One of the most effective ways to stimulate the lymphatic system and detoxify the body is dry skin brushing. It was Dr Robert Gray, a renowned nutritional counsellor and herbalist, who included skin brushing as an important part of the protocol to his his intestinal cleansing program. In this program, Dr Gray recommended at least 4 to 5 minutes of full body skin brushing a day to purge the lymphatic system.
Body skin brushing is a very effective way of enabling the lymphatic system to clear itself and expel waste material which has been held for a long time inside the body. The skin is the largest organ of elimination in the body and when it is congested and sluggish, an enormous burden is placed on the other organs of elimination such as the bowels, lungs and kidneys.
This simple technique tones up the whole internal system, helps to improve digestion, aids the metabolism and gives new levels of energy, while helping to correct inflammation of the lymph nodes.
The technique is almost a mild form of acupressure and acupuncture without piercing the skin. The dry friction of the brush on the skin stimulates the circulation and produces a warm glow. In fact, some natural health practitioners suggest that 5 minutes of body brushing a day is equivalent to a 30 minute run!
It is very important to use a special kind of brush, preferably a Robert Gray brush, which has hard and scratchy natural bristles which are sourced from natural cactus fibres. The first time you use a body brush it may feel rather scratchy and uncomfortable. If yours scratches you too much, soak it for a few hours in the bathroom basin, they let it dry overnight. It will then be soft enough to use.
In order to be effective, the strokes you apply to the skin have to be firm and long. Start with light pressure and gradually build up until your skin becomes used to the sensation. For the best results, skin brushing must be kept up for several months.
Step by step guide to daily whole body brushing:
(Always brush in the direction of the heart and brush before taking a bath or shower)
- Remove the long handle and slide your hand under the strap attached to the brush. Start by brushing your fingers and hands. Spread your fingers and brush between each finger a few times. Brush on top of the hands and then the palms.
- Next do your arms. Brush in long strokes from the wrists to the elbow and then from the elbow to the shoulder.
- Now move to your toes and feet. Place one foot on the edge of your tub and brush across the tops of the toes. Brush the soles of the feet and then around the ankles. Remember to use firm, long strokes.
- Brush the leg up to the knee, front and back of the calf and then from the knee up the thigh to the buttocks. Repeat this on the other leg.
- If you are prone to constipation, very gently brush over the abdomen in a clockwise direction. Reduce the pressure in this area. Do not brush the abdomen if you suffer from IBS or related intestinal conditions.
- Move up to the neck and shoulders. Brush downwards from the head to the shoulders, front and back.
- You could also help to activate the lymph nodes in the armpit by holding the brush and rotating it seven times to the left and seven times to the right.
- Avoid brushing over the nipples, but you can brush over the breasts using lighter pressure.9
- Using the long handle of the brush, brush the back using long, firm strokes.
- Apply an average of 15 brush strokes in each section.