Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The C-Word: Bouncing, Body-Brushing and Your Lymphatic System

If you have cancer - or almost any chronic illness - you owe it to yourself to try body-brushing. It's a cheap, simple way to make your skin and lymph nodes more effective at eliminating toxins and producing vitamin d3. Your skin is your body's largest organ and, when working properly, eliminates 25% of the toxins in your body every day. In natural medicine, your skin is called your "second kidney" for its importance in clearing fluids and wastes from your body.

If you are simply a healthy person, it also strengthens your immune system, increases circulation, reduces cellulite, gets rid of ingrown hairs and blocked pores and exfoliates for the softest, smoothest skin you ever felt. The other benefit is that many people find the process meditative, restorative and energizing, all in one.

dry brushing or body brushing can smooth away orange peel skin and help heal cancer

Think of it this way, any dead or dry skin cells on the surface of the skin block the healthy ones from light and oxygen so it's harder for your skin to produce the vitamin d it needs to keep you healthy. Also, by stimulating the skin, you stimulate the lymph system which is a highly-sensitive series of tiny tubes that lie just beneath the surface, transporting waste from your tissues to your blood for elimination. When your lymph system is inflamed or blocked, you are more likely to develop disease.

So here's how you start - you go to your local health food store or bath and body place or online amazon or thrive market - and a buy a natural fiber body brush. Mine tend to cost between $6 and $12 and last about a year. It is should be firm and a bit scratchy-feeling, though NOT TOO STIFF because the idea is not to rub yourself raw. For your first body brush, I'd suggest one that is slightly softer so you ease into it. This is the one I started with.

In the morning, before your shower, you strip down and start brushing at your feet. Remember this is DRY brushing. You do it before you are wet. Don't use any oils or products on your skin, it's just you and the brush. The idea is to always brush towards your heart, from bottom to top. Brush each foot, top and bottom, from the toe to the top of the foot and up your leg to your thigh. Stop there and brush the other leg.
Drybrushing for the lymphatic system
A simple map for drybrushing

You then brush the abdomen, personally, I follow the direction of the colon to also help with my digestion. If you do a search online, you'll see amazing before and after pictures of loose or puffy tummy skin being tightened up with regular brushing. Brush briskly so that your skin feels stimulated but not irritated. You can get a long-handled brush for your back.

Some people suggest brushing in small circles around your joints to loosen the fascia and release tension and toxins there.

If you have bad acne, I've read suggestions of a soft brush for the face - and seen incredible before and after images, but I have never tried it. You would need to wash your brush with soap and water regularly to avoid spreading bacteria.

Take a shower after the brushing and massage your skin with sweet almond oil as that helps soothe and heal the skin. Then apply any body lotion or product you like (but try to stay away from the junk, no matter how good it smells). You've just strengthened the moisture barrier on your skin so you're pretty protected now.

So what about the bounce?

If you are getting chemotherapy or radiation - your skin may be too sensitive for much brushing. I know mine felt thin and irritated all the time. Chinese medicine practitioners suggest using a rebounder - or a simple mini-trampoline - to keep the lymphatic drainage going.

daily rebounding can also be useful for cancer patients
This is equally easy and simple. You get on it once or twice a day and bounce gently for 10 minutes, more if you feel like it. You don't need to get really vigorous, it's not gymnastics. If your balance is off or you feel shaky, you can put the rebounder next to the sofa or a heavy piece of furniture to hold on to, or buy one with a handle. Shift your weight from one leg to the other and you will also help increase your bone density and improve your balance.

The motion of your body also helps stimulate the lymphatic system. I've read account of people with lymphoma who incorporate rebounding along with juicing and avoiding sugar animal products who have lumps and tumors resolve themselves with no other intervention. It's worth a try.

If you want to get fancy, try a powerplate. Just standing on one of these vibrating platforms for 2 to 4 minutes, twice a day, not only stimulates the lymph, it strengthens your muscles and increases your bone density which is very useful when aging, chemotherapy or radiation can make your bones porous.

Cancer especially seems to affect the lymph system - whether it's lymphoma, breast cancer or thyroid cancer - so any or all of these are worth adding to your healing or protective arsenal.