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Lymphatic Brushing with Cecily Braden

Picture of podcast cover art with Christa Biegler and Cecily Braden: Episode 339 Lymphatic Brushing with Cecily Braden

This week on The Less Stressed Life Podcast, I am joined by the lovely Cecily Braden who is an esthetician, educator, and innovator. In this episode, Cecily tells us her story, tools and techniques she uses for lymphatic drainage, the benefits of lymphatic drainage, and how she came to create her own unique lymphatic brush. If you've ever found lymphatic brushing or Gua Sha intimidating, I think you'll feel differently after listening to Cecily!


  • Gua Sha vs. lymphatic drainage
  • Benefits of herbal poultices
  • What is the Vodder manual lymphatic drainage?
  • What is intraoral lymph drainage and its benefits?
  • How do you use a Gua Sha stone?
  • What is The Lymphatic Brush?
  • How does The Lymphatic Brush work, and how can it help simplify your skincare routine?

Cecily is offering a 15% off discount code to listeners who shop at The Lymphatic Brush or at Cecily Braden. The code is LessStressed15

Cecily Braden has been in the spa and wellness industry developing protocols and spa treatments since 1994 and teaching and preaching the benefits of facial massage since 2003. She was an Educator before an Esthetician and struggled for more years than she succeeded, but she never gave up and work tirelessly to bring the world to you. To read Cecily's entire bio click here,


Instagram: @anti.inflammatory.nutritionist
Podcast Instagram: @lessstressedlife
Leave a review, submit a questions for the podcast or take one of my quizzes here:


  • Over restriction is dead; if your practitioner is recommending this, they are stuck in 2010 and not evolving
  • Whole food is soul food and fed is best
  • Sustainable, synergistic nutrition (the opposite of whack-a-mole supplementation & supplement graveyards)
  • You don’t have to figure it out alone
  • Do your best and leave the rest



[00:00:00] Cecily Braden: You have to engage the skin to create change. And it doesn't matter if it's with a Gua Sha stone, if it's with the herbal poultice, if it's a lymphatic brush, if it's with your hands, right, you have to engage the tissue.

[00:00:12] Christa Biegler, RD: Stress is the inflammation that robs us of life, energy, and happiness. Our typical solutions for gut health and hormone balance have let a lot of us down. We're over medicated and underserved. At The Less Stressed Life, we're a community of health savvy women exploring solutions outside of our traditional Western medicine toolbox and training to raise the bar and change our stories.

[00:00:39] Christa Biegler, RD: Each week, our hope is that you leave our sessions inspired to learn, grow, and share these stories to raise the bar in your life and home.

[00:00:57] Christa Biegler, RD: In this episode about lymphatic brushing with Cecily Braden, she doesn't usually do podcasts. And I called her out and said, please come and do this podcast interview with me. And you'll find that the beginning starts a little bit slow and then she really starts to find her groove. And before you know it, we're off to the races with her providing education.

[00:01:16] Christa Biegler, RD: So just be a little bit gentle, with the start on this one.

[00:01:19] Christa Biegler, RD: All right. Today on the Less Dressed Life, I have Cecily Braden, who is celebrating 30 years in the spa and wellness industry as an esthetician, educator, and innovator. Now, a girl after my own heart also has a degree in journalism, as I do. She had a passion for writing and telling stories, and she wanted to create educational videos for corporations.

[00:01:37] Christa Biegler, RD: So she packed up everything she had to move from Colorado to Minnesota, where she Forged a path into the spa business. I'm going to let her tell some of the rest of the story because it's a bit of a world travel. Cecily has gone on to be a trainer in the Vodder method as a lymphatic therapy. If I get any of this wrong, we'll correct it later.

[00:01:55] Christa Biegler, RD: And then she also is the founder of the lymphatic brush, which is a really. Product on the market, and I was just drawn to some of her education online. And I wanted to have her come on and talk today about lymph drainage versus squash shop versus manual infant drainage. And I just love her story. So thank you so much for coming today.

[00:02:14] Christa Biegler, RD: Cecily. 

[00:02:15] Cecily Braden: Thank you for having me. 

[00:02:16] Christa Biegler, RD: All right. Tell us a little bit more about your story. And I love that you're a writer and love to storytell and love to educate. And so please tell us how all of this kind of happened for you. 

[00:02:29] Cecily Braden: I can tell you that I never intended to be in this spot. Business and wellness.

[00:02:33] Cecily Braden: And even when I was, I always would say , I didn't want to be in skincare and that's exactly where I landed. And so I equate my story a little bit to the game shoots and ladders. Have you ever played that when you were a kid, you climb up that really big, you climb up that really big ladder.

[00:02:51] Cecily Braden: And then, as I, yeah. Followed my heart and followed my passions. It just led me to long slides down and then having to climb back up and so that's what it's been a little bit. But so my whole history is a little bit like chutes and ladders, but it's been interesting.

[00:03:05] Cecily Braden: But I probably first and foremost, I would have to say that I followed my passion. And I followed my heart and I let my gut and just I let that lead me. It was not about the money which education is not about that. But just follow my passions and like you said, wanting to share the story.

[00:03:24] Cecily Braden: I love The history of global spa wellness treatments. I love the history of the skin. That's what I do now, essentially, is I tell the story of the skin. I tell the story of how it functions and how it relates to the body and how the body functions. And and I think It my background in journalism and my passion for writing has allowed me to do that.

[00:03:48] Cecily Braden: And put things together. Digestible bites where it's understandable and very relatable versus, technical. I like to break down the technical information so that people can visualize it and visualize what's happening in the skin and visualize what's happening in the body. I'm a visual learner.

