Dry brushing: maybe you’ve heard about it in the latest health blog or seen a post about it on social media. It’s the new favorite treatment that celebrities are talking about and videoing all over the place.
We brush our hair, we brush our teeth…should we be brushing our body?
What is dry brushing?
Dry brushing, or body brushing, is an Ayurvedic technique of using a soft-bristled brush on your dry skin, in order to lightly exfoliate the skin, help remove dead skin cells, stimulate blood flow, and flush stagnant lymphatic fluid from the body (aka toxic build-up).
Why is dry brushing beneficial to overall wellness?
The skin is the body’s largest organ and it is responsible for eliminating 1-2 pounds of waste every single day! When your skin isn’t healthy, there’s a good chance that what’s under it isn’t healthy either. This is why we feel so strongly about bringing awareness to the role that skin health plays in overall wellness. How many health clinics do you know that actually have a skincare studio in the office?
Just under the skin lies a network of vessels called the lymphatic system. It is responsible for collecting, filtering and removing excess fluid waste from all over the body. In women, these vessels in the breasts carry fluids to the lymph nodes located in the chest, collarbone, and armpits. This is particularly important because fluid and waste buildup in the breast can lead to inflammation and stagnation, potentially causing more serious breast health conditions, including lymphedema.
Dry Brushing Benefits:
- Drains lymphatic system of stagnant fluid to help remove toxins from the body.
- Exfoliates skin by removing dead skin cells, resulting in a fresher appearance of the skin.
- Unclogs pores to allow better absorption of nutrients through the skin.
- Reduces cellulite by stimulating the cells and breaking down toxins from beneath the skin.
- Reduces body acne by lifting build-up that causes congestions in the pores.
- Boosts energy by stimulating sensory nerves, which invigorates the body.
- Promotes blood circulation by encouraging a light, healthy inflammation response to the areas being brushed (hence the redness).
- Tightens skin by increasing flow of blood to the outer layer of the skin. As blood flow increases and toxins release, your skin will firm.
- Improves digestion by promoting the detoxification of the lymph and digestive systems, while also helping to move excess water out of the body.
- Relieves stress, just like any massage (it’s amazing what a little #selfcare will do!).
How to start:
- Use a soft-bristled brush (Remedy sells the perfect (removable) long-handled brush).
- Preferably, brush in the morning before your shower to help boost your energy.
- Starting at the soles of your feet, work up the body following the natural path of your lymph system (see image below).
- Each section should be brushed upward in long, smooth, sweeping strokes (we aren’t burning rubber here… be easy on your skin!). 6-10 strokes per area should suffice.
- Brush towards lymphatic drain areas such as your armpits, belly, and groin (see below).
- Armpits, belly and chest area should get brushed in clockwise, circular motions.
Choosing the right brush:
I prefer brushes that have natural fibers rather than synthetic bristles, which tend to be too rough. I also love a brush that has a long handle attachment so you can reach those awkward spots on your back and booty. Just like with anything, it is recommended to replace your brush after 6-12 months. If you are brushing daily though, I would follow the 3–6-month rule or once you notice the bristles are getting worn out. You will also want to wash your brush weekly to remove any dead skin cells. I use a natural based shampoo or even my Dr. Bronner’s soap that I wash my body with. Remember to lay flat to dry and in a well aerated place.
But what about this oil?
I have been dry brushing on and off for years but moving to Colorado I noticed I wasn’t doing it as often and couldn’t figure out why. I started up again once I found a body oil that I was trying out. It was game over. I picked up dry brushing daily once incorporating a smooth body oil. I know what you are thinking, isn’t it called dry brushing? You are correct. Technically, dry brushing is done on dry skin. However, the benefits I have found since using an oil in my routine have been great.
- I still get the benefits of body brushing and helping my lymphatic system.
- My strawberry skin on my legs is gone (thanks mom).
- Colorado it dry…using a smooth oil has helped not make my skin sensitive or raw.
- It smells so delicious, but it is subtle.
- The Ayurvedic base of organic sesame oil and gentle essential oils nourishes my skin.
I am all about helping people incorporate daily habits that improve overall health in an easy, efficient way. When it comes to dry brushing, this routine can be incredibly powerful for women. Its ability to increase and improve lymphatic drainage makes it a great part of a breast health regimen. I like to regularly add in gua sha massage to further promote the movement of excess hormone and toxin buildup out of the breast tissue.
We take women’s health seriously at Gateway Natural Medicine and encourage patients to stay on top of monitoring their breast health with regular thermography imaging. Breast cancer is not the only concern when it comes to breast health. Inflammation, infection and fibrocystic breast disease are also conditions that warrant proactive treatment and care.
For optimal detoxifying effects, combine dry brushing with a healthy diet that includes plenty of fiber and detoxifying vegetables and engage in regular physical activity that stimulates lymphatic flow.
Have concerns, questions or just want to get your hands on the perfect dry brush? Call the office today!