic system relies on muscle contraction to move this fluid through your body.
Ok, now that we’ve learned a wee bit about the lymphatic system let’s get to the heart of this article.
Dry brushing, who doesn’t love having their backs scrubbed or lightly scratched (not in a BDSM way, more in a self-care way) it feels so good.
The concept of dry brushing can be dated to the ancient Greeks and Romans who used a strigil to scrape their bodies of dirt, perspiration and any oils they may have applied; they often used a strigil after physical exercise. The Cherokee tribe used to use dried corn cob to enhance the skin’s appearance and to increase its durability. Dry brushing has been used by Chinese, Japanese, Scandinavians, Russians, Turks and Native Americans etc.
The practice of dry brushing helps to increase circulation, lymphatic drainage and helps to stimulate nerve endings which help to promote rejuvenation of the nervous system. Additionally, dry brushing is a great practice to help with exfoliation and skin moisture. By eliminating the top layer of dead skin, you’re allowing the body to perspire freely; by stimulating the skin, the body’s biggest organ, you’re helping the secondary epidermal layers to produce oil to moisturize the skin.
Personally, my favourite tools for dry brushing are Merben Int. brushes.
A little about Merben: “Each brush is assembled in Sri Lanka, in a factory where workers are 18+ and never discriminated against based on gender, religion, language or cast. Most of the women employed have children and are given flexible working hours. Those who are unable to get to the factory due to family obligations (e.g. in charge of caring for a sick parent or baby) are given the opportunity to work from home.”
Fiber types used in their brushes
Jute fiber (SOFT)
Jute is one of nature’s strongest and most affordable vegetable fibers. In India and Bangladesh (where we source ours from) some 4 million farmers earn their living and support 20 million dependents from jute cultivation, while hundreds of thousands more work in the jute manufacturing sector. The most popular natural fiber after cotton, it is widely produced and used to make an array of items including rope, carpets and wrapping fabrics.
Sisal fiber (MEDIUM)
Extracted from the Agave sisalana plant, sisal can be grown throughout the year – even on marginal land and in semi-arid areas – and does not require fertilizers or pesticides. This makes it ideal for countries like Kenya (where we import ours from), where agriculture is the mainstay of the economy. Sisal fibers are strong and durable, do not absorb moisture easily and are resistant to damage by salt water.
Coconut fiber (COURSE)
Coir or Coco is the material found between the inner shell and outer shell of a coconut. The fiber is relatively waterproof and one of the few vegetable fibers naturally resistant to fungus and mites, making it ideal for use in the kitchen and bathroom. The coconuts we use are grown by small-scale Sri Lankan farmers, who employ local mills to extract the fiber, which strengthens their economy.
I love the texture of their brushes, I love that it helps prevent ingrown in the summertime, and I love that they have a brush on a rope so I can reach my back all on my own.
Start feet first, use fluid strokes towards the heart. At the feet you’ll stroke upwards, brushing the arms you’ll stroke inwards and the back and chest use counter-clockwise circular motions. Do keep in mind that these brushes can sometimes feel quite coarse, be gentle on your skin; never brush over an open cut or a sensitive area- be mindful. It’s recommended to dry brush in the AM as it can be very invigorating and energizing!