[00:04:05] Cecily Braden: So I have to do that for myself. And so I think part of that is visualizing the story and then sharing that and passing along, which probably comes from the journalism background. I imagine. 

[00:04:17] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. I was lots of smiles because I usually say similar things to what you said there.

[00:04:23] Christa Biegler, RD: It's a really maybe it's just the piece I love to gather all the pieces of the story and then make sure they're clearly. And then about wanting to educate yourself, I don't know. I was just wanting to know all the pieces, all the parts of the story. I just was a information gather. And when I read all your history and how you acquired some of these tools, skills, knowledge, there was a huge influence of kind of Asian practices, right?

[00:04:48] Christa Biegler, RD: And you, did you do some traveling also? 

[00:04:51] Cecily Braden: Yeah. When I first started I actually. Was filling in. I, following my journalism path. I wanted to create training videos for corporations and a friend of mine. Her father had a business and they asked me to be a receptionist for a couple weeks and just fill in.

[00:05:07] Cecily Braden: And I said, sure, I needed some money and it allowed me to focus on what I really wanted to do. And during that two weeks, the marketing manager went on. Okay. maternity leave. And so they had me step into that role. And all of a sudden I was, in this role with this equipment and people didn't know how to use it.

[00:05:26] Cecily Braden: I didn't know how to use it. I was new. And so in having I felt that responsibility, people were buying this piece of equipment that was thousands of dollars. And They didn't know how to use it didn't know how to get any revenue. So I felt obligated to help them because they'd spent all this money.

[00:05:44] Cecily Braden: And so I started researching the different components of it. So it was infrared and sound therapy and vibrational therapy and had all these amazing therapies in it. And I. Started writing protocols and just coming up with some different ideas in how people could use this and how people could benefit from it.

[00:06:01] Cecily Braden: And then they could share with their clients and develop programs and protocols around it. And so that kind of really started everything. I always tell people I started, when it was just, I had a phone and a fax and I would literally fax people like. Six pages, which turned into 15 pages, which ended up turning into this 35 page book manual or it turned into a training manual that I would fax them in just different ways and ideas and, how to make money with it and how to benefit from it and how to, their clients could benefit.

[00:06:32] Cecily Braden: And so that really started my path into this bond wellness. After doing all that research, I went to my boss and I said, have you ever thought about the spa business? They were selling it for relaxation, which back in the nineties, people didn't pay for relaxation. They might now but it just wasn't a thing back then where you would go somewhere and pay to relax for 30 minutes or have a pay for a cat nap.

[00:06:54] Cecily Braden: And so we did, we went to, I went to my first trade show back in I think it was like 95, 90. around there, 95 96. And that was it. It was hook, line, sink. And I ended up taking that path. And worked with them for about eight years, which led me to Asia. Because I would swear was part of my territory for training.

[00:07:15] Cecily Braden: I put together workshops around this training manual that I had written, and we developed onsite hands on training from that. That formula of the hands on training and putting together protocols and then, and working with small groups, I still use that today. Because that's how I trained.

[00:07:33] Cecily Braden: We put the protocols together. We put the information, we go over theory and then we do the hands on the practical and spend a lot of time, working through it. Something that now that I've been doing for 30 years now, but that to go back to your question that led me to traveling throughout Asia.

[00:07:50] Cecily Braden: And I've always had a love for it. My oldest sister and brother are Korean. And I don't know if that kind of innately had something to do with, just an inner passion, but it definitely spoke to me and it changed my life.

[00:08:06] Christa Biegler, RD: I'm sure. So I know that you went. And got some training or certification, or you were teaching maybe related to Gua Sha and then later you started doing training and lymph.

[00:08:19] Christa Biegler, RD: Maybe can we talk a little bit about how Gua Sha where it comes from maybe? And then, so let's talk about Gua Sha versus manual lymph drainage. 

[00:08:28] Cecily Braden: Yeah, I've been. Training on facial massage for about 20 years, and it really started first and foremost with the Thai herbal poultice. And so that's a, like a cotton and muslin cloth.

[00:08:41] Cecily Braden: It's filled with herbs, and then you steam it. And I started working and really training massage therapists. On the body and full body massage. And then we went with a smaller poultice for working along the shoulders around the face. And I wasn't an esthetician at the time. But I started to see all these remarkable changes in the face as we were working, and it was whole intention behind the treatment was for relaxation. And so it was relaxation stress reduction. We worked with a lot of resort spas, but I started to see a lot of changes in the face as we were just working through the protocol. And this is, I have one here just in case.

[00:09:20] Cecily Braden: This is the 

[00:09:21] Cecily Braden: herbal cultist. 

[00:09:22] Christa Biegler, RD: It looks like a mushroom, a cotton mushroom almost. 

[00:09:25] Cecily Braden: Yeah, it does. 

[00:09:27] Cecily Braden: Yeah, upside down mushroom. And so I started using that when I started to see all the different changes happening in the face. I thought there's got to be something to this. And ultimately that's what led me into lymphatic drainage is

[00:09:40] Cecily Braden: it took me about two years. I started working with a company over in Thailand. They developed an even smaller poultice. So we had this little one, like the one I'm holding here. It's about, an inch and a half wide. And so I started working and it took me about two years to develop a protocol that I could replicate.

[00:09:59] Cecily Braden: And it didn't matter who I was working on. I had a. Like kind of a list of techniques that I knew if you did this would happen. If you do this would happen. If you do that, that would happen. And I worked with it until I could replicate it. It didn't matter who I was working on. I knew what technique would result in a specific benefit.

[00:10:20] Cecily Braden: So in doing that, I taught and trained with herbal poultice for 13 years before I ever touched a Gua Sha stone, but within that, one of the techniques happened to be a lymphatic drainage technique, which I called pump and pull. It's I still to this day, I say it's a horrible name. And I always challenge people to come up with the new one, but really is this pump and pull technique.

