When most people think of detoxing everyday they think of drinking a smoothie that will cleanse their system. Ironically, smoothies aren’t the best way to detox. Eating a diet that’s well-rounded and rich in organ meats, inspired by Weston A. Price or the Paleo food movement, will help us to be nourished and our detoxification organs to work well from a nutritional standpoint. But what else can we do to bolster the systems designed for detoxification, helping them to perform more efficiently?
DETOXIFICATION BATHS AND DRY BRUSHING
Detox baths provide emotional, mental, and physical benefits! Dry brushing, too, enlivens and helps the body to heal.
Let’s find out how to assist our lymphatic system with these two practices, when it gets bogged down!
TAKING CARE OF OUR LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
Our body’s cells and tissues are cleansed by our lymphatic system, a complex network of nodes, glands and vessels. This noble purveyor is the janitor that transports toxins and waste to our filtering organs where the toxins are eliminated: our liver, kidneys and skin.
This system, reaching from cell to organ, can get backlogged over time. To take care of our lymphatic system we need to stimulate lymph circulation.
There are two ways I’ll discuss in this article, (although there are additional methods), to stimulate the lymphatic system, to promote detoxification in the body. One has become very popular recently, and for good reason. It is dry brushing. The other is using seaweed in your bathwater.
Dry brushing dates back hundreds of years to Russia and Scandinavia.
Inexpensive brushes, with long-handled attachments for reaching your back, can be purchased, specifically designed with dry brushing in mind.
(Where to Buy A Body Brush for Dry Brushing)
The daily sweeping ritual stimulates your lymphatic system. The natural bristles do feel rough when you start the process but they are gentle enough not to scratch your skin. Subtle white marks may be left behind; but your skin will also be very soft and not require moisturizers. Personally I have found this to be a wonderful fringe benefit.
Our skin is the last organ of the body to heal, the last to receive nutrients; yet it is a critical organ for expelling the body’s waste. The process of dry brushing sluffs off dead skin cells that are filled with toxins, which helps lower the body’s toxic load.
Brushing starts at the extremities, the feet and then the hands, and moves toward the heart. It is advised to start gently and over time, brush with a firmer, deeper sweep. By stroking toward the heart the lymphatic flow is improved, moving through the veins.
Here’s my favorite short video that shows exactly how to dry brush. Please take a moment while you’re there to like my Facebook page.
Seaweed powder helps to detoxify the body by stimulating the lymphatic system. It also brings daily, noticeable relief from arthritis, and longer-lasting relief from aches and pains, as well as skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
How does seaweed powder do this? Our bodies absorb the trace minerals, especially iodine, which promotes detoxification by stimulating the thyroid. The vitamin K absorbed bolsters our adrenal glands, balancing hormones. Amino acids in seaweed alleviate inflammation.
Seaweed also has an electromagnetic current that helps congested cells to break down and eliminate fatty toxins and to release excess fluid. This drainage is energizing, helping the body to fend off illness and reduce stress.
(Where to Buy Seaweed Bath Powder)
MORE GOOD NEWS
Both dry brushing and seaweed baths help to extract and expel fat and toxins that get trapped in connective tissue, what we commonly call cellulite!
And seaweed alone boasts many healing properties, utilized throughout the world: it aids in killing off the flu virus, can beautify hair, improves muscle tone and heart health, and helps with skin tone and acne.
DETOX BATH RECIPE
Detoxification baths are what motivated me to write this article in the first place. They are often overlooked in our busy lives. When I asked Facebook readers if they preferred showers or baths, every single person answered showers- except me!
Baths make me slow down. I can’t work when I’m in the bath. And the moment I sink into that super hot water, SO much stress is released.
Including seaweed, let’s talk about what ideally goes into a detox bath.
Here are your potential ingredients:
- Baking soda (What’s it do and how much exactly to use?)
- Epsom or mineral salts (Read: Epsom Salt Baths Improve Health; and How to Take A Detox Bath)
- 4 T. seaweed powder, or ½ as much for a child’s bath (Here’s a great brand.)
- 3-4 drops lavender essential oil (where to buy quality lavender essential oil) for headaches and mental/emotional relief or 3-4 drops clove essential oil (where to buy quality clove essential oil) to help draw toxins to your skin where they can then be pulled out
Dissolve 1-2 of these ingredients in really hot bath water, comfortable but very hot. Soak in the tub for ideally 40 minutes, until the water cools off.
The HOT water pulls toxins to the skin’s surface. The cooler water expels the toxins.
