The Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing for Detoxification

One of the small shockers in medical school for me, was learning about the lymphatic system. This immune-system carrying, bacteria/virus/foreign body fighting, 1-800-got-junk removal vessel network runs parallel to our blood vessel network, and equally runs through our tissues to remove waste from cellular metabolism, like inflammation. In one sense, it's our body's sewer system. In another, its our immune-system super highway.  The crazy part is that all the junk that is captured and denatured, is then funnelled back to our heart, where it enters the blood supply to be moved to organs of elimination. Also important to note, it only moves around our body by muscles surrounding it contracting, like when we walk or jump (unlike our arteries  that have a muscular layer to them, to keep blood moving always - thank God). 

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So, want to improve your lymphatic flow? Start jumping. This is why those mini-trampoline's from the 80's have become a craze again. 

If you're like me and you don't get to jump up and down daily, you can also try dry skin brushing.

What is Dry Skin Brushing? 

Dry skin brushing is a technique to help us move our lymph, to help clear out the toxins. Its a great way to reduce swelling from stagnant lymph build-up or poor circulation. It also sloughs off dead skin cells, opens pores and helps the skin regenerate. Remember, lymph vessels only can move in one direction and depend on contractions of muscles around them to move it. Skin brushing, helps move the lymph along. 

It is a gentle, upward stroke (if going from below the heart) or downward stroke (when coming from above the heart), with a natural-bristle brush. 

Remember to do it just before you have a shower. There are a variety of dry-skin brushes to choose from, and are available at most health food stores. 

Benefits of skin brushing

  1. Healthy Glowing Skin- removes dead skin cells, unclogs pores, reduces ingrown hairs, increases blood flow to skin to regenerate the tissue, stimulates the oil glands which control the pH of the skin, nourish the tissue and deter pathogens.
  2. Detoxification- stimulates lymph flow towards the heart, promotes removal of wastes from the body
  3. Support the immune system- stimulating the lymph system helps the transport of lymph cells and white blood cells through the body. A properly functioning lymphatic system means the body is ready to fight off pathogens in the form or viruses, bacteria, fungus and parasites. 

How To Dry Skin Brush

  1. Your skin should be dry, and its best before a shower or bath.
  2. Brush in an upwards direction if coming from below the heart, or a downward stroke if above the heart, 5-7 times, in the same direction.
  3. Only use small, light strokes. Don't press firmly, scrub, or massage. Just sweeps. 
  4. Start from your hands, working your way up to shoulders, down to the heart. Then work up the legs from feet to hips, down the back and torso, up the buttocks, down the neck, and across the shoulders. Also brush under your feet.
  5. Use clockwise strokes on the belly, chest and armpit. On the upper part of the chest the motions should be directed downward, towards the heart. Then work on the arms starting with the hands, all the way towards the shoulders.
  6. Rashes and broken skin should be avoided while areas of dryness or cellulite should be brushed more intensely. 

I enjoy it most for getting off dead skin cells, but appreciate that it is also moving lymph and helping me detox. Happy brushing! 

Dr. Kaylee