[00:10:45] Cecily Braden: And so as I, when I became an esthetician and then I started studying the skin and I started studying the Vodder method, I realized that actually what I had been doing for so many years was lymphatic drainage, even though I didn't know what it was and I didn't have any formal training in it, the most effective technique with the herbal poultice that I was teaching was in fact lymphatic drainage.

[00:11:10] Cecily Braden: And so that was what led me into it. In 2014 the company I was working with in Thailand. Introduced me to Gua Sha and I was fascinated by it obviously because I had a love for facial massage and I really love things that were different. And then again, wanting to wrap my hands around the story of Gua Sha and the history and how people use it benefit their skin and their body and their health.

[00:11:36] Cecily Braden: And one thing led to another, and I started working with the Gua Sha Stone I was introduced to Dr. Zong, Dr. Ping Zong from Nefeli, and once again found myself, under the wing of someone who really taught me a lot and was able to share their knowledge and with me.

[00:11:54] Cecily Braden: And so I worked with her for quite a while. 

[00:11:57] Christa Biegler, RD: It almost sounded like the place where you got the poultices that look like the upside down mushrooms for visual people here. Were those already packed full of herbs? Do you know what kind of herbs were in those poultices? 

[00:12:10] Cecily Braden: Yeah. So typically we have several different blends and anything can go into a poultice.

[00:12:15] Cecily Braden: We have fresh herbs. Thai ginger lemongrass. You're always going to find lemongrass in it. Usually when anything comes from Thailand, they feel it has lemongrass in it. Jasmine, we have sweet basil. We have some with cinnamon camphor tamarind. I know I'm missing another really important Thai herb.

[00:12:34] Cecily Braden: That's usually in them. Ginger, lemongrass. I can't think of it. But yeah, so it's a mixture of herbs. Some have salt, some have clay, some have you could put really anything into a healing poultice. We just worked specifically with Thai herbs and then different blends for different indications.

[00:12:52] Christa Biegler, RD: I'd also love to hear when you were seeing these results, you knew if I was doing this, I would see these types of results. Will you tell us about some of the benefits that you would see? Because people weren't going to pay for relaxation. So what were they actually seeing instead?

[00:13:05] Cecily Braden: That's actually interesting because coming back to relaxation. I guess when I really looked like a decrease in wrinkles one of my favorite before and afters is it just looked like the woman I was working on had slept for a hundred years. She looks so relaxed and all the stress had been removed for her.

[00:13:24] Cecily Braden: Darkness under the eyes is one thing I saw. So the eyes were, I would say was lighter and brighter a lot more open. Lifted brows, sagging the saggingness and one of the things that we still carry through to today and even yesterday when I was doing a class is that through lymphatic drainage, you can lift and sculpt by draining out the excess fluid and getting rid of all the inflammation, getting rid of all of the waste products and all of that excess fluid.

[00:13:54] Cecily Braden: I equate it to unearthing your natural contours of your body. Of your face. And so that's one of the things with the herbal poultice that I saw is we were really unearthing the natural contours of the face and the contours were just highlighted and would stand out and everyone looked.

[00:14:11] Cecily Braden: Contoured and lifted and brighter and acne would clear up the inflammation, the redness rosacea would calm. So here I am using steam and heat and it's calming, rosacea and taking away all of the redness. And so to me that was the dichotomy right there. And people would say, I don't understand, like we're using heat, but it's calming the skin and all of my redness is going away.

[00:14:37] Cecily Braden: Which later. As I learned more and started to apply the science to the techniques because they were just a list of techniques and made up names pump and pull. It was because we were reducing inflammation and we were working with the lymphatic system and supporting the natural drainage of the tissues in the skin.

[00:14:57] Cecily Braden: And so it really. Everything has just led me back. It's all full circle. But the beginning really is the typolitis and then Gua Sha and then the lymphatic brush. That's the 

[00:15:08] Cecily Braden: linear movement. 

[00:15:08] Christa Biegler, RD: You do training on the Vodder method for lymphatic drainage. 

[00:15:12] Cecily Braden: So I am not a Dr. Vodder trained Educator.

[00:15:16] Cecily Braden: We work with actually Joe presses, who is our Dr. Votter specialist, and she's also a lymphedema specialist. I am trained in the Dr Votter method, but I'm not a Dr Votter educator. And there's a big difference there. A lot more. schooling, a lot more education but it is actually, it's set the foundation for lymphatic drainage.

[00:15:37] Cecily Braden: So Dr. Votter is the gold standard. 

[00:15:39] Christa Biegler, RD: What is Votter Method lymph drainage versus Yeah. 

[00:15:44] Cecily Braden: So I think Dr. Bader is really the origin. He set the foundation. Back in 1929 when he went to France he was in the French Riviera and he was seeing patients. He had studied and, people that came before him that kind of had studied the clear water.

[00:16:00] Cecily Braden: And, but really between 19, I think it's 19 1933 or 32 to 1932 to 1936. He really developed what we know now as the Votter method, and I think what stands out for me is that Dr. Votter is the first one that realized that if you treat and focus on the stagnation of lymph, And focused on releasing the lymph blockages versus treating the manifestations of it, then that was actually how to heal the body.

[00:16:37] Cecily Braden: And that's the focus of it. Now, we clear the blockages, we open up the pathways, we allow the fluid to flow and we support the lymphatic system in doing what it naturally does. And in that sense, it sets off a chain reaction in the body, right? The body's able to clear out the waste, which creates space for fresh blood and the fluids to nourish the cell, the nutrients to reach the cell.

