Dry Skin Brushing for Detoxification

Jun 10, 05:35 PM

by Katharine Koeppen, RA

I'm not sure if it's a physical manifestation of the toxic emotions surrounding our rundown economy, but I have been seeing a record number of clients with pronounced lymphatic stagnation.

A healthy lymphatic system is crucial for optimal functioning of the immune system, proper metabolism of dietary intake, proper muscle tone, peaceful sleep, and a host of other necessities. Lymph removes normal cellular metabolic waste and pathogenic substances from the body, and does so with remarkable efficiency if it is free flowing. If lymphatic fluid becomes stagnant, it results in a variety of different problems, ranging from simple muscular aches and cellulite to more serious issues such as edema, auto-intoxication and frequent illness.

Dry brushing is a simple technique that can rejuvenate the lymphatic system. It takes only a few minutes per day, and is best done in the morning immediately following a bath or shower. Using a soft, long-handled brush, gently stroke toward the heart in a repetitive fashion. Use seven to ten short strokes repeated over each part of the body, starting with the feet and working upwards around all sides of the legs. Dry brush over the abdomen, hips, buttocks and lower back using a repetitive upward motion. Next, brush the arms, starting with the fingers and moving upwards toward the shoulders. Finish by stroking the neck, upper chest and upper back, directing all movements downward toward the heart. Complete your dry brushing routine by lightly applying a homemade body oil using essential oils which boost lymphatic circulation.

The following essential oils assist in stimulating lymphatic circulation: bay laurel, black pepper, atlas cedar, cypress, sweet fennel, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, scotch pine, rosemary (any chemotype) and black spruce. Create your body oil using a combination of any three of these oils blended in a highly absorbent vegetable oil carrier such as apricot kernel, hazelnut, or macadamia nut oil. Use a total of twelve to fifteen drops of high quality essential oil in a one ounce bottle of carrier. If you refer to leave the blending to others, a local aromatherapist can create a customized body oil for your daily dry brushing ritual.

Take just ten minutes a day to dry brush and apply a lymphatic aromatherapy blend, and you'll see and feel results in as little as three weeks. You should have more energy, a livelier complexion, smoother skin, reduced puffiness... and you may even notice a reduction in the appearance of cellulite.

If you are having a hard time establishing a daily dry brushing routine, a few sessions with a bodyworker trained in lymphatic drainage therapy can help jumpstart your body's lymphatic system. These therapists are skilled at gentle manual manipulation of the lymphatic vessels and nodes, and can also help manage difficult situations such as lymphedema or post-surgical edemas. Lymphatic drainage sessions are very relaxing (many people prefer the treatment to receiving a full body massage) and often give immediate results. 

The movement of lymph is enhanced by physical activity, so any type of exercise will enhance lymphatic circulation, including walking and yoga. If you have a sedentary lifestyle, all the more reason to engage in daily dry brushing with aromatherapy. Your body will thank you for it!


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