Lymph love: skin brushing.

With all the cold-weather bugs flying around the northern hemisphere these days, it’s nice to take care of our overworked lymphatic systems.

Since the circulating lymph doesn’t have its own pump like the blood does, we need to help it along by moving around and stretching our muscles (walking and dancing are great lymph-movers).

You can also help stagnant lymphatic fluid get moving by vigorously brushing your skin. Now, you may find all kinds of complicated instructions for skin brushing around the interwebs, but it’s really not that hard. Just take something rough but not too irritating — like a dry loofah, a natural-bristle brush, or a coarse washcloth — and rub your skin vigorously, in little circles, from the ends of your body toward your heart.

It only takes a couple of minutes, and it feels really great. (For me, it can make a huge difference in my energy level, especially on cold, sluggish mornings.)

One thing: do it before you shower or bathe, not after. (Skin is usually a little too sensitive for vigorous rubbing after contact with hot water.)


  1. Delphyne said,

    November 5, 2009 @ 12:45 pm

    Great advice – I’ll remember to do this before showering! Thanks!

  2. leslie postin said,

    November 5, 2009 @ 2:25 pm

    very good information rebecca and good reminder to love your lymph system during this cold and flu season:)

  3. aurah said,

    November 5, 2009 @ 6:59 pm

    or get a friend or partner to give you a gentle, loving skin (not muscle) massage! that, plus sweat-inducing tea, worked wonders on my flu yesterday

  4. Lyon Mercaeant said,

    November 6, 2009 @ 6:43 am

    Interesting idea, thank you for the information. =) I find yoga works wonders, I wonder about yoga, then skin brushing then a hot shower. Sounds like major stress relief to me!

  5. StarkRavingMom said,

    November 6, 2009 @ 8:42 pm

    so glad whenever a new post pops up here. Your blog is beautiful and so thoughtful.

  6. Holly said,

    November 8, 2009 @ 10:19 am


  7. Rebecca said,

    November 8, 2009 @ 11:07 am

    Ditto, too!

    Lyon: Yoga then skin brushing then a hot shower is my favourite morning routine ever!!! (If I’m not being lazy I’ll also do some deep breathing meditation before the yoga part and then I’m on top of the world… even dealing with LA drivers is alright after that…)

    And now I have flu I completely forgot about it, so thanks for the reminder 😉

  8. Jan S. said,

    November 10, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

    I agree with StarkRavingMom. Nice to see a new post and a good one at that.

  9. Gail Harbers said,

    April 21, 2010 @ 7:05 am


    Have just read your articles on Poke Berries – so interesting. I have just qualified as a Vodder MLD Therapist, so know how important the lymph system is (website to be built but name bought – Love Your Lymph)! However, as I’m in the UK wondered if I could obtain poke berries here? Perhaps if anyone knows they could advise me………thank you.

  10. Alice said,

    June 13, 2010 @ 5:31 am

    My teacher, Demetria Clark at Heart of Herbs is a huge advocate of skin brushing. It is really an amazing feeling.
    Thanks for a great post.

  11. Beth said,

    July 2, 2010 @ 4:32 pm

    very helpful and interesting!

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    July 12, 2010 @ 3:49 am

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  13. herbalife products said,

    September 25, 2010 @ 7:36 am

    Good advice … I agree with Stark Raving Mom.

  14. heather said,

    January 2, 2011 @ 11:17 am

    i love skin brushing too and wish i could just remember to do it more often. i wonder if those of you who do it ever skin brush your kids. it seems like the health benefits would apply, but the only thing i can find on the interwebs about it is in reference to kids with sensory integration issues. any tips on starting a lifelong healthy habit?

  15. Herby said,

    March 4, 2011 @ 6:43 am

    Great tip. Loofah is great for removing dead skin cells.

  16. Ann-Marie said,

    May 31, 2012 @ 12:25 am

    Thanks for the info, needs to some vigorous rubbing as well!

  17. martha said,

    September 27, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    ..hello all
    ..i brush my skin before a shower with horse hair mitten, it feel absolutely great on the skin almost a turn on…aha.. also leave your skin as soft as baby bun
    I am a an artesan and i made them myself by hand! you can email me at and I will send you a picture of it

  18. martha 's email said,

    September 27, 2012 @ 10:27 am

    ….hello this is Marha again about the horse hair mitten for skin brushing dry or wet. my correct email to contact me is

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    November 5, 2012 @ 2:14 am

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    December 10, 2012 @ 3:41 am

    Awesome website about herbal medicines. Nice work

  22. Elton Capanna said,

    June 24, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

    Treatment for lymphedema varies depending on the severity of the edema and the degree of fibrosis of the affected limb. Most people with lymphedema follow a daily regimen of treatment as suggested by their physician or certified lymphedema therapist. :”.

    So long

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