I always thought that those brushes with long wooden handles were meant for scrubbing the elusive part of your back not reachable by your hands. Or in my case, barely reachable by my long monkey arms. I have used a natural bristle brush or raw silk gloves before bathing or showering for a few years to improve my body’s detoxification processes. If you have had issues like cholestasis of pregnancy, liver issues, pregnancy induced hypertension/preeclampsia, allergies, skin rashes, or hormonal imbalances, you could probably use a bit of help as well in this department.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda place much more importance on lymph than Western medicine. We hardly talked about the lymphatic system in nursing school aside from one lecture on its role in cancer metastasis. The fluid that flows through small canals in your body and your lymph nodes to assist in waste disposal from your bodies tissues is called lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system does not have much to propel the fluid to move like your heart and veins do for the blood your cardiovascular system. We need to make efforts to move it ourselves to be sure things are flowing properly.
There are only a few ways we clear out toxins and waste: pee, poo, sweat, vomit, and lymph. I got a massage one time years ago that released so much stuff from my muscles and other tissues that I had to stop the massage to go vomit and vomited through entire the rest of the day. I did not understand until years later that this was my body, my lymphatic system in particular, not being able to quickly clear out the waste that was being released during the massage. Thus it found an alternative route. Very clever.
Dry brushing and salt scrubs also help unclog your pores so you can more easily release toxins through sweat. I have a few bodyworker friends who suggest sauna or use salt scrubs to prepare the body to clear and release toxins more effectively dry brushing and salt scrubs also help unclog your pores so you can more easily release toxins through sweat. Proper hydration is also a very overlooked method of clearing out toxins, so don’t forget to drink extra water if you are looking to be more effective in your detoxification.
Other ways you can stimulate lymphatic movement: rebounding/trampolining for more than just a couple of minutes, yoga inversions (legs up the wall pose, shoulder stand or headstand for 10 minutes or more if you know how to safely do inversions), or just being physically active. One important warning for those who have/had cancer: work with a qualified practitioner with cancer experience. These lymph support practices can cause cancer to spread more quickly if not used with care and professional guidance.
Whatever method suits you best, try to stick with it regularly if you are hoping to see long-term benefits. You might consider including some of these practices in your routines and rituals, which are so critical to overall nervous system stability (https://www.embodiedintegrativewellness.com/post/routines-rituals-as-spiritual-emotional-medicine) Bath time routines in particular can feel so grounding when you have been putting other priorities like a new baby ahead of your self care. Even if you are not into the lymph detoxification thing so much, just creating a luxurious ritual like a body scrub every day will bring you a lot of wellness if you stick with it.
Should you need help with wellness issues related to the subject of this post, send me a message and we can schedule a time for a free consult about what you want to achieve and how I can help.
Lauren is a registered nurse and herbal consultant specializing in depression and anxiety during and after pregnancy. She supports people with pre or postpartum depression and anxiety through one on one coaching, classes, and online resources to create a support system through the use of herbs, trauma release work, and other body based techniques.