WHAT’S THE DAILY RITUAL LOOK LIKE?
Every morning I dry brush. It takes 5 minutes and the increased circulation helps to invigorate and wake me up. (I can’t emphasize enough how emotionally and physically helpful dry brushing is in terms of getting me started each day.)
You can shower, optionally, after dry brushing, to wash away the dead skin cells that have been exfoliated.
4-7 nights a week I make time for a detoxification bath, which is recommended if you are trying to heal from any major health issues.
Both of these daily practices will help flush toxins from your system, one important step in healing and supporting optimum health.
Mary Light via Facebook says
We have taught dry skin brushing as a self care and self lymphatic massage for over 6 years at our traditional naturopathic school. The process is also a super skin care habit for the largest organ of elimination in our body- the skin, as it exfoliates dead cells and other matter. I don’t even really see the need to call it “detox”, (which is a concept that has it’s place, but frankly is being over-used and sometimes misunderstood). This process assists our body in it’s own natural elminative functions- i think everyone should have their own dru skin brush and use it daily! It is definitely a form of accessible self care for wellness and also to enhance and strengthen the entire immune system.
Lisa Fonseca via Facebook says
I agree Mary Light…or even a wet one for tub & shower use
Mary Light via Facebook says
Yes both a wet and a dry- I have both! Havent tried the seaweed brushing but maybe I will with some kelp powder or something.
I scour my liver and kidneys with a steel-wool pad on a daily basis.
Raine Saunders says
I agree that it seems the idea of detox has become almost like another fad where folks think they need to buy products or cleanses to do it. I do think it’s important to detox everyday, keeping in mind everything we put in, near, and on our bodies. I laughed when I read the part about drinking a smoothie because I know folks who do things of this nature, and then assume they can simply return to poor eating and lifestyle habits because the smoothie (or other detox choice) has just wiped their sins away.
I love dry brushing. I’ve been doing it for almost 2 years and I would not be without my brush. The only time I have stopped using it is during the very cold winter months when I really cannot stand to be naked because I am so chilly. Otherwise, I do it faithfully on most days. It feels SO good and I especially love dry brushing before going to the mineral hot springs we visit in a neighboring community. My family has been attempting to do this at least once a month. I would like to try seaweed brushing, that’s new to me!
Thanks for sharing this great information Megan, and to Kristen for posting it! 🙂
Megan Stevens says
We, too, need to get to our neighboring hot springs! My husband just brought this up. I’ve never been! Thanks for your comments!
Raine Irving Saunders via Facebook says
I love Megan’s blog! And I love detox baths and dry brushing!
Megan Stevens says
Thanks, Raine! 🙂
Chantelle @ naked cuisine says
I love my nightly detox baths, definitely my favourite ritual. Curious what kind of seaweed is in the powder? Could I just blend up some dulse and get the same effects?
Megan Stevens says
Bladderwrack is the seaweed most commonly used for seaweed baths. But my favorite product by Aalgo is a combination of seaweeds. Mountain Rose Herbs does sell bulk bladderwrack powder if you are interested.
As a Korean American, I’ve always been exposed to ttaemiri – which is sloughing the dead skin cells off your skin with a textured sponge/cloth for a better blood circulation and for beautiful skin during showers/baths, or when you go to mokyoktang (public baths/spas with many hot tubs with different herb, etc.) or onchone (hot springs). This is usually done once a week in Korea. Since Americans don’t have this culture, while growing up, I would fight this ritual with my mom and listened carefully about some Koreans saying if ttaemiri is done too often, it can make your skin dry. However, I could actually see the difference in my skin whenever I got it done. So, I started loving it.
As for using seaweed for baths, Koreans have been doing this for baths and facials. Korean moms also have a ton of miyukgook (seaweed soup) for detoxing and strength right after they give birth.
I don’t discredit traditions and wisdom of centuries anymore, because some must have been passed down for a logical reason. Some people just dismiss all traditions if it’s not been tested scientifically in Western sense, so I’m happy to hear this from you! I’d better get back to my roots and do this more regularly!
Megan Stevens says
Thank you, Haena, for sharing your insights and experiences. SO true that traditions are most often in place for good reason and infused with wisdom. I enjoyed hearing the specifics of yours.
I love dry body brushing! I started doing this a couple of years ago, and while I don’t remember to do it every day, its great for those days where I haven’t done much exercise. Really gets the circulation going again!!
Megan Stevens says
I agree, Rebecca. I can feel the difference, even while I’m brushing.
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