[00:17:01] Cecily Braden: And so once you clear that blockage, it's clearing a dam in the river, the water and everything is able to flow flow through. And so probably with water that stands out in kind of the crux of, aside from the techniques just knowing that right there has set the foundation for what we focus on.

[00:17:24] Christa Biegler, RD: Something that caught my eye online that you were talking about was intraoral lymph drainage and facial work. Can you talk a little bit more about that and some of the kind of dramatic things that you can see when you're doing intraoral? lymph drainage. 

[00:17:39] Cecily Braden: So I think this with a lymphatic drainage and especially with the intraoral, because we also we have educational partners and we do the buccal massage.

[00:17:47] Cecily Braden: We have education courses for that as well as the intraoral, which is part of our MLD our Dr. Vatter, MLD intensive, but I think probably the one thing that I would like people to understand with the intro oil is it doesn't have to be aggressive because I think what on Instagram or what on social media is a very intensive it, sometimes it can look a little aggressive or you're going in side the mouth and you're working on the muscles both inside and outside.

[00:18:23] Cecily Braden: So you work on the tissue and the muscles in both ways, but with the intraoral lymphatic drainage method. It's very gentle. And so you're really able to soften the tissue. You're able to access internally some of the lymphatic vessel systems and the flow and different areas, but it's, For that portion of it, I would say one thing that I love is that it's a very gentle method for doing the intraoral work, releasing jaw tension TMJ disorders headaches.

[00:18:56] Cecily Braden: And so what it really does is just helps relax all the muscles, softens the tissue, gets everything flowing. 

[00:19:03] Christa Biegler, RD: And I saw you noted also like dizziness and tinnitus, and there was something really interesting you shared online about using lymphatic drainage on the palate would ease tension on the pineal and pituitary glands.

[00:19:18] Christa Biegler, RD: Can you explain why that is? Because the palate of the mouth feels like a long. It feels far away from the pineal and pituitary glands. And maybe it's not that far, but can you talk about that? 

[00:19:28] Cecily Braden: Everything is connected though. Yeah, for sure. So everything is connected and this is actually not my area of expertise.

[00:19:36] Cecily Braden: This is What actually Joe teaches and this is actually part of her curriculum. 

[00:19:41] Cecily Braden: Like I said, again this really isn't my expertise. This would be a question for Ashley Joe, because I focus on the external not the internal. And so I would even have to go back to my notes on this, but there's 17 different points like on the mouth. And when you palpate them, it's the same way as when you're activating the lymphatic vessels.

[00:20:02] Cecily Braden: And so you're able to do this stretch and release, which allows the fluid and allows the lymph to propel through the vessel system. And we have that. Throughout everything to the mucus membranes. And so it's releasing that. And again, just setting off that chain reaction. But yeah, that's definitely not my area of expertise.

[00:20:21] Christa Biegler, RD: That's all right. 

[00:20:22] Cecily Braden: But it's fascinating. 

[00:20:23] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. And I want to talk about tools. So in Gua Shao, you use some kind of hard tool and you usually use oil and you're, brushing it I don't know if brush is the right word, but you're pushing it against the face or you're pulling it against the face.

[00:20:37] Christa Biegler, RD: And what my question really is, I've had Dr. Perry Nicholson on, he's done the big six with us here. And he says, you got to make sure that you open up the lymph drainage and the clavicle. But mostly we're talking about the face today, a lot of the face. So my question Is when people are doing Gua Sha or when they're using the Lymph Rush, which we'll talk about in a moment, is there a wrong way that is you need to do this first before you do the next piece?

[00:21:05] Christa Biegler, RD: If someone is has a slight familiarity with Gua Sha, but really wouldn't even know how to pick up a Gua Sha tool to understand that. Can you talk a little bit about right and wrong, or if there's a concern about doing it wrong?

[00:21:16] Cecily Braden: Yes. I don't like to say right and wrong. I think there's different ways of doing it because I think if someone picks up a tool and their intention is to create movement within the tissue and to create movement.

[00:21:27] Cecily Braden: I have mine here. It's hard for me to talk and not do the tools. But if someone has a tool. Whether it might be a Gua Sha tool, maybe it's something like a gemstone mushroom, maybe it's their hands. I don't like to think of it necessarily as right and wrong, but there are some rules and there are some considerations to take and some things to take into consideration.

[00:21:46] Cecily Braden: So with a Gua Sha stone, I'm going to say in general, we work upward and outward but there's also downward movements that can support the lymphatic drainage or if you're working with the tissue, but Guasha is, this is where there's a lot of confusion, Guasha is a tissue treatment and what we're working with our skin, where our body, we're made up of fluids and fibers.

[00:22:16] Cecily Braden: And so Guasha is a tissue treatment that directly works on the tissue and supports the flow of blood and increasing circulation. And that's the intention behind it. So when you're working with a Guasha stone, I would say probably the most important thing is connection with the skin. How are you connecting with your tool?

[00:22:41] Cecily Braden: Connecting with the skin, engaging the tissue in order to create change, right? The one thing if anything could come out of this podcast that I want people to understand is you have to engage the skin to create change. And it doesn't matter if it's with a Gua Sha stone, if it's with the herbal poultice, if it's a lymphatic brush, if it's with your hands, right?

[00:23:05] Cecily Braden: You have to engage the tissue. And in doing that, there's a lot of different ways that you can do that. And, It depends on whether you have tension or maybe you have a buildup of stagnation and fluid. It depends on what type of movement that you need. For instance, with the gua sha stone, we use the edges and angles of the stone to connect with the skin and really work with the tissue, that connective tissue, to open up expand.

