Even if you don’t, the multitude of adverts that we’re confronted with make it clear that many people pay great attention to caring for their face. After all, it’s the bit of us that people see the most. The same cannot be said of the skin covering the rest of the body. As the body’s largest organ, the skin is an important player when it comes to your health. It probably deserves a little more attention!
Although it has a long history, dry brushing has not been so common in modern times. It has, however, been experiencing something of a resurgence as its benefits have been rediscovered.
What is dry brushing?
As the name suggests, dry brushing is simply the process of brushing your skin, when its dry, with a brush.
It’s a straightforward process, but one that is becoming increasingly popular because of the range of health benefits that are said to be linked to it.
Benefits of dry brushing
The process of exfoliation has long been recognised as being important for improving the skin’s appearance, clearing oil and dirt out of the pores.
This is the benefit that is often noticed the first time someone dry brushes. The clouds of dust that fly into the air as a firm bristled brush is run over the skin are the sign that dead cells are being loosened and removed.
2. Lymphatic Support
The lymphatic system is responsible for removing the waste produced by each of your body’s cells. There are miles of microscopic tubes to transport the lymph fluid round your body. Unlike blood vessels, which have the heart to pump blood, there is no central pump for the lymphatic system.
The primary way lymph fluid is moved about the body is by the peristalsis effect caused by the movement of adjacent muscles. The more you move, the better; exercise will increase your lymph flow several fold.
Many of the lymph vessels run just below the skin. Dry brushing the skin regularly helps stimulate the normal lymph flow within the body, helping it detoxify.
3. Increasing Circulation
Dry brushing increases circulation to the skin, which increases nutrient delivery to cells and encourages the elimination of metabolic waste from the body.
4. Cellulite Help
Many people have claimed that regular dry brushing helped reduce their cellulite and smooth away less-than-perfect spots on their legs.
5. Energy Boost
Dry brushing can act like a natural energy boost, this is likely to be related to the increase in circulation. For this reason dry brushing is great as part of a morning routine.
How to Dry Brush
Dry brushing can be done daily, ideally in the morning as part of your ablutions. It’s also a good idea before a nice relaxing detox bath. All you’ll need is a good-quality brush; natural bristles are what you want to look out for.
There are two schools of thought when it comes to dry brushing; the “American” and “European” methods. The American method is simplest and thus the easiest when you’re getting started; that’s the approach described here.
The general rule for each part of your body is to brush towards the heart. This helps to maximise lymph drainage.
- Starting at the soles your feet, use long smooth strokes going all the way up your legs. Brush each section of skin several times.
- Repeat the same process with the arms, starting with the palms of the hands and brushing up the arm.
- On the stomach, brush in a circular clockwise motion, with strokes going out towards the legs
- Repeat for the back – a brush with a long handle may make this easier.
- Brush down the neck towards the abdomen.
- Don’t brush too hard, especially over sensitive areas. A soft and smooth stroke is best. Your skin may be slightly pink after brushing, but it should not be red or sting. It should go without saying but, if it hurts, use less pressure!
- You may want to start with a gentle brush and soft pressure. Work up to a firmer brush and more firm pressure over time as your skin becomes less sensitive to the brushing.
- For your face, use a more delicate brush – specialist brushes are available.
- Remember to wash the brush from time to time to remove dead skin cells.
- You’ll probably need to replace the brush every 6-12 months as the bristles eventually wear out.