Patient Education

Dry Brushing – Get Your Glow On!

Dry skin brushing is a simple, time-honored therapy with big benefits. Because it takes just a few minutes a day, dry brushing is an easy, effective and oh-so-enjoyable way to get healthy, vibrant, glowing skin. And if that’s not enough to love, dry brushing also supports the body’s ability to release weight and reshape.

The skin is the body’s largest organ. In fact, it’s often considered the third kidney because it plays a vital role in ridding the body of waste and toxins. We actually eliminate more than one pound of waste through our skin every day.

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Every cell in the body depends on the lymphatic system for nourishment and waste removal. This system works like a sewer system with more than 600 sites or “nodes” that collect and remove waste. In order to work efficiently, the lymphatic system requires exercise and adequate water intake. Dry brushing is an excellent way to promote the flow of lymphatic fluid and cleanse the body of wastes and toxins.

Dry brushing offers a host of benefits:

  • It exfoliates dead skin and allows the skin to breathe by opening, unclogging and decongesting the pores.
  • It increases blood and lymph circulation, revitalizing and toning the skin.
  • It stimulates sweat and oil glands, helping to restore moist and supple skin.
  • It reduces the appearance of cellulite. Cellulite is the result of fat deposits pushing through connective tissue in the skin. Dry brushing stretches the connective tissue and reduces the dimples that are characteristic of cellulite.
  • It calms the nervous system and promotes relaxation, which can be helpful for insomnia, improve focus, and benefit children with sensory integration issues.

How to dry brush:

  1. Use a natural tampico fiber (vegetable fiber) brush with a long handle. The bristles should be firm — not too soft and not too hard. Avoid synthetic fiber brushes because they can damage and irritate the skin. High quality, affordable brushes are available from Yerba Prima and Bernard Jensen brands.
  2. Your skin and the brush should be dry. The best time to dry brush is before jumping in the shower.
  3. Avoid dry brushing directly over open wounds or areas of irritation. Carefully brushing adjacent areas will support healing.
  4. If you are a new to dry brushing, begin with a light touch. As the skin becomes more toned, you can brush more vigorously.
  5. Brush from the extremities towards the center of the body using long, smooth strokes. Be sure to cover the entire surface area of the skin. Start at the hands and brush up the arms. Be sure to include the armpit area, which has many lymph nodes.
  6. Brush the upper back area and up the torso front, back and sides.
  7. Brush your feet (top and bottom), then move up your legs.
  8. Avoid dry brushing the face. Women should avoid direct brushing of the breast; rather, brush in a circular motion around the breast.
  9. Finish by dry brushing in clockwise circles over the abdomen.

August 6, 2018; Contributor: Linda Howes, CN, HHP – SHAPE Practitioner

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