Dry skin brushing uses a soft, natural fiber brush to gently brush your skin. It benefits many of our bodily systems including our lymphatic, nervous, immune and detoxification systems. Upon further examination of these systems, we can see how dry skin brushing would benefit these systems:
Skin – your skin plays a crucial role in the detoxification of your body. Daily we lather and smear our skin with lotions, soaps, deodorants and cosmetics which our skin absorbs and gathers beneath its surface, preventing it from breathing properly. Your skin is impregnated with millions of sweat glands which create a vast drainage system and when these sweat glands perspire, the blood is purified of poisonous wastes collected from the cells. When the pores of your skin become clogged with dead skin cells and chemical residue, your eliminative organs work overtime to detoxify your body. Dry skin brushing exfoliates your skin, removes dead skin cells and grime, therefore allowing your body to easily cleanse itself of impurities.
Circulatory System – our vast blood vessel network plays a large part in the health of our skin. It brings nutrition and oxygen to the skin, regulates body heat as blood is cooled when it moves through the surface capillaries and distills waste matter from the blood. Dry brushing helps all of these functions by increasing circulation and exfoliating and invigorating our skin which increases our blood supply to the area, bringing in nourishment and oxygen.
Lymphatic System – our lymphatic system is part of our circulatory and immune systems. It is the network that moves lymph fluid throughout the body, transporting wastes and toxins to be dispelled through the bladder, bowel, lungs and skin. Lymph fluid originates in our blood and slowly leaks out taking hazardous materials with it to be filtered through our lymph nodes which trap these substances. The lymph fluid slowly works its way around the body and back into the heart so it may be circulated again. Unlike the blood, the lymph does not have a central pump to move it throughout our body, so it relies on our physical movement to force the lymph through the lymphatic system. Dry brushing helps to move the lymph fluid throughout the lymphatic system which aids further in the detoxification of our bodies.
Immune System – white blood cells are our immune systems first line of defense. They circulate through the body and tissues through the lymphatic system and the blood stream. Dry brushing stimulates the circulation of the lymphatic fluid and therefore white blood cells. This circulation along with a removal of built-up waste products aids to strengthen our defense mechanisms, especially during cold and flu season.
Nervous System – the nervous system is intimately connected with the skin. This is evident by the abundance of touch receptors throughout the skins layers. Nerve points are spread out all over the skin and these points can be used therapeutically. Dry brushing applies friction to these points which invigorates the entire nervous system.
How to dry skin brush
When beginning a dry skin brushing routine, your skin may feel sensitive but will become accustomed to the feel of the brush. The bristles of the brush will also begin to soften. Dry skin brushing should never hurt.
Dry skin brushing takes 5-15 minutes per day before to showering. We do this prior to showering as wet skin will stretch and not yield the same benefits as dry skin. We also do this prior to showering so you can wash off the impurities and dry skin flakes.
The general rule of thumb is to always brush towards your heart. This helps to drain the lymphatic fluid back to your heart. Stroking away from your heart puts extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels. Use long, gentle yet firm strokes, avoiding circular or scrubbing motions. Use lighter pressure in areas with thinner skin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet. Avoid the sensitive areas like the face, open wounds, cuts, rashes or infections.
Starting at your feet, use swift upwards strokes up the legs towards the heart and do the same with the arms starting at the hands. Use a long handled brush to reach your back, again brushing up towards the heard. On the abdomen use brush strokes towards the center.