What is Dry Brushing?

Very simply, dry brushing is a technique to gently brush the skin with, not surprisingly, a brush that is dry.

“Why in the world would we brush our skin?” you might ask. Well, do you brush your hair? Do you brush your teeth? Does brushing keep those elements healthy?

It’s kind of the same with skin. Daily brushing exfoliates dead skin cells and keeps skin healthy. There are a lot of claims about reducing cellulite, making skin firmer and more youthful and so on, but that is outside my area of expertise so I will leave it to others to debate. But I do know that our skin is our largest organ, it protects us—both as a barrier and in eliminating toxins through sweating—which also helps keep us cool when the temperature goes up, and skin helps us keep our shape (literally!). It is definitely in our best interest to keep our skin healthy!

But there’s a HUGE bonus in brushing skin.

Our lymphatic system contains many vessels, starting with very small vessels that collect lymph fluid (containing wastes and toxins) as the fluid exits cells.  The lymph fluid travels through larger and larger vessels (and lymph nodes along the way) until finally it gets dumped into veins to be eliminated through the kidneys.

The lymphatic vessels resemble the blood vessels, but unlike our circulatory system, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump like a heart. The “pump” is movement. This is one of the many reasons why exercise is so good for us. If we stop moving, the lymph stops flowing, and we can start to feel very sluggish and out of sorts.

The vast majority of our lymphatic vessels are superficial, just under the skin. So when we do dry brushing, not only are we helping the skin itself, but we are helping to pump lymph fluid through our system and out.

This very beneficial therapy is good for anyone, but especially for someone who has swelling because their lymphatic system has been compromised due to surgery or injury. I especially recommend dry brushing for everyone during cold and flu season to give the immune system an extra boost. But it’s good to do every day. And you get healthy, glowing skin in the process!

How to Do Dry Brushing

All you need is a very soft natural bristle brush. If you have trouble reaching your back and you don’t have anyone to help you, you might want to get one with a long handle. They’re not expensive. I sell some without handles in my office for $5. You can find them online at websites like MassageWarehouse.com and many others.

The best time to do dry brushing is in the morning, before your shower. That way you can wash away any skin that you’ve sloughed off. Dry brushing is done dry (it’s not a scrub brush) and naked or nearly naked. We use very, very soft short strokes. Do not brush over any skin that’s cut, scraped, rashy, etc.

We always brush toward the heart, because we want to encourage lymph flow in the directly it naturally travels. This is especially important in the arms and legs. On your torso, you can go around your belly and chest in a clockwise direction. On your back, you can use short strokes toward the general direction of your heart as best you can.

You can brush your face with short, light circular strokes if you want to, but it can be irritating, and you probably already know better ways to exfoliate that skin.  To brush your arms and legs, I recommend starting close to your body and using short, light strokes toward your core. So, for example, start about three or four inches away from the very top of your arm or leg, and stroke up toward your heart.  Try to do front and back as best you can. Then move three or four inches down from where you started those strokes, and brush up toward your original starting point. And then move a few inches down from those strokes’ starting point, and brush up toward where you left off, and so on. Remember, light, gentle strokes.

Here’s a link to a YouTube demo I like by Sue Hitzmann, author of The MELT Method. Watch…

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected]

Happy Brushing!

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Category : Blog &Health Posted on July 9, 2014

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