Dry Brushing 101

Written by Mary Ellen Dorey, registered aromatherapist

Simply stated, the lymphatic system is the light, liquid part of the blood connecting to a series of glands or nodes throughout the body. But, unlike all other body systems, it lacks its own pump to cleanse and filter. All significant illnesses start with a clogged lymphatic system. When the lymphatic system is clogged, headaches, skin rashes, sluggish digestion, and low energy are exhibited. Often, the only time the lymphatic system is discussed is when lymph nodes are being removed because of a serious illness. Why not support the system well before such illnesses develop?

One excellent way to create lymphatic cleansing is through dry brushing. It is best performed in the morning or before 3 p.m. because it builds energy – especially when combined with essential oils – and can otherwise interfere with sleep. Dry brushing is good for circulation and lymphatic cleansing as well as skin softening and strengthening. It should always be done with a natural bristle brush, which opens the pores of the skin to allow whatever goes in immediately after to penetrate more deeply.

The best technique to experience the positive effects of dry brushing is after showering, on dried skin. Many people commonly believe that dry brushing is better performed before a shower but as previously stated, dry brushing opens the pores to allow greater penetration of products that follow. There are more beneficial substances that can be utilized besides soap. Although dry brushing can be performed without any additional products, incorporating essential oils into this daily technique can achieve greater results.

Dry brushing is also excellent in combatting cellulite. Cellulite is caused by a clogged lymphatic system and dry brushing encourages lymph flow, thereby reducing the effects.

The Dry Brushing Technique
Dry brushing is simply brushing the skin with a natural bristle brush in long strokes, generally moving up towards the heart. Pay special attention to the insides of the arms and legs, as well as the outer parts, and use circular motions on the stomach – starting at the lower right and moving up and around – and breast area – finishing at the armpit. Stroke inward on the buttocks. For the shoulders, apply the brush from back to front. These motions encourage the flow of lymph nodes for cleansing. Repeat five strokes per area. If desired, spray a water-based essential oil blend on the area and dry brush it in using the above technique.
Initially, the skin may feel dry after dry brushing. After a couple of days, it will begin to strengthen and soften. If skin is very dry, a light application of a gentle seed oil, such as olive, camellia, almond, or avocado, will ease the symptoms of dryness.
Teach clients to incorporate dry brushing into their daily wellness routines and watch as they are amazed at the results!

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