The What and Why of Dry brushing
Dry brushing is pretty much what it sounds like. You get a body brush with soft bristles and you brush your body with it. Sounds odd? Maybe. Is it worthwhile? Yes, it is.
Dry brushing helps the lymphatic system, which is part of the circulatory system. One of the lymphatic functions is to provide the body with a strong immune system: a defense mechanism. The tonsils, thymus, spleen, adenoids are all part of the system. The lymph travels in one direction, towards to heart. You need to keep the lymphatic system operating properly since it stores fluids and toxins. The toxins need to be ‘pumped’ out of the body to prevent toxic overload. As it does not have a pump, the lymphatic system needs help from you.
In most cases, being very active will do the trick. Walking, gardening, yoga, cycling, and so on. The activity doesn’t need to be strenuous but it does need to keep you engaged. However, while exercise is by far the best option and one that has so many additional benefits, modern, daily living often gets in the way. If you’re stuck behind a desk everyday and don’t have time at home to be active, you may be asking, “What can I do to give my lymphatic system a helping hand?”
Dry body brushing is a great way to stimulate the lymphatic system and it is a simple task. Brush from your feet and work your way up the body using circular motions, brushing upwards towards the heart. It should take at least 10 minutes working up to 20 minutes. Brush the skin with the dry brush before you shower for best results. It can also be helpful in reducing the appearance of cellulite.
A few other lymphatic-friendly activities include:
Hot and cold showers. Start off with a warm shower and gradually lower the temperature. Take your time. You don’t want to shock the system too quickly as this can have an adverse affect. Put up with the cold for as long as you can manage and then soothe with warm water. Repeat several times.
Epsom salts. Place the salts (mostly made up of magnesium) into a bath and relax. It triggers a response called reverse osmosis, it helps to pull the toxins out of your body. You can infuse the salts with essential oils, lavender is a good start since it is known for its calming properties.
Our bodies are intelligent and everything within it it designed for a purpose. That said, with modern life being what it is, we need to help ourselves in any way we can – be it food or lifestyle changes. The lymphatic system is just one of our systems that needs to be taken care of. Give dry brushing a go and see how it feels.
Stephanie Matthews BA (hons), R.H.N.
The Practical Nutritionist