One of the cheapest most effective ways to #movethatlymph for lymphedema self management is dry brushing. I personally started dry brushing in 2015 and love it.
This is a technique using soft strokes against the skin to stimulate your lymphatic system with a body brush. It is not skin exfoliation, but rather a unique, gentle twist on performing self manual lymphatic drainage. Another potential tool in our lymphedema toolbox which may or may not work for you.
Skincare is of upmost importance with lymphedema. This short blog post is my personal patient perspective followed up with two references to professionals with expertise in the lymphatic world.
I also answer a hidden trivia question posted on my page. See if you can find it.
Patient to Patient Tips
You can buy a dry brush at any drug store or big box retailer for less than $10. It is best to feel it first. I once bought an expensive brush online, and it was very coarse. What might feel coarse to me may not feel coarse to you, so find a brush you like and then reorder online when you have to replace it.
You want your brush to be soft and non abrasive enough to use on your skin every morning or as frequently as needed.
I have had many types. Some with the long handle and some with no handle. I’m a short person, and for some reason I find the ones with the handle very cumbersome because my arms are not very long. Your preference might be different. I love the round brush with no handle.
Lymphedema Dry Brushing
It is generally recommended to do first thing in the morning before showering and donning your compression. However, some people who shower at night may dry brush then too. Remember to moisturize afterwards.
Most people start at their feet. The difference for me is I would start brushing to clear the trunk first, just like your Certified Lymphedema Therapist would for manual lymphatic drainage and follow the same pathways but with the brush instead of your hands.
Do it very lightly. In this instance, less pressure is more.
Professional How To
Below you will find two medical professional resources from incredibly knowledgeable people in the lymphatic community. I am honored to know both of them personally and have had both speak in my groups to share their expertise.
One is for those of us who are visual learners, and the other is for those of us who prefer a book. Use either or both resources like I do!
Check out Natural Health Resources YouTube Channel for videos on lymphatic dry brushing and its benefits.
Dr. Melissa Gallagher is a naturopathic doctor who shares a variety of videos, some of which relate directly to the lymphatic system.
There’s a chapter on dry brushing and more tips on self management of swelling. Another book is the Lipedema Treatment Guide.
Dry Brush Maintenance
Since you are sloughing dead skin cells off your body, you need a proper brush maintenance schedule. I had to look up recommendations.
Cleaning The Brush
“..After each dry brush, spritz the bristles with an organic tea tree spray and leave to hang in a well ventilated area. For a great clean, wash in hot soapy water with a Tea Tree Oil Soap once a week and leave in the sun to dry or a well ventilated area, with bristles facing down.”
Replace brushes every 6-12 months.
Cleaning Schedule Guide
“As a guide, if you dry brush daily, it is best to clean your brush once a week.
If you dry brush every 2nd to 3rd day, it is best to clean your brush once a fortnight and if you dry brush once a week, it is best to clean your brush once a month.” (Via bodecare.com)
I hope you found the above quick blog post useful, or at the very least have a starting point to look further into it. If you are an existing dry brush user, share your tips in the comments below.
Wishing you great lymphatic health,
#drybrush #drybrushing #bodycare #lymphaticdrainage #lymphedema #lymph #lymphedemaawareness #lymphiestrong #movethatlymph