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How To Get Naturally Glowing Skin, The Lymphatic Way

Dec 25, 2023Dec 25, 2023

Certified Lymphedema Therapist and author Lisa Levitt Gainsley is well-versed in all things lymph.

Much is being made of the lymph these days. So, what exactly is the lymphatic system? "It's the bonus set of plumbing that filters and removes excess waste, bacteria and toxins from your body," said Lisa Levitt Gainsley, a popular Santa Monica-based Certified Lymphedema Therapist and author of The Book of Lymph: Self-Care Practices to Enhance Immunity.

First things first. Lymph flows in one direction: toward your heart. And while the heart is propelled by a central pump to move fluid, moving lymph relies on the pulsing of nearby arteries, skeletal muscle contractions and good-old fashioned breathing. "That's why self-massage, breath work, and exercise are invaluable," continued Levitt Gainsley, who, after her mother was diagnosed with cancer in the 1970s, set out to learn all things lymph (she was only 11-years-old).

An essential part of the immune system, lymph-producing white blood cells can destroy harmful pathogens. "It acts as a garbage collector, filtering out bacteria and toxins that can cause disease," she added —mentioning lymph maintains your body's fluid balance by "collecting, purifying, and draining excess fluids so your tissues don't swell." Bottom line: your lymph system is important for keeping inflammation—an underlying factor in many diseases—at bay.

Below, Levitt Gainsley shares her steps for achieving naturally glowing skin — the lymphatic way. (You can also follow @thelymphaticmessage offering detailed tutorials and tips).

If you don't have a lymphatic facialist in your area, you can do it yourself. Follow the lymphatic ... [+] drainage pathways by massaging your face when you’re applying your face oil and moisturizer.

To reduce puffiness, fine lines and bacterial breakouts, Levitt Gainsley recommends a DIY facial in three easy steps (you can also learn the basics here).

Our lymphatic system is 95 percent water, lymph flows properly with proper hydration.

To help alkalize your stomatch acidity, drink lemon water first thing in the morning. And because our lymphatic system is 95 percent water — and staying hydrated throughout the day will help nourish your cells and assist your lymph's flow.

Enjoy colorful vegetables. Levitt Gainsley reminds us to consume "a rainbow of organic ingredients" including raw fruit, vegetables and anti-inflammatory herbs. Enzyme-rich purple and red foods (such as beets, cherries, cabbage) help break down toxic buildup and keep the lymphatic system healthy. Other things to note: limit alcohol, dairy, sugar, gluten, and processed inflammatory foods.

Move your body! Walking, yoga, dancing, swimming and rebounding on a trampoline all help move lymph.

To increase your Lymphatic circulation 10 times, Levitt Gainsley recommends moving your body at least twenty minutes daily. Exercise helps flush stagnant toxins and combat mid-day fatigue. So. Enjoy a brisk walk. Go for a swim. Take a bike ride. Practice yoga (inversions increase lymph flow towards the heart; twists are great digestion aids). Rebounding on a trampoline (or jumping jacks) helps circulate flow from your legs and the lower half of your body and back towards your heart. "It's the reverse of gravity and the direction of lymph flow," she added. This additionally engages your core, helps alignment and improves your brain's neural connections. Dancing also works wonders; often making you laugh "which is another way to stimulate the diaphragm which encourages lung expansion and digestion," she added.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing stimulates the largest lymphatic vessel in your body.

Deep diaphragmatic breathing is known to stimulate your body's largest lymphatic vessel — the thoracic duct (responsible for bringing ¾ of lymph fluid from the lower half of your body up towards your heart). And, research shows that deep breathing increases oxygen to your brain "allowing the rest & digest, parasympathetic response to the nervous system to kick in and calm your body," Levitt Gainsley said. This type of breath work also extends benefits to your heart, digestion, immune system, blood pressures and lowering stress that interferes with attention span.

Epsom salts from Pursoma contain sulfites and magnesium that flushes toxins and heavy metals out of ... [+] your body.

A bath offers a great way to unwind and boost the lymphatic system. Levitt Gainsley recommends adding two heaping cups of Epson salts to your bathtub, which contain a "compound of sulfites and magnesium that flushes toxins and heavy metals out of your body." Soak for at least twenty mintues to allow excess toxins to release through osmosis. This also helps reduce inflammation and improve circulation. Afterwards, don't forget to drink water to rehydrate your body. (Don't use Epson salts if you’re diabetic, have open wounds or sensitive skin).

A body glow set by Osea includes a body scrub, dry brush and algae body oil to help circulate and ... [+] move.

Try dry-brushing three times a week (Levitt Gainsley's a fan of Stass & Co's sturdy brush). It's cheap, easy and feels good. Using long and gentle strokes, dry-brushing is known to release dead skin cells (read: unclog pores) and promote cell removal. It's also energizing and uplifting. Levitt Gainsley recommends brushing towards your lymph node regions — neck, armpits, top of thighs, clockwise around the stomach, and ultimately up to your heart. She also suggests invigorating body scrubs to help with circulation. Besides Osea's collection of glow-inducing products, Levitt Gainsley likes scrubs by C & The Moon Malibu , Wonder Valley and Palermo who makes a Coffee Body Scrub.

No suprises here: make sure to get sufficient rest. "The Glymphatic system in your brain does it's cleaning while you’re asleep," said Levitt Gainsley, which she adds, is essential for cognitive function and mood. The sweet spot for good sleep, according to experts, falls between 7 -9 hours.

"The more joy you can bring into your life, the more you will reduce stress and connect to your meaning and purpose in life," Levitt Gainsley reminded us. And, because our cells hold memory, "fill them with hope, positivity and belief in your health," she said. In turn, this will counteract stress and allow you to harness your true nature.

A DIY LYMPHATIC FACIAL Massage your face lightly Massage your face in the direction of lymphatic drainage Work slowly using a half-circle motion, not a full circle