Curious if dry brushing is right for you? This seemingly fresh new fad is actually a centuries-old practice that has been shown to generate health benefits both inside and outside the body. Check out this quick guide to dry brushing and good reasons why you should give it a try today!
What is Dry Brushing?
Before you check out the benefits of dry brushing you must first understand what dry brushing is. Best achieved naked in the shower before you bathe, dry brushing simply requires that you take a long brush designed for this purpose and brush it against your skin in long and circular strokes, starting at the ends of your arms and legs and working upwards towards your chest. This both brushes off dead skin cells and stimulates the flow of lymphatic fluid.
Lymphatic fluid, or lymph, is continuously pulled out of your body’s tissues and moved through an intricate network of organs, ducts, vessels, and glands (like your thyroid and your spleen). Unlike the circulatory system which transports blood throughout your body via the pumping of your heart, the lymphatic system requires muscle contraction and relaxation to move lymph fluid against the force of gravity and up from your legs and arms. As lymph flows, it helps to detoxify your system, snatching up and eliminating waste by-products like lactic acid and microorganisms, like infectious bacteria.
By alerting the body to potentially dangerous pathogens, the lymphatic system plays a key role in maintaining your strong immune system and helping you stave off illness. Dry brushing is one of the most effective ways to stimulate lymphatic flow which can easily stagnate with prolonged sitting and inactivity.
Reasons to Try Dry Brushing
In addition to helping you stay healthy and equipping your body with the tools to fight off infection, there are a handful of other reasons to try dry brushing including:
Dry Brushing Is Easy and Inexpensive
Gym memberships, organic whole foods, home exercise equipment, spa treatments . . . the list of expenses associated with the pursuit of health and wellness can put a big dent in your wallet. Luckily, dry brushing requires little but the right kind of brush and your time. Dry brushes often feature course bristles made from natural hair and a long handle to make brushing up from your feet and hands easier. There are also smaller hand-size brushes for dry brushing your face, neck, and chest.
Dry Brushing Exfoliates Your Skin
Did you know that around 50,000 skin cells die on the surface of your body every minute? Unfortunately, while many skin cells simply fall off your body, many also remain, building up, clogging pores, and attracting impurities. Dry brushing serves as a form of exfoliation, a process which scrubs and sloughs away accumulated dead skin cells, reviving and decongesting your skin for a fresher, smoother appearance.
Dry Brushing Stimulates Circulation
In addition to improved lymphatic drainage, dry brushing also stimulates blood circulation to your extremities. Each stroke of your dry brush gently massages the tissues right under your skin, triggering an increased flow of blood which brings fresh oxygen and nutrients with it. The rhythmic application of pressure to your muscles with dry brushing can also help relieve built-up tension and promote stress relief.
Dry Brushing Encourages Self-Care
If you are looking for easy self-care practices to improve your own emotional and mental wellbeing, dry brushing before a nighttime bath or a morning shower may be just the thing you are looking for. Not only does it feel good on the outside, but dry brushing connects you to your own body and even stimulates your nervous system, helping to calm and reinvigorate you.
Important Dry Brushing Reminders
The difference between dry brushing and simply scrubbing down in the shower is that brushing your skin while it’s dry helps it to retain more moisture as opposed to a hot shower which can actually suck moisture out of the skin. Always shower after you dry brush to help wash off all the gunk you exfoliated from your skin, and never dry brush over open or irritated skin. Find the pressure that feels best for you, and brush accordingly, lightening up on thinner areas around your chest and stomach.