Skin Brushing To Support The Lymphatic System
Following on from last weeks blog on lymphatic health and how to support the lymphatic system, today I am discussing dry skin brushing and its benefits for the lymphatic system. It is easy and something that we can all do to support our lymphatic and immune system.
The many benefits of skin brushing include removing dead skin cells, unblocking the pores and facilitating the removal of toxins, softening, smoothening and brightening the skin, boosting circulation and stimulating lymphatic flow which supports the immune system function, improves digestion and assists in relieving stress.
So, How Does it work?
A large part of the lymphatic system is located just beneath the surface of the skin so dry skin brushing is ideal to boost the flow of lymph through these tiny vessels as well as stimulating a number of the main lymph node sites which are located around the body.
• Neck (submandibular)
• Armpits (axillary)
• Elbow (supratrochlear)
• Groin (inguinal)
• Knee (popliteal)
Lymph nodes are responsible for filtering and cleaning the lymph of unwanted substances such as cell debris and other toxins and are also responsible for fighting infection by attacking and destroying pathogens that could otherwise cause infection or disease.
How to Skin Brush?
When you are skin brushing always sweep towards the heart. Allow 3-6 sweeps of the brush in each of the areas below.
1. Begin brushing your feet, starting with the soles of your feet as this area has many little nerve endings that need to be stimulated.
2. Continue brushing up your legs and groin area.
3. Proceed to your hands moving up your arms. Move to your armpits as there are many lymph nodes here and it will get any toxins and stagnant energy moving.
4. From your neck stroke down towards your heart.
5. Use circular clockwise strokes on your abdomen - this follows the path of your colon and helps stimulate elimination.
6. Brush upwards from your buttocks, lower back and down from your neck
Brushing the skin can have an energising, invigorating effect, it is probably not ideal just before bed. It is recommended that it is done as part of your morning routine before showering.
This will provide the following additional benefits:
• The movement and gravity needed to keep our lymph flowing are at a minimum when we sleep, so first thing in the morning is an ideal time to give the lymphatic system an extra ‘push’ to get it started for the day
• Showering immediately afterwards will remove the dead skin cells and cleans the pores whilst the warm water of the shower will further boost circulation.
• Body oils and creams will absorb more readily as pores are now clear and open, leaving the skin softer and more hydrated as a result
Most guides will encourage daily brushing for optimum results, but alternate days or even twice a week if that is all you can manage is better than nothing.
If you have any inflammation, open wounds or any serious medical condition you should consult your doctor before skin brushing.
Choosing a Brush
You can use a number of different shapes and sizes, but a long-handled, natural bristle brush is best to enable you to get to hard to reach places such as the back, soles of the feet and back of the legs.
The bristles should be hard enough to provide an invigorating sensation but not so hard that they could scratch or break the skin. Remember when using a new brush for the first few times to take extra care as the bristles will need a few sessions to soften.
Caring For Your Brush
There are a few simple rules that, if followed will prolong the life and efficacy of your brush.
Do not leave your brush exposed to water for long periods, store it with the bristles down on a flat, dry surface
Keep the brush clean by washing it at least once a week with an antibacterial soap.
Air dry rather than placing it on top of a radiator as this may cause the wood to crack
Replace every it every 6-12 months based on frequency of use as the bristles will begin to wear and less able to remove the dead skin cells.