Updated: Aug 14, 2020
Our body is always giving us information! There are many holistic tips I've learned over the years spent with a chronic illness. Only a few of them have really stuck with me and serve as daily maintenance to practice self-care. Skin brushing is one of them!
The reasons for skin brushing daily go way beyond beauty. Although glowing skin is a nice bonus, the act of skin brushing has far-reaching effects on maintaining holistic health. You might consider making skin brushing part of your daily routines. Here is why.
The idea of maintaining health and balance to prevent illness has escaped our modern medicine modalities. I found that when I was in the perils of Lyme disease over many years, most doctors never talked to me about how to help the symptoms in a supportive way. The offerings were pills, tinctures, injections, and more tests. A lot of these treatments helped to get me better. But I was stubborn to make long-standing lifestyle changes to prevent relapse. After the umpteenth relapse, I finally realized that maintenance is key!!!
Skin brushing is one of the easiest and most economical ways to maintain your immune system.
Our lymphatic system is equivalent to the internet, a network of interconnecting vessels, moving information around the body. The paper-thin vascular network moves water, immune cells, and plasma around the body regulating our immune system, blood pressure, and kidney function. Whenever we are bogged down with toxins, infections, or lethargy our lymphatic system starts to become slow, sluggish, and settles. This lack of movement causes stagnation and eventually inflammatory symptoms. Enough stagnation over time along with chronic inflammation is going to create a series of health concerns unique to you and your body.
Signs your lymphatic system needs support are:
Swelling or sweating of the hands, feet, or face
Bloating, gas, full feeling after eating
PMS, painful periods, and mood swings
Chronic pain, restless sleep, chronic headaches
Chronic infections or illnesses
Chronic chest colds or coughs
Sinus Infections, skin outbreaks, and dull skin
Skin outbreaks, reddened skin, and bad breath
Constipation or problems staying hydrated
Here's how you do it
Before Covid, it was recommended to dry brush BEFORE your shower. Now, it is recommended to dry brush AFTER your shower to prevent any airborne particles. I'll leave that up to your discretion. Technically before your shower has the best results, but maybe not the best idea if you just finished working a hospital shift.
When in doubt, ALWAYS brush TOWARDS your HEART
Start with waking up the thoracic duct, which is basically the right clavicle (collar bone). Under that collar bone is a little duct where the lymphatic fluid pumps everything back into the heart where it then is returned to the body. It will travel to the spleen where it is filtered, the lymph nodes where it gets information and new white blood cells hitch a ride.
Five Strokes per section. Start with the arms, stroking five times towards the heart. Move to another part of the arm, five strokes to the heart, and so on.
Stroke the chest, up towards that thoracic duct.
Breast, stroke away from the center of your breasts. Even down towards the belly.
There are several "pooling areas" of lymphatic fluid: a.) diaphragm, b.) center of the belly, c.) the groin d) behind the knees. You want to brush towards these areas and make sure that you have brushed these areas well.
Take extra time brushing the belly, groin, and behind the knees.
Gently stroke the face down your neck towards that thoracic duct.
Hop in the shower, at the end have at least 60 seconds under super hot water.
END ALL OF YOUR SHOWERS COLD. This causes a contraction of all of your tissue, acting like a giant pump to get toxins moving to where they need to be.
What happens when you skin brush?
I found that it helps me to feel clearer, fewer aches and pains in my joints, and keeps my immune system feeling strong. Most people with chronic illness have damage to the valves of the lymphatic system due to chronic immune and inflammatory responses. This damages the valves and makes things worse. Skin brushing is a really cheap, daily action you can take to keep your immune system happy and clear.
It creates a pumping action, moving toxins that have settled, moving the fluid, redistributing white blood cells, and helping inflammatory compounds to move out of stagnation.
Check out my favorite skin brush.
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