A wooden brush like the one pictured above might not look like something you’d want to brush against your body (and it is, to be fair, an acquired desire!), but the list of benefits is pretty stellar. Dry brushing is considered by many aestheticians to be an essential part of detoxing the body and unlike most spa treatments, it feels better (at least to me) when done on your own. Dry brushing works to remove dead skin cells, boosts circulation (the reason I started doing it is because I’m on long flights fairly often), improves digestion – it can even help improve the appearance of cellulite. Just make sure you’re using a firm but soft brush (you can get one at most spas).
Why should you dry brush? There are a number of benefits to dry brushing from stimulating the lymphatic system to boosting toxin removal, exfoliating, breaking up stored fat cells (cellulite) and encouraging energy rich blood flow. In the colder months of the winter, we are more sedentary and sweat less. This two factors coupled with vascular- restricting cold temperatures really slow down our natural detox process as well as rev up our fat storing process. Although it’s beneficial to dry brush all year-round, it’s especially beneficial to assist our body in detoxing through the winter months.
How do you dry brush? What is the best way to dry brush? A specific direction? There are a number of different techniques for dry brushing. Finding a pattern that’s natural and works for you is ideal. The basic rules for our hands, feet, legs and arms are to start at the farthest points from the heart and brush the skin upwards in firm short strokes towards the heart. For the chest and stomach areas, counter clockwise circular motions are recommended.
Going over the area multiple times is essential. The lymphatic system which is a major factor in removing toxins and water retention sits just below our skin. Essentially you are moving the toxins and fluid underneath the skin towards the heart, in the natural direction of flow. You are just helping speed that process along by brushing multiple times in an area to move the toxins further along our internal “plumbing system” where they can reach their destination and be properly processed.
When should you dry brush? Before you bathe/shower? Morning? Evening? Dry brushing in the morning before you bathe is ideal. You should stand on a towel or stand in your shower or bath to dry brush before bathing. You may notice a surge of energy after stimulating the skin and lymphatic system, so brushing in the morning is more ideal. Keep in mind that you are also exfoliating the skin so a towel or standing in the shower is a good place to catch all those dead skin cells that should flake off. After you have brushed, showering is a great way to wash off the surface toxins and dead skin cells. Soaking in a warm bath is also idea after dry brushing, especially if you add epsom salt, baking soda and essential oil. This will help open pores and assist your skin in further flushing toxins.
What are the overall benefits of dry brushing? Benefits of dry brushing are many and include flushing toxins to boost the immune system and general overall well-being, exfoliating daily for smoother skin and a reduction in clogged pores, stimulating systems in the body for an increased energy level, improving digestion for a flatter belly and healthier looking skin, flushing excess water to help with bloat and water retention, helping to send oxygen-rich blood into cellulite infested areas to break up and smooth the look of dimpled skin. Taking time for self-care is essential and aids in overall happiness and quality of life.
Anything else you think we should know about dry brushing? Make sure to follow the proper direction of brushing for each area. Going the “wrong way” can actually interfere with the lymphatic drainage system. Also, I’m not a huge fan of dry brushing the neck and face. It’s okay to do this as long as you have the correct brush and have mastered the process. The skin on our face and neck is more fragile than that on our bodies so being extra careful not pull or stretch this skin is essential.