I don’t run anymore. I used to run about 25-30 miles a week. My legs were pretty firm and although I’ve always had some “soft tissue” at my inner thighs, now it’s just jiggly and I don’t like it. I was feeling and looking puffy. Old lady body and skin I call it. I never ever looked puffy when I ran 5 days a week. Even when I was swimming, I did not have the puffiness. Just a couple of years ago, I tried lymphatic massage. Oh, boy I looked great for several months after one of those. I looked years younger after the massage, the puffiness was gone! But, it always comes back. Complaining about it one day to my massage therapist friend, she suggested I try dry brushing. She said it would help my skin, sloughing off the old dead stuff, clear out the lymph, allowing a better blood flow and generally improving my circulation and skin.
The Lymphatic System
The lymphatic system, part of the circulatory and immune system, it’s made up of a large network of lymph, lymphatic vessels, lymph nodes, lymphatic or lymphoid organs, and lymphoid tissues. Lymph nodes are small bean-shaped tissues found along the lymphatic vessels. The lymph nodes act as filters. Various immune system cells trap germs in the lymph nodes and activate the creation of special antibodies in the blood. Swollen or painful lymph nodes are a sign that the immune system is active, for example to fight an infection. The major lymphoid organs are:
• Bone Marrow
• Lymph Nodes
• Mucous Membranes, all over the body, especially in the gut
Some functions of the lymphatic system are protecting the body from illness-causing invaders, maintaining body fluid levels, absorbing digestive tract fats and removing cellular waste. As you can see, the lymphatic system is key to having a full function immune system and in the overall health of the body.
Running was how I kept my lymph drained. Other ways include regular lymphatic massage, jiggling or shaking for 15-20 mins a day, higher intensity walking, using a rebounder daily and dry brushing. Since I quit running, my knees are much happier, but I am puffy, so I found a way to help my body detox the puff! I use the dry brushing. Quite skeptical a soft bristle brush could really help me, I decided to go all in. I started
brushing twice daily. After two weeks i noticed a difference. After a month, I looked better, younger and my skin was no longer puffy. It was beginning to tighten. I noticed increased hair growth under my arms, on my legs and at the pubis. I was hooked!
Benefits of Dry Brushing
Detoxification: Dry brushing increases circulation, promoting lymph flow and thus drainage. The lymph fluid carries the waste products and destroyed bacteria back into the bloodstream. The liver or kidneys then remove these from the blood. The body passes them out with other body waste, through bowel movements (poo) or urine (pee).
Calming the Nervous System: Because tactile nerves lay just under the skin, dry brushing can calm the brain, lower stress hormones, and help regulate cortisol ( the major stress hormone).
Exfoliation: Brushing regularly unclogs pores, removes dead, dry skin daily.
How to Dry Brush
OK, so you think you’ll try it. It may make you itch a bit after doing it. I usually brush before showering. I have noticed the more regular I am, the less itching it creates. I also frequently dry brush then exercise. I have found it very helpful as the pores are now open before I even warm up. I do not have proof, but I feel like it may be helpful in greater toxin removal. so here’s a video on dry brushing. Dr. Mindy Beck, ND created this video.
To dry brush, use a natural fiber brush with a long handle. The long handle will help you reach all areas of your body. Follow these steps:
1. Start at your feet and move up your body.
2. Brush your skin using wide, circular, clockwise motions.
3. Use light pressure in areas where your skin is thin and harder pressure on thicker skin, like the soles of your feet.
4. Brush your arms after you have brushed your feet, legs, and mid-section. You should brush upward towards your armpits.
5. After dry brushing, take a cool shower to help remove the dry skin.
6. After your shower, dry off and then consider adding natural plant oil, such as olive or coconut oil, to moisturize your skin.
When you first start dry brushing, it’s best to begin with light brushing. As you get used to it, you can increase the pressure. Avoid sensitive areas and anywhere the skin is broken. These include areas with:
Also, never brush an area affected by poison oak, poison ivy, or psoriasis. Don’t dry brush your face unless you’re using a softer brush made for that purpose.
What supplies do I need?
All you need to dry brush at home is a brush with natural fiber bristles. You should also look for one with a long handle to help you reach every part of your body.
You may want to dry brush in the shower so that you can easily clean the area once you’re done. You may also want to have a moisturizer on hand, such as natural oil.
Self Lymphatic Massage
Here is video on self lymphatic massage. It’s from Heart Alchemy Yoga in conjunction with Lisa Gainsley. There are 3 videos. This is part ii and includes the ways to clear lymph.
Stimulating the lymph stem is key in supporting the detoxification of the immune system, supporting your health, helping your skin glow, and reducing puffiness. It’s easy. You can do it anywhere with very little cost. If you have lots of lyphedema, you should consider working with a lymphatic massage therapist to help you really get the lymph moving while you are doing the simple at home exercises. While there’s little scientific evidence to support the benefits of dry brushing, there is also little risk, for most people. If you’re interested in dry brushing, you can purchase a brush from most health food stores or online and try it at home.
If you have a skin condition, such as psoriasis, you should speak with your doctor before dry brushing. Be sure to avoid brushing over or around an open wound or infection.
If you decide to incorporate this into your life….Please tell me what it was like for you. How did your body change? Please comment below.