Dry Body Brushing: An Invigorating and Detoxifying Body Care Ritual
As I get ready to enter my 44th year on this planet (what? Who said that!), I am acutely aware of the fact that most women my age are starting to NEED, not want to take care of themselves. Not sure about you, but I am stretched thin most of the time, and I know that before I can take care of anyone else, I need to put myself first once in a while. By this I mean taking some time out for me.
This can sometimes cost an insane amount of money if you: get your toes done, your hair did, skin and body care treatments (and the products that go with it), belong to a gym, yoga or pilates studio, replace your handle of Titos, and lets not forget any visits to your therapist that may arise. Things can get a bit out of hand financially, and I feel that that this is a contributing factor to why women pull back on taking care of themselves.
One of my favorite body care rituals is dry brushing. Its FREE (after you spend 15$ or so on your brush), detoxifying, and has many other benefits.
In a nutshell, dry brushing allows the lymph in our body to be stimulated. The lymphatic system lies very close to the surface of our skin and unlike blood, does not have a pump (or heart), to move it around the body. Lymphatic fluid is moved/pumped throughout our bodies by our daily muscle contractions. As lymphatic fluid is a huge component of detoxification, you might be able to see a huge reason or getting off your booty and moving about (any movement is better than no movement). Dry brushing manually moves the lymph around your body assisting in the detoxification process.
Anne King at The International Dermal Institute quotes:
“Stagnant lymph needs to be moved, and dry body brushing prompts the cells to release toxic deposits into the lymph while simultaneously cleansing the lymph itself. To spell it out, blood plasma containing waste is transported into the lymph vessels, where it is carried to lymph nodes. Here, macrophages and lymphocytes deal with unwanted bacteria and toxins, and the cleansed fluid is then returned to the blood supply. Our bodies contain far more lymph than blood, yet the lymph is dependent upon outside forces for its circulation around the body – lymph has no heart to pump it. Therefore, it is prone to being sluggish. One example of this is cellulite, which is formed by stagnant, toxic waste that gets stored between the tissues, breaking down connective tissue”
Cellulite is a topic for another day, however very relevant to bring up here, and I make this statement boldly through my experience:
Along with sloughing off dead skin cells, and increasing circulation, it is my belief that dry brushing consistently absolutely helps with breaking up and helping to remove cellulite, it just makes sense scientifically.
Getting the Best out of Dry Brushing
Dry brushing should be done in the morning as it is stimulating and increases energy. Since you are sloughing off dead skin cells, it is my recommendation to stand in the shower or outside. Purchase a brush that is not too soft as it needs to be a bit stiff to get the job done (look for cactus or vegetable derived bristles).
My favorite brush can be found here (akajdkjwiofj)
The protocol for dry brushing is easy to understand. Start from your toes, and work your way up. Always brush towards your heart, not away. As you brush lightly up your body, follow the brush movement sweeping up with your palm. (see video here)
*Using long fluid movements, start brushing from your toes up the front of your leg past your knee
*Continue past your knee and up to your bikini line paying attention to the inner and outer thigh.
*After brushing the front of your legs, do the same on the back, heels toward buttock.
*Using shorter strokes on your midriff brush from waist to navel.
*Brush across the chest toward your heart, and around the breasts
*Using long strokes brush up your arm from wrist to shoulder (on front and back of arm).
*A long handle on your brush helps with the back area, or you can always have a significant other do your back.
*Jump in the shower and finish with a lightweight body oil.
Dry brushing can take some practice and getting used to as It can be a bit uncomfortable at first due to the brush being stiff. However I guarantee that once you start dry brushing your skin will thank you, by glowing. It is also said that many skin ailments such as Eczema and Acne can benefit from this ancient, self administered therapy.
Always clean your brush with an anti-bacterial soap and a spritz of tea tree, and leave in a sunny place to dry.