[00:23:37] Cecily Braden: tissue that gets all matted together. And so it gets matted and tangled in this little tight web. And we use that to open up and create space within the tissue so the fluids can flow. Now, if we couple that with lymphatic drainage, we've opened up the tissue. We've gotten rid of some of these adhesions that happen.

[00:23:59] Cecily Braden: Adhesions, meaning like maybe little knots and little cross fibers. And sometimes even it's stagnation with flu fluid. And so if we can get rid of and release those adhesions and those little knots in the skin, and we can open that up, then we've created space for the fluids to flow.

[00:24:17] Cecily Braden: So that's where lymphatic drainage comes in and how we can couple them and how they can complement each other. So with Gua Sha, it's a tissue treatment. And when we're working with lymphatic drainage, we're focused on the movement of fluids and specifically the lymph vessel system and the movements of lymph within that.

[00:24:37] Cecily Braden: In general, and I get asked this a lot, and this also comes down to, I get asked a lot about dry brushing and Gua Sha, what's the difference? And the main difference is that Gua Sha focuses on the flow of blood and it's all about blood and circulation. The same with a dry brush. Dry brushing is all about increasing circulation and blood flow.

[00:25:01] Cecily Braden: The lymphatic brush and whether it's the Dr. Potter method or any other method should be this way is it's focused on the flow of lymph and focusing on the lymph vessel system. So what does that mean? When we focus on the increased blood flow, that's sending fluid, right? And nutrients and oxygen into the tissue.

[00:25:26] Cecily Braden: So as the blood flows, every single heartbeat it's sending plasma. It's leaking into the tissue to nourish the cells as that as the, as that fluid builds in the, in within the tissue space. It creates this tissue pressure, which builds up. And activates the lymphatic system within that tissue, its whole goal.

[00:25:47] Cecily Braden: It acts like a filter, right? So it's filtering out not only the excess tissue, but all the cellular byproducts that are with, that are in the tissue. So it's maybe dead skin cells or proteins. Maybe it's some of the waste products from when the cell is done with all the nutrients and it's what's left over.

[00:26:06] Cecily Braden: So it filters all of that out. And so there are two different things, right? One focuses on fluid. and nutrients into the tissue and the lymphatic system and the lymphatic drainage focuses on removing excess fluid and waste from the tissue. So gua sha and certain different types of facial massage and lymphatic drainage go hand in hand because They work together.

[00:26:35] Cecily Braden: But they work differently. So it's really what I focus on in my work and kind of what we do is we really try to balance the healthy exchange of nutrients into the tissue. and waste removal, taking the waste out of the tissue, right? So those are the two things. And I think with skincare, if you start to look at that balance is we have to remove the waste, we have to get rid of the clutter, we have to get rid of all of that excess.

[00:27:03] Cecily Braden: And then that allows for the space for the nutrients to reach the cell for the oxygen to reach the cell unimpeded. It clears the tissue. And so all of the cells that are swimming and living in this tissue fluid are able to get the nutrients they need and they're happy and they're swimming in this like healthy, clean, pristine water.

[00:27:26] Cecily Braden: And that's what we're trying to So my work with the lymphatic system and the lymphatic brush Is focused on that. That's really my arena. Is what I call inner cleansing. So we're cleansing from the inside. And when we do that, miraculously, most skincare concerns are cleared. Inflammation goes away.

[00:27:49] Cecily Braden: Acne heals. The skin brightens. The eyes brighten. And so it's really what we're looking at is the longevity of the individual cells. 

[00:27:57] Christa Biegler, RD: I love how you said skin care, one of the goals is to get rid of waste. And I've never heard anyone describe the lymph system as a filter, but it's a good, I like the description.

[00:28:07] Cecily Braden: Yeah, I mean we're an aquarium, right? And all the cells are the little fishes. And you feed fishes, and then the fishes also excrete, right? Yeah. And so do our cells, and that has to go somewhere, right? And where it ends up is in our tissue. And that's the one thing that, we really wanna focus on is let's keep our tissue clean, let's cleanse it, let's remove the waste and allow the other systems to do what they do.

[00:28:34] Cecily Braden: And it just it starts this chain reaction. So back to your question. Gua Sha starts it right? Because Gua Sha focuses on releasing the fibers, releasing those restrictions, increasing blood flow, and it works on the tissue from that level. Lymphatic drainage finishes it, right?

[00:28:52] Cecily Braden: So we again, we were talking about, telling this story. That's the story. At the beginning of it is the blood flow. And if you look at the life cycle of lymph, it starts out as blood. Middle of the story is where it's that interstitial fluid and the end is where it becomes lymph, and it cycles back to the heart.

[00:29:10] Cecily Braden: And it just starts this amazing process all over again. 

[00:29:14] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. 

[00:29:14] Christa Biegler, RD: So we were talking about manual lymph drainage, which can be done with a variety of tools, your hands, whatever. And then you brought up dry brushing. I forgot about dry brushing because after I learned about Gua Sha, I gravitated that to that more.

[00:29:27] Christa Biegler, RD: I work with a lot of people with skin rashes, and so a lot of dry brushes are not very comfortable. They're actually pretty scratchy, and no one wants to do something that's uncomfortable, right? And I would say Gua Sha generally makes you feel good. The barrier is that Oh, I've got to put oil on my face and rub this thing on, right?

[00:29:45] Christa Biegler, RD: And so it feels like there's an extra step in there where it's you've got to add that thing for the stuff to slide. Now you wouldn't have to, that's just how I learned it, right? I don't know. You're going to correct me. So then you come on the scene with a different kind of brush. Tell me why you did that.

[00:30:00] Christa Biegler, RD: What gap did that? Bill, where purpose did that serve that was not being served through traditional Gua Sha dry brushing, et cetera. 

