Homecare is an important part of my massage therapy treatment plans. Different homecare assignments are tailored to individual goals. Most of the time I assign a basic homecare plan of heat, cold, stretching and strengthening, but some of my assignments might seem a little more unusual. I have to admit, I was skeptical when I was introduced to dry brushing as part of massage therapy, but it is a fantastic tool to have available – especially in the middle of the night, when pain is keeping you from restful sleep. I usually use a soft body brush, available in the ‘spa’ section of drugstores near the sponges and bubble bath.
Goals with dry brushing
- Stimulate circulation
- Stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (encourage relaxation, decrease pain, decrease muscle tone)
- Encourage lymph flow
- Help the skin shed old/dead cells
- Start furthest from the body (at the feet) and sweep slowly towards the heart, using long strokes, and very light pressure
- Repeat each stroke several (5-10) times
- Start on either leg, stroking from calf to knee on all sides, and then from knee to groin on all sides
- Repeat on the opposite leg
- Use circular motions in a clockwise direction on the abdomen
- Use halfmoon/rainbow shaped strokes on the glutes (bum) going down and outside
- On the arms, stroke from elbow to shoulder on all sides, and then from hand to elbow
- If desired, you can use your hand to sweep down the neck onto the shoulders, and finish with small circles along the jaw line, cheeks and forehead using very gentle pressure.