how to dry brush: 7 easy tips to get started
Maybe you’ve heard of dry brushing, maybe you saw Gwyneth Paltrow talking about it on Goop. But did you know that it does more than just exfoliate your skin? While glowing skin is a nice perk, dry brushing actually has so many more benefits (read: a healthy period, less bloat, boosted fertility, and less cramping).
LET’S START WITH THE LYMPH SYSTEM
One system of the body that is particularly important to fertility detox is the lymphatic system. The lymph system, in my opinion, is one of the most overlooked systems in the body – especially for women’s health. The lymphatic system contains over 600 lymph vessels and lymph nodes throughout the body. The lymphatic system’s job is to deliver nourishment to the cells while draining waste such as damaged cells and bacteria from all parts of the body.
Now, here is the thing- the lymph system does not have a central pump! The lymph is moved along as we breathe and move. With our modern sedentary lifestyles, the lymph system can quickly become stagnant and congested, leading to excess waste in the body, which overwhelms the liver, weakening the immune system.
lymphatic drainage + the female reproductive system
The reproductive organs also drain waste to the lymph system. The fallopian tubes and ovaries drain into the para-aortic lymph nodes, and the uterus + vagina drain into the superficial inguinal lymph nodes and internal iliac nodes. The breasts drain into the axillary lymph nodes. When we body brush, we can easily access the inguinal nodes (inner thighs) and the axillary (underarms). However, body brushing encourages general lymph movement, even to those areas we cannot reach!
THE MENSTRUAL CYCLE
At the start of the menstrual cycle, lymph drainage increases. The lymphatic system eliminates much of the reproductive waste. If the lymph is stagnant or congested, the menstrual blood flow may become painful, irregular, or overly heavy. Congestion in the reproductive lymph system can lead to breast tenderness, bloating, skin breakouts, digestive issues, bloating, headaches, and an increased tendency to make mucus. The monthly cycle is a good time for women to assess how well their lymph system is working. If these symptoms occur around menstruation, your lymph system may need some TLC.
SIGNS OF LYMPHATIC CONGESTION IN WOMEN
• Cellulite around the under arms and thighs
• Excess belly fat
• Fibrocystic breasts
• Irregular bleeding
• Joint pain
• Ovarian cysts
• Swollen glands
• Uterine fibroids
STRATEGIES TO DECONGEST THE LYMPH SYSTEM
• Deep abdominal breathing
• Yoga and movement
• Contrast showering (alternating warm and cold)
• Swedish or lymphatic massage
• Echinacea or dandelion (the leaf) teas
• Warm water sipped throughout the day
• Grapefruit, cypress, or rosemary essential oil
how to dry brush: 7 easy tips
Dry body brush every morning before your daily shower using a natural plant bristle brush (do not buy a cheap synthetic brush, they are too scratchy). I suggest ones made from coconut husks or agave, commonly called sisal bristle. Look for one that is safe for delicate skin.
+ Brush your skin while it is dry in light upward motions (do not scrub or be aggressive, light brushing is all it takes to move the lymph. Scrubbing moves blood!).
+ Brush proximal (closest) to distal (farthest).
+ Massage the neck: I do not suggest using a brush on the neck, so gently massage each side of the neck.
+ Brush the arms: Start closest to the armpit and work distally down the arm toward your hands (pay special attention to the underarms). If the brush is too scratch around delicate areas, massage with your hands.
+ Brush the abdomen: Start at your lower belly just above the pubic bone and brush in the clockwise direction moving inward towards the belly button.
+ Brush the legs: Start at the inner thigh and work distally down the leg toward the feet (pay special attention to the inner thigh and behind the knees).
+ Brush the feet: Brush the bottom of your fee
So do you think you’ll give dry brushing a try? I’ve linked my favorite dry brushes below for you if you want a recommendation! Let me know if you try it!