[00:30:10] Cecily Braden: My workshop is called Gua Sha facial fusion and it's fusing Gua Sha with lymphatic drainage. We incorporate the typologist and again, a variety of techniques for achieving a variety of skincare benefits.

[00:30:22] Cecily Braden: So with that I. Earlier I had explained that when I was using the herbal poultice, one of the most effective techniques turned out to be lymphatic drainage before I knew what it was. And in doing that when I started working with the Guasha stone. I transferred. the techniques that I was using with the herbal poultice, minus the heat and different shape, but I transfer those to use with the Gua Sha stone.

[00:30:49] Cecily Braden: And in doing that, it was the, what I called the pump and pull technique. I'm creating that lymphatic pull with a Gua Sha stone. So while you can do lymphatic drainage with a Gua Sha stone, it's not Gua Sha. It's literally doing manual lymphatic drainage with the tool. There was, it's a big part of what I do because the techniques are really effective, but it's the hardest technique to learn.

[00:31:19] Cecily Braden: There's a really high learning curve, and this is for professionals who are working on clients. If you take that a step further and you try and teach that Particular technique, lymphatic drainage with a gua sha stone to someone who's working at for self care or trying to learn how to support their own skin care needs at home.

[00:31:39] Cecily Braden: It's really difficult. And That's where I was. I was in this space where people would come to me and say, Oh, what do you think my skin needs? Look at this and look at that. And I would look and I would say, Oh, you just, you need lymphatic drainage. your system is sluggish. You just need a little movement.

[00:31:57] Cecily Braden: But my answer was always lymphatic drainage, but I didn't have a tool to provide them that would allow them to easily and effectively do lymphatic drainage. On themselves. One. I could have easily given them or sold them a washout stone and said, do this and do this in my heart. I knew they probably wouldn't do it.

[00:32:21] Cecily Braden: So I didn't sell that to him and my friends always say you're the worst spa friend because I know that if I know you're not going to do it, then I'm not going to even go there with you, right? Because it's a waste and I hate waste. I'm not going to sell you something that I don't think that you're going to use and also take the time to educate you if it's just not something that you can incorporate into your life, you're busy, whatever it might be.

[00:32:43] Cecily Braden: Anyway, I had this whole and that's where lymphatic brush came, is I needed something that was easy and effective for lymphatic drainage, both for professionals and for self care. And I really took the technique and created a tool around the technique and what I was teaching in our classes.

[00:33:05] Cecily Braden: So really, it seems like it came out of nowhere, but I've been teaching this technique for 20 years. And I've just been teaching it with different tools. And finally now I have a lymphatic. A lymphatic tool that I can do lymphatic drainage with, which is really nice. 

[00:33:22] Christa Biegler, RD: So I just want to clarify, do you feel like people are more likely to use a brush over a Gua Sha stone my resistance to using my Gua Sha stone all the time is just like the extra step in between.

[00:33:32] Christa Biegler, RD: And then cleaning it and

[00:33:33] Cecily Braden: is it the oil? 

[00:33:35] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah, the oil. And then also I had a stone and I've fixed this. I had bought an expensive Gua Sha stone and then you drop it and it breaks, which is, if they have a sharp edge or something. So then I went to different stones, but more so just why would I use a brush over a stone would be.

[00:33:51] Christa Biegler, RD: For oil. But for me, I'm trying to understand is there more benefit to a brush versus the stone or is it really similar? The brush is just really gentle. 

[00:34:02] Cecily Braden: So it depends on how you use it. So most people think we'll say if they're gliding a stone on their skin and you see this a lot on social media people will say, Oh this is for lymphatic drainage.

[00:34:14] Cecily Braden: So they're doing the gliding on their skin for lymphatic drainage. Which isn't necessarily correct when you're working with a Gua Sha stone, right? And you're engaging the tissue The reason we use an oil is because we need to engage the tissue in order to create change So the oil it's not so much about the glide the oil should be so that you have grip and glide So you're able to engage the tissue just enough that when you're gliding, you're having an effect on the tissue.

[00:34:46] Cecily Braden: Now, remember, Gua Sha is all about blood flow, which sends nutrients oxygen and fluid into the tissue. When we're working with a lymphatic brush, it targets and mimics The natural contraction of the lymphatic vessel to propel lymph within that vessel system to remove the excess fluid and remove the waste.

[00:35:13] Cecily Braden: So they're working on different ways, right? So what happens when you're using a Gua Sha stone, it has an indirect benefit or it affects the lymphatic system indirectly because it's increasing the blood flow, which once you get all that blood flow into the tissue and all that fluid, it activates the lymphatic system to remove it.

[00:35:37] Cecily Braden: right? But it's not directly working the lymphatic system only. So when we work with the lymphatic brush, we are targeting the lymphatic vessel system to remove waste and fluid without increasing blood flow or blood pressure. Gua Sha is a tissue treatment and that's actually the goal and the purpose of it, right?

[00:36:02] Cecily Braden: Is to increase and have an effect on blood. The lymphatic brush is to have. An effect on lymph and the vessel system. So we're talking about the circulate. Yeah. So we're talking about the circulatory system. And we're talking about lymphatic system, which go hand in hand. They're like night and day, right?

[00:36:20] Cecily Braden: They, that's the yin and the yang that we blend together. Because you can't have one without the other. One has a direct effect on the other. Because they work together. Lymph starts out as blood. So it's very directly connected, and it ends as blood. It returns, circulates and returns back to the heart.

[00:36:39] Cecily Braden: When we look at that, yes. Guasha will have an effect on the lymphatic system, but it's not lymphatic drainage. And that was the space that I was in. Not only that, the techniques are completely different. With Guasha we work on what I actually call it like a medium rare pressure, right? It's not light, but it's not deep and we don't want to go too deep, right?

