Updated: Feb 2, 2020
THE MYSTICAL RITUAL OF BODY BRUSHING
The Russians, Turks and Scandinavians have used this treatment for centuries. Now you can benefit and brush your way to a beautiful body, efficient toxin disposal and increased immunity.
Make no mistake, this could be your new best friend.
Dry skin brushing works on two levels:
on the superficial, it will give you softer, smoother more velvety skin
on the ‘inner’, it will help move the lymph, detox and boost your immunity
Our bodies are living in a world they have not yet fully evolved into. Think of all the technological advances of the past eighty years that we live with in our daily life. Consider what is in the air that was not there 50 years ago: cell phone, radio, TV, Satellite a veritable host of EMFs [electromagnetic frequencies] polluting our lives and I won’t even begin to go into how we self-pollute with sugar, alcohol, drugs, rubbish foods and chemicals…. you get the general idea.
Normally the human body would have thousands of years to adapt to such changes but no, we have given ourselves less than a lifetime and our bodies, on the whole, are doing a miraculous job at coping BUT at a cost.
Coping makes continual demands on our bodies and after a while, albeit a few years, the immune and other systems begin to falter under such an unrelenting load, resulting in illness such as : arthritis, cancer, diabetes, skin problems, heart etc.
We cannot change the world we live in, but we can exert control over our own individual little universes ….. common sense changes such as:
drinking lots of water,
moving and stretching
dry skin brushing
all help support the body in it’s battle with the techno elements.
The lymphatic system is like the body’s housekeeper, some call it garbage disposal. I am a qualified Vodder Manual Lymphatic Drainage therapist and I LOVE LYMPH! a brief background:
It comprises a vast, delicate network of vessels and nodes that filter, purify, cleanse and detox the entire body.
Many of these vessels lie just under the skin and dry skin brushing will stimulate the entire system, purging toxins from the body.
It also helps remove old dead skin cells, opening up the pores and increasing elimination.
The skin is the largest organ of the body and can eliminate up to 2lbs of waste daily, so it's important for it to be kept healthy.
Lung, Large Intestine and Kidney are the other primary detoxifiers and organs of elimination.
A weakness in any one organ, forces the others to carry an increased workload which can in turn result in exhaustion and further inhibit the body’s ability to get rid of harmful toxic waste.
Daily dry skin brushing helps your skin remain vibrant and efficient so that organs are not stressed or overloaded.
It only takes a minute, do it a couple of times a day on dry skin before taking a shower, certainly before a workout as it opens pores and allows sweat to remove more waste.
More mature skin does not shed its outer layer of dead cells as efficiently as younger skin.
The build-up of this outer skin layer accounts for the thick, dry, "leathery" look of older skin (along with too much sun exposure).
Skin brushing exfoliates this layer.
It also stimulates the oil glands, providing more moisture for older skin.
Further good news is that it helps break down cellulite and tightens the skin and can improve muscle tone by stimulating the nerve endings which causes the individual muscle fibres to activate and move.
It can help mobilise fat, stimulate hormone function, the nervous system and blood circulation in the underlying organs and connective tissue.
Pretty good payback for a couple of minutes brushing a day.
Unlike blood, which has the heart to pump it around the body, the lymphatic system relies on movement, exercise and gravity for its circulation, so walk when you can, move the body, treat yourself to a massage to encourage the flow. Regular rebounding (mini trampoline) is an excellent addition to the ritual. Ideal if you have painful knees or ankles.
When I've been travelling and have arrived back home feeling rather sluggish, definitely time to bring out my trusty re-bounder (mini trampoline).
Gently jumping on my little flexible friend can help:
reduce body fat
improve the immune system
boosts lymphatic drainage
Used by astronauts, NASA discovered that rebounding is about 68% more efficient that jogging or
So 5 minutes on a re-bounder = 40 minutes running .....
Now that got your attention didn't it!
With a knee injury, I find re-bounding an excellent form of exercise that causes minimum trauma to my joints. Re-bounders can take off up to 80% of the shock of impact.
Re-bounders cost anything between £40 and £700 - mine is lower mid-range and cost about £150 - it's lightweight but robust - pretty handy for a big girl like me! Here's a link to check it out (and no I don't ever take commission - I recommend because I feel it's a good product).
You can start by simply bouncing up and down for a few minutes every day - building up to 15 minutes.
The next level would be jogging on the spot, for EEM enthusiasts, try an animated CROSS CRAWL.
