DRY BRUSHING — a wellness phenomenon
Bare leg (and arm and ab) season is fast approaching. So how best to prepare our bodies, which have been enshrouded under puffy parkas, knit turtlenecks, and thermal leggings, for the light of day? Enter dry brushing—a wellness phenomenon touted for its benefits ranging from lymphatic drainage and increased circulation to cellulite removal and exfoliation.
Dry brushing has been around for hundreds of years, but it has been an increasing trend recently. It’s still surprising however, how few people really know what it is and what the benefits are.
Out of nearly 78 organs of the body, the skin is the largest. It acts as our grand protector. It’s not only a barrier against germs and pathogens; it’s a regulator for external temperature and helps with the absorption of vitamin D. Most noticeably, the skin is an organ of sensation, a complex network of nerve cells that alert us to changes in temperature, touch and pain.
So, as far as organs go, our skin rises to the top in importance. Literally. The good news is, unlike other organs of our body, it’s also readily accessible. We can touch it, scrub it, slather lotions and oils upon it, and we can brush it.
So.. What is Dry Brushing?
Basically, dry brushing is a technique that uses a dry, natural bristle brush to gently exfoliate our dead skin cells. However, those who love dry brushing say it’s far more reaching than that and put it at the top of their list of daily health regimens.
And the benefits?
- It reduces cellulite
- Loosens dead skin cells
- Stimulates acupressure points
- Moves the lymph
- Stimulates your immune system
- Wakes up circulation
- Makes your skin soft and smooth like silk.
When your skin regenerates, it loses almost a million cells in a 24 hour period. Dry brushing helps this process, which in turn helps unclog and open up those pores for a healthy glow and truly, baby soft skin.
Dry brushing stimulates your lymphatic system and helps with circulation. The main function of the lymphatic system is to rid the body of unwanted toxins and cellular wastes. It does this through a complex system of lymph vessels, lymph nodes and lymph itself which is a colorless liquid consisting of white blood cells. When your lymphatic system is compromised, it leads to a build up of toxins which can cause swelling or bloating or signaling more serious signs of disease.
Dry skin brushing your body will help your lymphatic and circulatory system by gently encouraging increased blood flow and lymphatic drainage to help detoxify your body of metallic wastes.
The end result leaves you with more energy and a decrease in swelling and bloated feeling.
Another claim is that dry brushing reduces the appearance of cellulite. - Cellulite is a build up of fat beneath the skin and it gives the appearance of bumpy or puckered skin usually seen around thighs, buttocks and abdomen. It’s mostly a condition seen in women and research hasn’t revealed a definitive cure but there are things we can do to help reduce the appearance of it. Along with healthy habits of diet and exercise, dry brushing is an easy adjunct to help soften and redistribute the fat cells to give the look of smoother, less dimpled skin.
Those who are obsessed with dry brushing do it first and foremost because it feels good. The gentle brushing of skin can be both soothing and invigorating. When done at the end of a day, it can help to relieve tension and stress and if incorporated into your morning routine can serve to energize you.
All you need to get started is a natural bristle brush. You can often find them in health and beauty stores or online (and very soon in the BB shop) .
A brush made of sisal fibers from an agave plant is a good option. Just make sure it’s a natural fiber brush of some kind as synthetic brushes can be too harsh and abrasive.
Most sources recommend dry brushing in the morning right before showering but as stated above, it can also be incorporated into a night time routine to brush away the stress of the day. Either way, you want to start with a dry brush and a dry naked body.
The only hard and fast rule is to brush towards the heart as you want to get the full benefits from blood circulation and lymph drainage to push out those toxins. You’re going to use both circular and upward, elongated strokes. The pressure should be firm but not so firm that it’s abrasive to the skin.
Your best bet is to start at the feet, move from your toes, up around the ankle bones, brushing in smooth strokes up all sides of the leg towards the knees, thighs and buttocks where more circular strokes are best to cover the wider area.
The same technique is used with the arms, starting at the fingertips, working in long strokes up the arm, toward the heart.
When dry brushing the back, it is acceptable to either brush down from the neck toward the hips or up the back toward the head, whichever is more comfortable.
Skip the face, the delicate skin in this area needs a much softer brush. Also, as common sense would indicate, don’t dry brush over any cuts, bruises or irritated areas of the body.
Afterwards, hop in a warm shower or bath to wash away all those thousands of dead skin cells. Finish by moisturizing with a body oil or hydrating cream. #BBTIP : Try using the Kapuluan RAW Coconut oil featured in the May Boxy - You won't regret it.
Oh, and one final advice; It’s good to clean your brush once a week or so with a mild soap and let air dry. Make sure it’s completely free of any moisture before your next dry brushing session, wet bristles don’t have quite the same effect.
So how often should you dry brush? Several times a week is best, but most find it so enjoyable they want to include it into their daily routine, and with it taking as little as 5 minutes to do, this is easily accomplished.