[00:37:02] Cecily Braden: You can. But that's working more the muscles. We want to be right in that, that, that light to medium pressure where we're working with a connective tissue and in really trying to have an effect on blood flow and releasing all of it's excellent for releasing those adhesions and opening up the space and everything that kind of gets matted together.

[00:37:23] Cecily Braden: What was it say? Oh, so with that was the space I was in and I was having to teach lymphatic drainage with a tool that was not intended for it. Can you do it? Yes. Did I do it? Yes. I did it for 20 years, but when it came down to the client side of it, that was where. It was just too difficult.

[00:37:45] Cecily Braden: The learning curve is high. Like you said, there's a step in between, you have to put the oil and then there's a lot of steps that I have to go out. And then what if I do this? And then , so it's a lot more complicated, right? With the lymphatic brush, the brush does the work. And that's what I was after.

[00:38:02] Cecily Braden: That's what I was really trying to achieve. So It's very specific. It looks like it's, oh, it's just a brush. It took me three years to do this. It's very specific in the density of the bristles and their length. So the neck and body brush and we use it for decollete is like a shorter, more dense bristle, obviously wider.

[00:38:28] Cecily Braden: So it's bigger. And the facial brush has a longer bristle and it's a little bit softer. It doesn't have the same density so that it can splay out a little bit. And the goal behind that was so that it could fit any contour of the face.

[00:38:44] Cecily Braden: Because again, connection is key, right? We have to connect the bristles, the textured bristles with the skin in order to engage the skin. To create change. So we're just doing it in a different way than we do with Gua Sha. 

[00:38:59] Christa Biegler, RD: And if I'm hearing you right, can you not mess it up with the brush, with the lymph brush?

[00:39:03] Cecily Braden: It's just foolproof. So with the brush, because The textured bristles grip the skin and the precise, pressure, all you have to do is brush outward and downward and follow the lymph pathways. That's it. So outward, downward, follow the lymph pathways and the brush does the work. And actually I should go a step further.

[00:39:25] Cecily Braden: The skin does the work, right? All we're doing is we're nudging it. We're just giving it a little bit of a help. And so when we get that stagnation, and this kind of circles way all the way back also to my belief that skincare shouldn't be complicated, right? And we shouldn't have to stress about 12 step skincare programs and 21 day skincare challenges and having to worry about the latest thing.

[00:39:50] Cecily Braden: And this is what I'm trying to do. We should really. be focusing on the inner function of our skin, supporting that and thinking about what I can do that's less is more, right? What can I do to not interfere? With my personal ecosystem and not mess things up because the skin is really smart. If we just support the systems of the skin, they're going to do what they do.

[00:40:16] Cecily Braden: And when it comes to a lot of skincare issues, we're usually the problem. We've complicated things and we've gotten in the way and we start one program, then we start another program. Then the skin is confused and we were not supporting the systems that actually bring about healthy, vibrant, clear skin.

[00:40:35] Christa Biegler, RD: I was really wondering in this conversation, why did you do this brush? And as you described it just perfectly the pressure is right. But to your point, there's not really a good. Dry brush for the face that I've seen and I've bought a lot of them and they're very large.

[00:40:51] Christa Biegler, RD: So I understand like the whole curvature, the softness, I can understand where there's a gap. It's hard to even find a normal dry brush for the body that's soft 

[00:41:01] Christa Biegler, RD: enough. 

[00:41:02] Cecily Braden: Yeah. And actually that's my intention as well, right? Because the texture and the density and the material for a dry brush is what it is because it's also like Gua Sha intended to increase circulation.

[00:41:15] Cecily Braden: And so that's working with blood flow as well. So we have all these modalities, even when you're talking about like the buckle massage and a lot of things. Sculptural lifting, massages and dry brushing and guha. That's all about blood flow. And it's fantastic because we need that. And, increasing and bringing all that blood back into circulation and the nutrients.

[00:41:37] Cecily Braden: And that's what, helps bring about that glow. I focus on the other side of it, and that's where we lack tools. But by the way, it's very difficult because it's very specific. The pressure. And again, when people do lymphatic drainage with their hands, it's very hard because you have a tendency to one press too hard and to overstretch the skin.

[00:42:02] Cecily Braden: When you are talking about a technique or you're stretching the skin and moving downward and outward, that scares people. I had someone, and I absolutely love this comment. It was just I think probably a lot of people think it, but she said, I'm 54 years old and I'm scared to brush down more.

[00:42:22] Cecily Braden: And I thought. I love this question. I'm 54 and that's all I do. And I really talking her through the process of trusting that the brush is not going to overstretch the skin because what happens is because of the bristles, the way that they kind of grip onto the skin, it's gentle.

[00:42:40] Cecily Braden: And if you were to, let's say, Okay. go to overstretch, it turns into a sweep and the skin just releases and rebounds. So unless you were really pushing very hard, which you wouldn't because that's just doesn't feel right with the brush, right? It's just about connecting it with the skin, allowing those little textured bristles to grip just enough.

[00:43:00] Cecily Braden: To give the skin a slight little stretch and then just follow the pathways. And so we look at it and we use it in a very gentle way, which is another message, right? Less is more when it comes to the aggressiveness of your treatment. It's not about muscling out a wrinkle, right? It's about softening the wrinkle, but we can soften it in a very gentle way.

[00:43:27] Cecily Braden: Yesterday in class, two things, there was a woman who had. shingles and she had scarring on her forehead and by just using the lymphatic brush, all of it had softened. And she said, how is it that, she was going to go in for some, an aggressive treatment to help with it. And she said, how is that helping?