When rebounding, tune into your body - how is it responding to the bouncing? Easily bored? then listen to music or an inspirational audio tape or watch a DVD ..... make it fun, then you will build a habit,become consistent and reap the benefits.
BACK TO THE MYSTICAL RITUAL OF DRY SKIN BRUSHING....
All you need for this technique is a soft bristle brush - pop into Body Shop or any good chemist. They are normally set in wood, either circular to fit into the palm of your hand, or oval with a detachable handle.
Use a light pressure and brush, on dry skin, in long sweeping strokes.
The basic rule of direction is: imagine a belt around your waist, anything below that belt gets brushed into the groin and anything above the belt goes to the armpits.
On the legs, I suggest you:
Start at the knee and brush up into the groin all around the thigh, you will be clearing congestion into the major lymph nodes to be processed and eliminate.
Then linger a little around the inside of the knee [lymph nodes are located here so the area can often feel tender].
Now move down to the ankles and brush up to the knee all around the lower leg.
Brush around the top of the foot, In the Vodder Method this area is romantically call this area ‘The Sea of Lymph ’.
Proceed with long strokes from toe to groin. (NB I normally do 5 or 7 strokes over an area, but go with what feels right to you at the time).
I find that this sequence means I'm not brushing toxins into an already congested area. Clear the area first.
In this way, you are ‘clearing’ an area before brushing new lymph into it.
Move on to hands and arms,
then back and legs / buttocks [this is where a brush with a detachable handle comes in useful],
abdomen, shoulders and neck.
A cunning trick is to use TWO BRUSHES, get an alternate rhythm going and you will have done your entire body in no time at all.
If you brush in the morning you can do it quite quickly with a more energetic feel
If you rush in the evening, perhaps use a slower, more relaxing speed
Now jump into the shower, use an exfoliating sponge or cloth – a natural vegetable loofah or a natural carbonised bamboo exfoliating glove. (Amazon sell them - about £6)
If you can bear it, finish off with a cold blast of water.
Dry with a rough towel, rub in some oil or cream and voila! … you will feel invigorated and ready to start the day.
Pretty soon you will begin to crave your daily ‘brush off’.
Clean your brush using soap and water once a week. After rinsing [maybe a drop of Tea Tree or Lavender essential oil in the rinse water], dry it in an open, sunny spot to prevent mildew.
Try it and see, after a couple of weeks you should begin to notice a difference, a lot less sluggish and your general immunity will improve.
After three months you will definitely be an addict.
A few words of caution … Even though you are working with soft bristles, your skin may feel a little tender or sensitive at first, be gentle and soon it will feel good.
Obviously don’t brush any broken or damaged skin.
If the skin becomes red or irritated in any way, you are using too much pressure, ease off.
Your skin will soon become used to the technique and will cease to be sensitive.
After several days of dry brushing, you may notice a gelatinous mucoid material in your stools. Don’t panic, this is a sign that the intestinal tract is renewing itself.
TIP 1 - to help prevent slack skin as you age or lose weight, massage and ‘pinch’ the skin. It will stimulate the circulation, feeding the tissue and encouraging elasticity in the skin.
TIP 2 – further stimulate lymphatic function by firmly massaging (firmly) the neuro lymphatic reflex points located on the front of the body
TIP 3 – on the back, stimulate the lymphatic reflex points along either side of the spine. If you have a willing partner to massage the points great, but if you don't, this is a great technique.
Place two tennis balls in a sock and tie the end tightly.
Lie on your back with knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
Raise your body up slightly and place the balls under the top of the spine.
The spine itself will sit comfortably between each ball.
Pressure should never be applied directly to the bone itself, but to the muscles on either side of the spine.
Lower your weight on to the ball and wriggle around so it massages the neurolymphatic reflex points on either side of the spine - from top to bottom.
Alternatively, you can just lie on top of the balls and after about 30 seconds you will begin to feel the back relax and the points ‘opening’. Do this down the entire length of the spine, spending a little extra time on any sore spots.
If getting up and down from the floor is not easy for you, an excellent variation [in fact it is my favourite] is to
Place the balls on a wall, ideally on a corner, or door jam.
Feet should be placed about 18” away from the wall [the further away the more pressure is applied to the back].
Lean your full body weight against the balls.
Bend knees to manoeuvre them up and down the spine, wriggle around and pay attention to the sore points.
Sit against the balls on a plane, it helps reduce back pain, you might get a few funny looks but your back will benefit.
If you have cancer, serious skin problems or just feel a little uneasy about brushing, have a word with your doctor first. Never brush on open wounds, burns, rash,infections - common sense.