How does dry brushing help the immune system?
Most of us grew up with a bar of soap and a washcloth for washing up. But did you know there is actually a better way to cleanse and nourish our skin not only for appearance but for our overall health and wellness too? It’s as simple as dry brushing.
Dry brushing is a popular topic right now. It kept popping up in my news feed until I decided it was time to take a closer look and see how it could benefit me with my rheumatoid arthritis as well as the rest of my family. Honestly I thought it was kinda weird at first but seeing as your skin is the largest organ of your body, it was worth looking into.
Not only does dry brushing help shed dead skin cells and other impurities, it promotes cell rejuvenation, improves moisture balance (so it helps dry AND oily skin), and softens and improves your skin’s texture, but get this – it may help break down fatty deposits under the skin and reduce appearance of cellulite. If you tend to get ingrown hairs on your legs, dry brushing can help.
Dry Brushing feels great and definitely helps reduce stress and boost energy. Maybe it’s the increase in circulation, maybe it’s the wonderful essential oil aromas, whatever the reason it has been a great start to my day.
But the benefits of dry brushing go way beyond this.
We’ll go into the how it works in a minute – but check out these additional benefits of dry brushing that should make everyone take note, but especially anyone with health issues:
When we dry brush, we increase blood circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system both of which are extremely helpful for a healthy immune system. It also supports detoxification actions of our internal organs (think liver, kidneys….) I take a weekly medication that is very tough on my liver, so this definitely caught my attention.
Some of you are probably wondering how our circulatory and lymphatic system make a difference with our immune system. Don’t feel bad, I had to do some studying too.
What is the lymphatic system?
Lymph is a fluid in our circulatory system that contains white blood cells (hence its involvement with our immune system) Lymph picks up things like bacteria, toxins and other waste and filters it through the lymph nodes where the bacteria is destroyed.
The lymphatic system primarily consists of lymphatic vessels, which are similar to the circulatory system’s veins and capillaries. The vessels are connected to lymph nodes, where the lymph is filtered. The tonsils, adenoids, spleen and thymus are all part of the lymphatic system. It works with the circulatory system to make sure your body’s tissues can get what they need and get rid of what they don’t need. For people with issues like me, it’s vitally important that we are ridding our bodies of toxins. As an added bonus, we’re helping our whacked out immune systems function better too.
What brushes do I use?
I choose a firm, natural bristle brush set with 3 different brush options. It comes with a long handle, which allows me to reach my entire back as well as a facial brush that is much softer for gentle use on the face. I purchased mine from Amazon*.
So how do you Dry Brush?
Dry brushing is done preferably in the morning before showering. Start with a light touch – it should hurt! Soft pressure is all you need! Work up to a firmer brush and more firm pressure over time.
To start with, brush your feet and up legs in long, smooth strokes. I typically brush each section of skin 4-5 times. Always brush toward the heart/chest area where the lymph system drains. Repeat the same process with the arms, starting with the palms of the hands and brushing up the arm toward the heart, repeating 4-5 times.
Brush the abdomen in a circular clockwise motion and avoid sensitive areas 😉 On the neck and chest, brush towards the lymph nodes in the arm pits. For the back, move from the buttocks up to the shoulder blades. (Adapted from wellness mama)
Adding essential oils to the dry brush process gives us added benefits. I simply add a drop or two of oil to the palm of my hand and run the brush over it to coat the bristles. You have lots of options of which oils to use. They can help relieve stress, ease anxious feelings, further stimulate and support the lymphatic system and naturally increase your energy. Plus oils smell amazing. Just make sure you are not using any essential oils that have a carrier oil in them. THe essential oils evaporate off the bristles, the carrier will not and can mess up the brush.
Essential oils for dry brushing:
- Circulatory Support: Cypress, Peppermint, Eucalyptus
- Lymphatic Support: Lemon, Wild Orange, Frankincense
- Skin Health: Lavender, Tea Tree, Frankincense, Myrrh
After you brush
After you dry brush, bathe or shower and then make sure to moisturize – but choose your moisturizer wisely. We don’t want to counter all the good dry brushing can do by putting harsh or harmful chemicals on our skin afterward! Make sure to be a label reader!
What’s your favorite part about dry brushing?