[00:43:48] Cecily Braden: And, one of the analogies that I use is that when the wind blows, and it shakes the top of the trees and the leaves and the branches sway. That resonates and vibrates all the way through the trunk all the way down to the roots, right? It's not separate. And so that's what we're doing with lymphatic drainage.

[00:44:06] Cecily Braden: We're shaking the tops of the trees, right? And it has a really profound effect deeply. And we can affect a lot of change working in a gentle way. Our body responds to gentleness. The touch receptors in our skin, when we're working with that rhythmic movements, one of the comments I get most often, and I love this kind of goes back to our original conversation about relaxation is, the brush just helps me relax.

[00:44:33] Cecily Braden: I always feel calm. It just puts me to sleep like, oh, I just shut my eyes, it helps me with anxiety. It helps me with my ADHD. It calms me down. And if that's all you get from it. 

[00:44:45] Christa Biegler, RD: That's a win. 

[00:44:46] Cecily Braden: I'm happy. Yeah. It's a win because our skin is only able to repair when the body is in that parasympathetic state.

[00:44:54] Cecily Braden: And so if that's what the brush is allowing you to do, then you're already on your way. 

[00:45:00] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. That was my only really other question was how does all of this relate to the nervous system 

[00:45:06] Cecily Braden: directly? So when you're using it, and one thing With if we just think about touch and a gentle touch is that, we have all these touch receptors in our skin.

[00:45:17] Cecily Braden: And so when we're using the brush and we doing that rhythmic movements or just that sweeping and gentle gliding is it's sending messages to the brain. That we're safe to calm down, to slow down, right? That it's okay. Let it go. And so the body is taking in that and it's calming down because it's sending those direct messages to the brain.

[00:45:40] Cecily Braden: And then when we start working one of, a lot of the movements when we're working around the neck we're right on that vagal nerve here. You can work different areas of the body. But. Really with that touch and those rhythmic movements, it's overriding the nervous system, and it's helping to put people into that parasympathetic state and calming them down. 

[00:46:00] Christa Biegler, RD: And that makes sense. 

[00:46:01] Cecily Braden: And that's what mLB does. 

[00:46:02] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah. That takes me back to, I remember. Working with occupational therapist around some sensory issues and one of my kids and I just remember that's a really common tool and in pediatrics for sure is like these little brushes that they use on babies to wash their hair in the hospital.

[00:46:17] Christa Biegler, RD: They used to brush on the skin. Oh, yeah. 

[00:46:20] Cecily Braden: Yeah. I've had a couple people reach out their children have ADHD and a couple have reached out that say that, their children have autism and the brush has helped them because it's the only thing that will calm them down.

[00:46:32] Cecily Braden: And I thought that's incredible, 

[00:46:34] Cecily Braden: right? 

[00:46:35] Christa Biegler, RD: What an unexpected response, 

[00:46:37] Cecily Braden: I have to tell you, I've completely unexpected, but the brush has brought so many unexpected things. I've been in this whirlwind lately cause it's thrown me into all these arenas that are not. But I'm finding out the brush is helping.

[00:46:49] Cecily Braden: So lipidema cancer rehab which we're going to start doing some work with. I'm working with some specialists on that and finding the people that can bring this through. I'm having people talk with me about some neurological disorders how it's helping with brain fog and calming and One of my customers, her grandfather doesn't like to be touched and she allows him to use the brush on him and I'm just, I'm inundated with all these amazing stories that it's really interesting to see how many different paths.

[00:47:21] Cecily Braden: So here I am as an aesthetician and an educator on, skincare. But it's so much bigger than that. And I'm realizing that and I'm like, Oh, here I am talking about wrinkles when someone's life is being changed because, it's having an effect on being able to focus or calm their child down, or, just bring a sense of relaxation to their home.

[00:47:43] Cecily Braden: And to me, it's remarkable beyond my dreams. I never would have dreamt it. But if, that's where I'm headed and that's where we're going in. And so I love, I always tell people, please share your stories with me because I'll reach out. I follow up on these. I try to find Hey, if this is helping one person, maybe it can help more people.

[00:48:01] Cecily Braden: And so I am the first to admit that I don't know something, but I definitely will find out the answer. I'll search for it. Let's see. Let's just go down that road. And so it's really interesting because it's brought a lot of different arena arenas, but new people into my life that where it's life changing and it's not just aesthetic, right?

[00:48:21] Cecily Braden: It's not cosmetic. So it's interesting. And I don't know, I'm just overwhelmed a little bit. 

[00:48:26] Christa Biegler, RD: Yeah, 

[00:48:27] Christa Biegler, RD: It's a great segue to where can people find you online and there's the lymphatic brush. com I'll mention that there's a coupon code, which is, which I'm going to use. It's less stressed 15 for the lymphatic brush and then you have other websites and places people can find you as well, right?

[00:48:44] Cecily Braden: Yeah. So if you go to the lymphatic brush. com, it will lead you to everything else. It leads you to our Instagram with tutorials. We've just created A ton more tutorials that we're going to be putting on the website. Also our academy, but lymphaticbrush. com start there. It'll take you where you need to go.

[00:49:02] Christa Biegler, RD: Thank you so much for coming on today, Cecily. 

[00:49:04] Cecily Braden: All right. Thank you.

[00:49:06] Christa Biegler, RD: Sharing and reviewing this podcast is the best way to help us succeed with our mission to help integrate the best of East and West and empower you to raise the bar on your health story. Just go to review this podcast. com forward slash less stressed life. That's review this podcast. com forward slash less stressed life.

[00:49:28] Christa Biegler, RD: And you'll be taken directly to a page where you can insert your review and hit post.

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