Dry Skin Brushing for Health

I am guessing that you regularly brush your teeth and hair, but have you ever brushed your skin? Although not commonly done by most people, dry skin brushing is a quick, easy and low-cost therapy that can have a whole host of health benefits when integrated into a daily self-care routine. Here are some of the benefits:

  • Improved movement of lymph: The lymphatic system brings nutrients to our cells, removes waste and is full of immune cells that are on the lookout for bacteria and viruses. Unlike the blood, which is primarily moved through the body via the pumping action of the heart, lymph relies on other forces, such as movement and massage, to move it. Dry skin brushing provides gentle assistance in moving the lymph towards the thoracic duct to be drained into the blood stream, which improves our ability to get ride of toxins and also helps to improve immune function. As a bonus, dry skin brushing also stimulates blood circulation, especially in small blood capillaries.

  • Natural exfoliation: Dry skin brushing helps to remove the topmost layers of dead skin cells and waste products that have been released by perspiring. Helping to unblock clogged pores, your skin will be able to "breathe" better, and allow for enhanced elimination through sweat. After a few weeks of regularly doing dry skin brushing, you will likely be pleasantly rewarded with softer, smoother, skin.

  • It's energizing: For some people, dry skin brushing can be energizing! For this reason, I generally recommend it before your morning shower.

Here's how to do it:

Use a natural bristle brush with a handle (longer handles can help you to reach harder to reach areas like your back), and brush your skin with long, smooth, gentle strokes. I generally start at my feet and hands (include soles and palms!), moving up my arms/legs towards the center of my body, always towards the heart. Include your abdomen, chest and back. Go over each area of your skin at 5-10 times. Remember that the strokes should be gentle, and never cause pain or redness of the skin (some slight pinking can happen and is OK). Never brush over open skin, cracked skin or rashes. Avoid genitals, nipples and face. Always do skin brushing with a DRY brush. The best time to do dry skin brushing is before your shower.

*Remember to wash your brush with castile or vegetable oil soap every few weeks, and let it dry in the sun.*

I find that optimal, sustainable health is often achieved by making small changes in your life over time. And who doesn't have a few minutes to add dry skin brushing into their morning pre-shower routine? 

One word of caution: as with any therapy that stirs up toxins, you have to make sure that your organs of elimination are working optimally, otherwise any stirred up toxins will not have a way to exit the body and could cause an aggravation of symptoms. Always check with your provider before trying any new therapy to avoid potential aggravations.

Happy brushing!

Dr. Khaira