We are River Bodies

I remember feeling amazed when I first got deep into learning about the lymphatic system at the Appalachian School of Holistic Herbalism. Somehow, up until that point, I had yet to realize that there was a fluid moving throughout my body, alongside my blood. This fluid, which I imagine as a River, cleanses the body of toxins, acting as a channel through which the immune system may do its job.

This fluid is our Lymph- made up of white blood cells & lymphocytes- which captures bacteria in the blood, transporting it to lymph nodes where it may be destroyed.

This water of our bodies (the latin root word, lympha, literally means water) plays a critical role in our immune system, yet interestingly, it does not move on its own. There’s no central pump- like the heart for the blood- to keep our river flowing.

As embodied beings, we thus must act as River-keepers: ensuring that this vital fluid- which serves as our immune system's first line of defense- doesn't become stagnant. For it is in stagnant waters that imbalance and illness may take hold.

How do we act as a heart for our lymph and keep it moving? Self-Care practices: moving the body, massage, and touch.

A massage technique for lymphatic drainage is to rub the body, always stroking towards the heart. It’s also important to massage the places that hold lymph nodes: the throat, breasts, armpits, groin, & inner knees.

When we add in lymphatic herbs to this Self-Care practice and massage with an herbal oil, we not only release stagnation by increasing the flow of our lymph, but we also deeply nourish the nervous system.

Oil on skin seeps in to calm the nerves, ushering us into a parasympathetic state. A relaxed nervous system strengthens our immunity. But beyond protection— this process is a blessing. We tend to our earthly bodies, becoming our own River keepers.

So to encourage flow of the rivers of our bodies, the plants and I teamed up to create a gorgeous green, herb-infused massage oil. It contains no added essential oils-- only the whole extractions of five gentle and lymphatic plants: violet, self-heal, dandelion, red clover, & calendula. This makes River Body safe for all bodies, and it may even be used during breast-feeding. Not to mention, it smells heavenly-- like your face is in a fresh-picked basket of sweet, spring violets.

Plus, to anchor the energy of earthly embodiment into this remedy, each bottle includes four tiny Herkimer Diamonds that I collected respectfully from the land. Three of the four plants within this oil were whole-heartedly wildcrafted by me, alongside the shores of my most beloved waterfall. So this bottle not only contains the power of the River, but also that of Reciprocity- for before gathering the plants, I hiked the whole waterfall with my basket backpack, picking up every piece of trash I could find. Keeping our rivers flowing healthily— the ethos of this hand-crafted herbal body oil.

This oil holds much magic, and I'm honored for it to be the first of a line of whole plant-infused oils that I've been working on since the summer, which will be revealed in the coming weeks. See my "Soul Oils" post for more on this!

'Til then, you can find River Body in the Shop