Dry Body Brushing
In addition to dry body brushing’s ability to tone and tighten the skin through phsycial exfoliation, it also helps to activate circulation. It does so by getting the blood flowing to the surface of the skin. Because of this stimulation of circulation, the skin’s appearance improves and it is also energinzing, much the way a brisk walk would be.
One of the most amazing things that dry body brushing does is to stimulate and aid the lymphatic system, which has the function of transporting waste and toxins from the cells. As a result, it helps to increase immunity and fortify the body’s defense against toxins.
Lymph is an oily substance that is located just below the fat in the skin. It moves large particles and anything fat-soluble. This lymph moves around in its own network of vessels, all of which flow unidirectionally toward the heart. The lymph, which is essentially a plasma, has a number of functions as it moves through the lymphatic system. One of the functions is to move fat and hormones to cells that need it. The fat and hormones may be taken up from the digestive system or from various lymphatic tissues by which the lympahtic system passes. The system also transports white blood cells to and from lymph nodes. The interesting things about the lymphatic system is that it has no “pump.” It is dependent on our movement (exercise) or touch (massage or body brushing) to help it operate. When this lymphatic system isn’t working properly or becomes sluggish, the toxins and waste material that the lymph normally would have moved out of cells, gets stuck and stored in fat and can make us ill or simply feeling sub-par. The lymphatic system also removes excess interstitial fluid from tissues so stimulating it can help prevent bloating and water retention.
It’s best to do your body brushing just prior to showering or bathing when the body is dry. Brush in the direction of lymphatic drainage, towards the heart in long, sweeping, brisk strokes. Start with the extremeties and work toward the center. I usually start with the soles of my feet and then work my way up my legs. Pay particular attention to the backs of your knees and inner thighs where there is a concentrated lymphatic network. Then work your abdomen and behind. For the upper body, continue to brush in the direction of your heart. For your arms, this direction is from wrist up toward your shoulders. Pay special attention to the inside of the elbows, underarms and the lymph glands in your neck. The skin should feel very “stimulated” but shouldn’t be irritated or very red.
The feeling that the brushing produces is kind of an acquired one. It might feel intense at first but comes to be a delicious feeling you crave. I think the “high” comes from the stimulation of circulation.
You can find a body brush at a health or natural food type store for $15 or less. Try and use one with all natural fibers (as opposed to synthetic ones). I found mine at Whole Foods and it is made with tampico fiber, which is from the stem of the agave plant. I like using one with a long handle so I can reach my back.