Friday, February 5, 2016

From Pain to Equilibrium: Body Brushing (A Recap)

Hola Peeps. It's been one of those whirlwind weeks at my course (the last one!) so I've been ridiculously occupied. Having said this, there's a topic I've been meaning to return to, lo these past few weeks - body scrubbing. As you may know, it's  something I've been doing for a couple of months.

For those with myofascial pain, I believe that this activity is arguably practical. Of course, my proviso is that everyone is different. Chronic pain (even if it emerges from the same - or a similar - source) reflects itself differently in most people. What works for me is a confluence of numerous supports: my "head of nails" and "bed of nails", MELT and Yoga Tune Up, yoga (active and supportive), anti-inflammatory supplements and cold-pressed juice (namely turmeric), Advil, heat, distraction and meditation. I'm not covering all the bases. The lengths I've gone to, to mitigate pain, are far-reaching. Those of you who struggle will no doubt understand.

What I'd say to anyone who experiences regular pain is that is, at its core, a reaction. It's the terribly unique (and therefore solitary) way one's body responds to neurochemical stimulus. The beauty of this is that every cure is just as unique - and just as probable (though sometimes it can take a long, long time to find).

But back to the topic at hand: Body scrubbing, or brushing, is a fairly easy prong in the multi-faceted approach to pain-relief. If you can bend, you can do it. It takes about 5 extra minutes in the shower, 2-3 times a week (you should let your scrubber dry out completely between uses) and it has a fairly delicious, flexibility and energy-inducing outcome (at least for me).

What I do is work from toe to head, drawing little circles on my skin, moving towards the heart. You don't need to overdo it with pressure but definitely hit all of your large muscle groups. Spend extra time on those areas that are predisposed to pain

One thing I neglected to write about, the last time I referred to body brushing, is the after-brush experience. Frankly, that's weird because it's a perfect segue to body oil (which itself is a perfect segue to CURIO). You think I'd have explored that cross-marketing option on the first go-round...

When you get out of the shower, I encourage you to pat your body with a towel (so that it is semi-dry) and then to massage in a high-quality emollient. (Note: this isn't a sales tactic - you can easily make your own oil.) The thing is - you don't need a ton of ingredients to gain the benefit. A good base oil and one or two, targeted essential oils will be more than adequate. Make sure you love the scent. It matters. Sure: Immortelle and lavender are particularly lauded for pain management, but choose a fragrance you love. The key here is to massage (if briefly) in the same direction as your original scrub. The semi-dry massage will lock in moisture and encourage body awareness. My perspective is that those high-quality essential oils also work on pain but you can determine that outcome for yourself.

This end-to-end scrub accomplishes self-body work (a key element in managing chronic pain), myofascial release, lymphatic release and circulatory improvement - all in the context of heat therapy (that would be the warm shower component of the exercise).

I do many things to mitigate pain - and I've been pretty successful in some ways. This is definitely a tool in the arsenal, and one I don't intend to neglect. It's easy, inexpensive and independent.

But how about you? Have you tried scrubbing for pain management? Do you scrub just cuz it's fun (never mind the pain angle). If you do, I have to assume that you have a reason. Why bother if there isn't a benefit? Do tell and let's talk...

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