Dry Brushing, An Ancient Ayurvedic Method
- Stimulating the lymphatic system
- Exfoliating the skin
- Helping the body rid itself of toxins
- Increasing circulation & energy
- Exfoliation in helping to break down cellulite
What is the lymphatic system?The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials. The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body.
How dry brushing works?Dry brushing works by exfoliating the skin. It is best practice to use a dry brush with coarse, natural-fiber bristles and following a particular pattern in dry brushing the skin. The idea is that the coarse fibers will help remove dead skin and improve the skin’s ability to eliminate toxins through the pores. The lymphatic system helps your body fight off infections. Fluids flow through the system and are filtered through the lymph nodes. If you’re sick or exposed to a lot of toxins, the system may become backed up and clogged. That is why your lymph nodes often become swollen when you have a cold. Dry brushing is thought to help the body release toxins through sweat. The course bristles on the brush stimulate the pores and open them up. This makes it easier for the body to sweat, which in turns reduces the amount of toxins flowing through the lymphatic system. The practice of dry brushing alongside riding in the Hot Room, will increase the detoxification benefits of training in the Hot Room.
Steps on how to dry brush
First, it is important to understand where lymph nodes are located within the body, as the direction of dry brushing is in relation to lymph node location.
For the purpose of dry brushing, you will focus on the lymph nodes located at the neck, armpits, groin, elbows and behind the knees.
All dry brushing is done in the direction towards the lymph nodes.
It is a good idea to dry brush first thing in the morning, before showering. Begin at your feet and work your way up to your torso.
The point of dry brushing is to encourage lymph toward your upper torso and chest, where the lymphatic fluid will re-enter the bloodstream: You always want to follow the circulatory system. You will take the legs in sections. Start with the top of the feet, then target the lower leg, the knee, and the thigh. When you work on the back of the thigh, treat the butt as an extension of your thigh and continue upward onto the small of your back. As for your stomach, some recommend making circular motions (it’s thought to aid in digestion, but there’s no proof that’s the case) while others prefer long strokes. You can find what feels right for you.
Beginning from your feet, use gentle upward strokes. The strokes should be medium pressure—you want to feel something happening without irritating the skin. Long strokes are the best since you are trying to push up lymph fluid, and that requires a delicate and rhythmic touch. You’ll also want to do each pass more than once and overlap sections while brushing. Think of it like moving along each limb like a spiral staircase. Along bends (like your joints) or smaller areas, you will switch to shorter, quicker movements.
Once you reach your upper body, start with the hands and go across toward the heart. Do a similar routine as you did with the legs: Brush the back of your hands, work around the forearm, and then around the upper arm. Be mindful to treat under the upper arms with extra attention, as that’s where many lymph nodes are (as a rule of thumb, you’ll want to always pay attention to areas with lymph nodes).
Finish up with the neck and décolletage. You’ll want to be extra gentle in this area, as it’s more delicate skin. Also, here you’re deviating from the bottom-up technique—as you are above heart level. Start at the jawline and move down toward your chest. Finish by going over your heart in a circular motion to end your routine. Purchase your dry brush here!