As we journey towards health, we may find ourselves utilizing various tools, techniques, and lifestyle changes to achieve the results we desire. Some of those tools may be as simple as adding in a supplement or two each day, and some may require a bit more of a commitment or be a little further out of our comfort zone. We are going to take a look at a few of these tools and techniques that are a bit lesser-known but easy for anyone to do. We’ll look at what these modalities are, how each practice can benefit anyone, and how much commitment is involved in practicing each of these tools. Drawing from Madison’s journey, the practices we will discuss over a couple of posts include:
- Dry brushing
- Increased intake of distilled water/lemon water
- Deep breathing
These are not the only tools Madison is using in her healing, but they are a good start for all of us to consider!
First up, Rebounding
What is rebounding?
Rebounding is the act of bouncing, most often on a rebounder (mini trampoline). That’s it. That’s what rebounding is! (Side note: jumping rope and jumping on the floor yields many of the same health benefits, but both are harder on your joints than using a mini trampoline).
How can rebounding benefit me (or anyone)?
- Rebounding boosts lymphatic drainage and immune function. Improved lymph circulation leads to improved immune function which leads to a stronger immune system and an overall healthier you. When you bounce on a rebounder, you increase your lymph circulation by about 10 times what your lymph circulation typically is when you are doing nothing. This circulation of lymph fluid removes toxins and helps white blood cells get to areas of the body that need them most. Pretty cool!
- Rebounding is great for the skeletal system and can help to increase bone mass. This benefit is especially important as we age and are prone to loss of bone density. Rebounding is an effective tool at preventing osteoporosis. Bones are able to strengthen under some stress and bones become weaker when there is no stress. The most effective and gentle way to strengthen our bones is to do so against gravity. We see a really amazing example of this in astronauts; at zero gravity, astronauts can lose up to 15% of their bone and muscle mass. NASA uses rebounding as a major strategy in helping astronauts rebuild their bones and reverse osteoporosis! Also, because jumping on a trampoline allows your entire body to share in the gravitational force impact, you are strengthening your bones and muscles without risk of injury to weight bearing joints (knees, hips, ankles, etc.).
- Rebounding improves balance and coordination, as well as reaction time. While rebounding, your ocular nerves and inner ear canal are both involved and engaged, and your body is moving in directions it can’t always prepare for ahead of time. These mind/body connections help to strengthen your balance, coordination and reaction time and put your muscles in a state of learning and reacting.
- Rebounding strengthens your body’s cells… every single one of them. This is actually really fascinating. As you are jumping (rebounding), every cell in your body is essentially moving up and down. Taking it back to biology a little bit, this means the nucleus of the cell has to stay in a gel-like state and the membranes of the cell must strengthen themselves to keep the cytoplasm inside the cell strong enough to keep all the inner contents of the cell from being damaged. There is no other exercise that puts the gravitational force onto every single cell in the body. Since our bodies are made up of cells, as every cell is strengthened, so are all of our muscles, bones, connective tissues, and organs. This means even small muscles like our ocular muscles (eyes) can be strengthened by this practice! Incredible.
- Rebounding can be fun! It’s easy on the joints, releases endorphins, and you could even watch television while jumping! Bonuses include weight loss and toning and reduction of cellulite, which also seem like fun things to have in life!
How much commitment is involved in adding rebounding into my life?
The answer to this could vary, but a common recommendation is 15 minutes or more per day. You can break it up into a few sessions (three 5-minute sessions, for example) and still reap the benefits. In fact, just 2 minutes of rebounding is enough to flush the lymphatic system– so the time commitment is very small!
Next on the list is DRY BRUSHING:
What is dry brushing?
Dry brushing is the act of gently brushing the skin surface in a particular pattern with a dry brush, usually before showering. Expanding on that a little, this means you are using a firm, natural bristle brush over your skin in a pattern that moves toward the center of your body (more on the “why” of that in a minute). There are a few different types of dry brushes, some with handles, some without. Choosing one is mostly personal preference, but many people prefer a handled options for ease of reaching areas like the back. As far as the pattern of brushing is concerned, you begin brushing your skin at the bottom of your feet, moving upward in long, smooth strokes in a direction towards your heart so feet, legs, palms of hands, arms, stomach and armpits in a clockwise circular motion, abdomen, and back. Gentle brushing is sufficient, there is no need to brush forcefully or vigorously. Follow your dry brushing session with a shower and then a natural lotion or oil.
How can dry brushing benefit me (or anyone)?
- Dry brushing offers lymphatic support. When lightly dry brushing in a pattern towards the center of the body, you are encouraging lymphatic flow/circulation. This helps the body to detoxify itself naturally and to strengthen your immune system’s functions.
- Dry brushing exfoliates the skin. This benefit is often noticeable the first time you dry brush. Dry brushing loosens up dead skin cells, and with repeated dry brushing sessions, you will find your skin softer and less dry, for as long as you continue your dry brushing regimen.
- Dry brushing can possibly help to reduce cellulite and stretch marks. The thought behind the reduction of cellulite is that dry brushing may help to soften hard fat deposits under the skin and distribute those fat deposits more evenly, which could help reduce the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is composed of toxic fat buildup below the skin, resulting in a dimpling effect. Dry brushing tightens the skin and assists in a gentle detoxification that helps to break up that toxic fat buildup. This results in a reduced appearance of cellulite, and the tightening of skin due to dry brushing can also help to reduce stretch marks.
How much commitment is involved in adding dry brushing into my life?
Brushing about ten strokes or so per area is a good rule of thumb when dry brushing, or try to aim for a total of about two minutes, twice a day if possible.
These are two of the tools Madison has been using to help bring about better overall health. Separate or together, these two things are powerful to strengthen our body’s function. If the time involvement seems too much, consider combining the two–rebound for a few minutes first thing in the morning, followed by dry brushing, then get ready for your day. This could be repeated in the evening. If you are home during the day, leaving your mini trampoline out and accessible is a tangible reminder to jump for a few minutes when you pass through the room. Do what you need to do to make it happen! Next time, we will look at a couple of other things Madison has been doing that we all can add in relatively easily– increasing our water intake and breathing deeply.