Dry Brush During Postpartum For Lymph Drainage and Increased Circulation?
Updated: Mar 12, 2021
I was introduced to dry brushing when I was caring for a newly postpartum mama who was dealing with an uncomfortable swelling in her feet and ankles. She used the dry brush technique to promote circulation and decrease discomfort the swelling caused. She said it made her feel refreshed and temporarily relieved the tension in her feet and ankles.
Dry brushing has been around for thousands of years and is practiced all over the world from the Ancient Greeks and Romans, to the First People of America, as well as Scandinavian Countries, Japan and India just to name a few.
There are many claims about what dry brushing can accomplish. For this article, we're focused on the benefits to our circulation and our lymphatic system. In an article written for Doctors Health Press, Jon Yaneff, CNP writes "there are several benefits to lymphatic drainage massage, for instance, it stimulates the circulation of blood and lymph, and this moves tissue fluid into the lymph vessels from the tissues." He goes on to say "Research shows that lymphatic drainage massage can push up to 78% of stagnant lymph into circulation. One particular study from 2009 showed that lymphatic drainage massage led to significant improvements in pain intensity, pain pressure threshold, and health-related quality of life in women with primary fibromyalgia. As a result, lymph drainage massage can help remove toxins and wastes from the tissues."
So, what is the lymphatic system anyway? And.. what does it do?
Integrative Gastroenterologist, Marvin Singh, M.D. uses an easy to understand description of the lymph and lymphatic system in his article 'The Lymphatic System: What It Does — And How To Keep Yours Healthy'. Dr Singh says; [What is lymph?] "..lymph is a fluid that has no color, and it contains white blood cells, which are our key immune cells. Lymph covers the tissues in our body, and it has its own drainage system, which is called the lymphatic system. There is an intricate system of lymph capillaries (basically small little drainage pipes) that collects all the fluid that occupies the spaces between different tissues in the body. Those little capillaries connect to larger pipes, called lymph vessels, which lead to lymph nodes... In the lymph nodes, the lymph fluid is cleaned by a special kind of white blood cell called a lymphocyte. After that happens, what is left drains into [the subclavian veins]. Then the fluid mixes in with the blood, and circulation proceeds, and the whole process repeats itself.."
So let's get to it. Here are the why's, when's and how's of dry brushing;
•The relaxing nature of the technique can relieve stress and tension in the body.
•It can promote circulation.
•It can reduce uncomfortable swelling of legs and feet postpartum caused by excess water retention.
•It feels nice and is a good way to feel pampered during your birth recovery, especially if your partner does it for you. WHEN:
•Just before a bath or a shower
HOW: • See the video below for a detailed demonstration of how to dry brush - including professional instructions for the proper way to move the brush, which areas to brush and why, how many times for each area, etc. Dr Beck also details when not to dry brush and why. There are a ton of different types of dry brushes on the market. A quick search will pull up hundreds. What ultimately works for you is a matter of personal preference. Here's my Amazon affiliates page where you can see three possible styles to get you started: Postpartum Recovery & Care - Dry Brushing
•Take a cool bath or shower to rinse off the dead skin cells and refresh your newly brushed skin.
•Rehydrate after your cool bath or shower with your favorite moisturizer.
•Drink a glass of water with your favorite citrus squeezed into it; think lemon or lime.
ALWAYS: Consult your doctor whenever you have concerns about your health, your body, or when you start a new health regimen. This is always true but especially during your 4th trimester as you recover from birth.
NEVER: Dry brush skin that is broken, sore, irritated, or sensitive.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.