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Dry Brushing For Lymphatic Stimulation

Humans have been practicing lymphatic skin brushing with a dry brush or sponge for over 5,000 years. Evidence of bathing with sponges made of dried gourd fibers (loofah) or brushes to remove dead skin, dirt and oil, has been found throughout the ancient ancient world, including Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia, Russia, India, Japan, China and Native America. We hope this simple and meditative technique will be a welcome addition to your self care rituals.

Man prepares for the shower with a dry bristle brush

The lymphatic system is an organ system on the surface of the body just under the skin. It is part of our immune system and our circulatory system. The lymph system, as part of the immune system, assists in keeping body fluid levels in balance and defends against invasion of virus, bacteria and cancer cells. There are six lymphatic organs including bone marrow, thymus gland, lymph nodes, spleen, tonsils, and mucus membranes.

Regular practice of dry brushing is said to improve skin texture by removing dead skin cells from gentle exfoliation, detox the body through lymphatic stimulation, increased circulation and blood flow, relieve stress by calming the nervous system, improve digestion through balancing water retention, and balance hormones by encouraging cell renewal.

You will want to make dry brushing part of your daily self personal rituals, especially if you don’t exercise regularly, if you suffer from reoccurring infections or if you get sick easily, if you have cancer, or if you have swelling or cellulite. Encouraging regular lymphatic drainage with the use of a dry body brush helps remove toxins throughout the entire body.

Adequate water consumption, dry brushing and rebounding are the best ways to daily keep your lymphatic system primed.

Please consider the following list for additional lymph support:

  • Lymphatic massage
  • Infrared sauna
  • Lymphatic acupuncture
  • Compression
  • Deep breathing
  • Exercise (any movement assists the lymph!)

Dry Brushing Technique

Download Our Dry Brushing Worksheet HERE

Dry body brushing for lymphatic support

Dry brushing is best done on dry skin with no body oil or body lotion, and done before a bath or shower. Avoid areas where your skin is sensitive or broken. Pressure should be firm, but not so firm that you cause irritation to your skin. If you have particularly sensitive skin, start by using a soft natural sponge or wash cloth. In our opinion, the best dry brush is made of natural bristles (usually boar bristle), which are generally softer bristles than synthetic brushes, but still firm enough to provide adequate exfoliation for dry body brushing.

Starting with the extremities and working towards the heart center, complete each step on the left side then the right side of the body. Using light pressure, and being careful of any sensitive areas, complete each stroke six times on each side.

HAND Brush each finger individually, then the palm using a circular motion. Brush the back of the hand from the fingertips to the wrist. Brush around the wrist in both directions.
ARM Brush from the wrist to the elbow on each surface of the arm (front, back, inside, outside). Move up the arm and repeat for the are between the elbow and the shoulder.

JAW Brush from the base of the skull along the jawline and down over the collarbone.
NECK Brush at the base of the back of the neck, up over the shoulder along the base of the neck and down to just below the base of the throat.
ARMPIT Brush clockwise and then counter clockwise
BACK Reaching over the shoulder brush from the middle of the spine up over the shoulder blade.

FOOT Brush in small, vigorous circular strokes on the bottom of the feet to the toes. Brush the top of the foot from the toe to the ankle over the top, left and right sides. Brush back and forth around the ankle six times.
LEG Brush from ankle to knee on all sides of the leg six times. Repeat for the area above the knee as many strokes as needed to brush all areas of the thigh.
BUTTOCK Begin the stroke where the cheek meets the top of the thigh. Move up and over the hip to the groin.
LOWER BACK Stroke from the bottom of the spine up to the bottom of the shoulder blades, or as high as you can reach. Do this for the center, left and right sides of the lower back.
LOWER BODY For the area between the hip and the pubic bone, create small circular strokes, moving away from the center line of the body, moving out toward the side of the body.

ABDOMEN Start at the naval and move the brush clockwise in a circle that widens to include the whole stomach. Reverse from the outside, in.
SIDE Brush side from hip bone to armpit.
CHEST Brush above breast from breast bone to armpit. Brush below the breast to the sternum to armpit.

Remember to drink plenty of water to keep flushing the system after dry brushing.