Dry Skin Brushing
Dry brushing or dry skin brushing refers to using a brush when your skin is dry and brushing it for the purpose of aiding your lymphatic system. Lets start with why we would want to dry brush. and to understand that, we need to understand more about the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is a critically important fluid system of the body, separate from the blood system. It is responsible for cleansing waste from the cells, organs and body systems. It is also responsible for dropping off nutrients to the cells. And it is responsible for maintaining the body’s fluid levels. Last but not least it is the roadway, vehicle and military bases for the immune system.
Thats a lot!
So we have this amazing fluid system comprised of lymph nodes (around 600+), lymphatic vessels (a huge network all throughout the body) and lymphatic fluid, also called lymph. The mission of the lymphatic system is to move the lymphatic fluid through the nearest lymph node or nodes to be filtered and then transported to the collarbone area where it drops back into the blood system. There is just one caveat, it doesn’t have a pump to move the lymphatic fluid. You know how the blood has the heart to pump blood around the body? Well the lymphatic system doesn’t have anything like that so it depends mostly on muscle movement to squeeze the lymphatic vessels and to pull on the filaments that hold the vessels in place to then stretch the vessels and propel the fluid up or down through the lymphatic vessels segment by segment. So the lymph fluid is being moved to its destinations by muscle movement and the main ways that we move our muscles includes; all exercise, deep abdominal breathing which moves the diaphragm and that helps to move all the lymph in the gut, rebounding which is bouncing lightly on a specialized mini trampoline, vibration plate and the final way to move your lymph is... drum roll please... dry brushing the skin!!
The light short strokes of moving the dry brush across the skin mimics the specialized touch that a lymphatic therapist uses during a lymphatic therapy session to move the lymphatic fluid. A lymphatic therapist trained in effective light touch lymphatic massage, the most common being Vodder, knows that for the most part we can only access the delicate lymphatic vessels right under the surface of the skin. Our touch is lightly stretching the skin which shuttles the fluid along its course faster than it would move otherwise. So when we dry brush we only need to use gentle short strokes all over the body.
Now before you start brushing we have a few more pieces of business to take care of
Firstly what direction do you brush your skin? The long-held belief of “Brushing toward the heart” is not quite accurate. The body is divided into 5 areas and these areas need to be brushed to the main drain of that area.
1. First will be the head, yes we have lymph in the head and even in the brain. The entire head gets brushed down to the neck where it is filtered by the lymph nodes in the neck and then the neck gets brushed down to the collarbone area where it gets dropped into the blood.
2. The next sections are the 2 upper quadrants of the trunk. A line is drawn around the whole body at the belly button, and another line is drawn vertically up the middle of the trunk in the front and back. Very simply put, the fluid in each of those 2 upper quadrants get brushed into the corresponding armpit (or axilla) which is the main drain of that area. There are a couple of twists and turns and one area that goes rogue so check the diagram for the details.
3. Lastly are the last 2 quadrants of the lower body. All of the lymph fluid in those 2 quadrants gets brushed into the respective groin crease (inguinal) which is the main drain of that area. Now these sections actually start at the waistline and so you will be brushing the lymph fluid down into the hip crease from the lower half of the belly. Never thought you’d hear that did you? Again, please look at the diagram for details.
Secondly what is the order of skin brushing?
We say Proximal to Distal, meaning you start closest to the core of your body and work your way outward. We always start at the collarbone area, which is called the terminus, as that is where all the cleaned lymph fluid is dropped back into the blood, it is the “end of the lymphatic freeway” and we massage that first with our hands. Grab your collarbone above and below with 2 fingers, you can do both sides at the same time, and jiggle it, rub it, tap on it. We are making sure that area is loosened up and open. Then work you your way out.
1. I like to then brush my neck and then my face from the bottom first, moving my way up to the forehead, always using the map to brush in the correct direction.
2. After that, move to your body and work on your chest brushing it up into the collarbone.
3. Then open up your armpits, each is called an axilla, by scooping the armpit with your fingers forward and up toward the collarbone.
4. Now we can work on the upper half of the body. Brush your breasts like a sunburst pattern shown in the diagram.
5. Brush your sides up into the armpits.
6. Brush your belly to the sides and then brush your sides again into the armpit.
7. Next will be your arms, starting at the top of your arms and working your way downward, always brushing upward into the armpit.
8. Reach around to your back and brush that into the sides of your body and brush the sides into the armpits again.
9. Now lets open the drain for the lower half of your body at the hip crease, called your inguinal. Similar to how you opened your terminus and axillas, you are going to massage, tap, and gently scoop that area.
10. Brush your lower belly down into the inguinal.
11. Brush your booty by brushing it down and around to the inguinal on each side.
12. Brush your legs starting at the top and working your way down to your feet, always brushing upwards toward the inguinal area, spending a little extra time at the back of your knees.
If you just want to brush your breasts you may do that
Here is how:
Open the collarbone area
Open the armpits
Brush your breasts according to the diagram.
How often and how long should you brush?
Any brushing is helpful!!!
A goal for the body would be daily for a minimum of 10 minutes.
A goal for just the breasts would be daily for a minimum of 5 minutes.
But please remember that 15 seconds of brushing is better than no brushing!
About Brenda Oglesby
I started my body worker journey at age 45 when I became a massage therapist. And in 2015 at age 55 I moved to Santa Barbara California to study lymphatic therapy with Allen Mills, a master and innovator of lymphatic therapy. He had revolutionized women's breast health by applying lymphatic therapy to the breasts. His protocol taught the light touch Vodder style incorporating the state of the art Lymphstar machine. This old and new world melding offers superior lymphatic therapy to the body and especially the breasts. I specialize in Women's breast health and mold illness. Other than that I do general lymphatic therapy assisting clients with most health concerns. I enthusiastically teach clients along the way about their lymphatic system and how to support it through dry brushing and detoxification practices. I also had additional lymphatic training with Chickly Health Institute.
My 16 year old Pug, Bosley, and I have relocated to be close to family and we now reside in Newport Beach California. My practice is called Lymphatic Therapy Newport Beach.
Outside of my busy practice the things I enjoy are: Travel, good and innovative food, my Peloton, meditation, family time and (dont tell anyone) but I have a few reality TV shows that I love to watch.