Ooooh, I am so glad you are here. You are about to embark on a journey of supreme, top-notch self-care with one of THE MOST life-changing practices EVER! (Sorry, I get a little too excited about this stuff). As a Licensed Massage Therapist, I will tell you that people pay high dollar for this treatment in the spa, AND I'm about to give YOU all the secrets!!!!!
There are some specific rules that you need to follow for dry brushing. Once you know them, there will be no stopping you on your way to boosted health, reduced inflammation, and less puffy-ness, all because you're going to stimulate your body to detox and function more efficiently.
What you need: A Dry Brush, my favorite, is by Earth Therapeutics, and you can find it HERE. Of course, there are many without the handle, but how are you gonna reach your back like that?!
Before we get to the exfoliating and lymph system love, let's talk about WHY you need to add this practice to your daily routine. The lymphatic system is part of your immune system. It is a network of vessels, tissues, and organs in the body that produces and releases white blood cells that overpower pathogens, bacteria, viruses, and parasites. It is a waste elimination system responsible for cleansing the body by removing waste products and abnormal cells. It collects excess fluids that drain from the tissues and cells throughout the day and moves them into the bloodstream. The lymph system has no pumping mechanism. I'll write that again, THE LYMPH SYSTEM HAS NO PUMPING MECHANISM!! It relies on the expansion and contraction of muscles or (ahem) external stimulation for it to move. This is why dry Brushing is SO important, that and moving our bodies on the regular.
The most extensive grouping of lymph nodes (where the actual filtration of the lymph fluid happens) is under the arms and in the groin area. However, there are hundreds of smaller nodes throughout the body and more on the left than the right. The lymph vessels are close to the skin's surface, so congested or slow lymph flow can result in puffy eyes, breakouts, and inflamed skin, not to mention swollen fingers, legs, stiff body, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, ugh. This is why we dry brush!!!
SPECIAL NOTE: DRY BRUSHING MEANS DRY. Not after a shower, not in the shower, not after a hot tub or bath. DRY, totally and completely DRY. The best time of day is the morning before you get dressed or in the shower.
Now you know the why. Here are the key things to know when dry brushing.
Think about it like you would a tangle in your (or someone's) hair. You start close to the tangle, then move your way out. The tangle in this scenario is the underarm and groin area. You do not need to push hard. Light, gentle strokes are all it takes.
1) Start on your left upper chest and brush from your sternum to your shoulder.
2) Move to your left shoulder blade area (you're thanking me for recommending the brush with a handle, aren't you) and brush from the back of your neck out toward the shoulder.
3) From here, you will continue with the left side of your body. ALWAYS BRUSHING TOWARD YOUR HEART/UNDERARM AREA.
4) Make several small strokes close to the "tangle," and the strokes should become longer as you get further away.
5) When you reach the groin, you've come to another "tangle." Start close and work your way out, always brushing up.
6) Give a little extra love to the places where lymph pools; the rib-cage (just under the breast), inside of elbows, behind the knees, ankles (doesn't that feel great!)
7) Repeat on the right side.
8) Don't forget the backs of your hands and feet!
9) Extra Credit: bounce up and down lightly to increase the effect.
10) REPEAT DAILY!
Now it's time to follow up that supreme self-love with hydration and moisture. Pop quiz! Can you guess what plant is excellent for lymphatic stimulation? That's right! CALENDULA! So, pull out your Natural Ally Toner and Skin Support Oil and slather it on.
Dry brushing can be done on the face or Gua Sha, but that's another post. This will get things flowing, I promise!!
Looking for other ways to boost skin health? I've got more self-care practices to add to this one for your best skin all year.