Dry skin brushing is an easy, quick and pleasurable way to add to your health and as something physical that you can do yourself (or with someone else?) at home, also adds a fantastic De-Stress sense of ‘looking after yourself’. It helps to keep your skin healthy, which contributes to overall body health – clogged pores are really not just a cosmetic concern.
The main aim behind skin brushing idea is to get rid of surface toxins and ‘energise’ your skin to get blood flow going. Our skin doesn’t get the ‘rough treatment’ it might from living out in nature, which some scientists believe can contribute to the immune system almost forgetting this large area, making infection and skin conditions more likely. Dry brushing can help invigorate and remind circulation and immunity to help look after your skin.
As your skin is your largest organ and the second organ of detoxification after the liver, brushing it increases the capacity of your skin to eliminate toxins, making it easier for your whole body to shed wastes. Dry skin brushing also rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin, contributes to healthier muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits – in other words may even help to reduce cellulite! Since you’re actually brushing over every piece of skin you have, your lymphatic system responds well and you receive a whole body mini-acupressure workout.
You can buy body brushes in good chemists, health stores and department stores. Choose a good hard one, your body will thank you for it. Your skin may feel sensitive at first and you can start slowly as you get used to it or even start with a softer brush, but this just shows how much you need it.
Dry brush as often as you can before a bath or shower, it is good to get into a daily routine. Start by brushing the soles of the feet and then the whole body by brushing with long strokes all over, towards the heart and concentrating on upper arms, thighs and stomach for the thyroid and female hormone regulation. Brush your entire back and abdomen area, shoulders and neck. You can concentrate on any areas that feel ‘sore’ as you may be holding onto toxins there, but build up with this, so you don’t detoxify too fast. Finish by brushing the stomach in a clockwise circle to follow and encourage the movement of digestion. Avoid any sensitive, irritated, infected or damaged areas of the skin and avoid facial skin as well.
Alternating hot and cold showers afterwards can also help circulation, but take some getting used to, so you can ease in by starting off with luke warm and slowly moving towards fully cold. If Stressed and Tired (see The Stress Suits chapter of The De-Stress Diet), you can direct cold water towards the adrenal glands just below the mid point of your back, which will help to stimulate them. For extra detoxification, you can rub unrefined organic sesame or linseed oil (from health food shop) into your entire body before your bath or shower and when you have time, you can make this a thoroughly relaxing experience by lying for 20 minutes to allow it to soak in. Hot water will then drive the oil into your body tissues as it attempts to escape from the water.
Wash your brush regularly with soap and water and you can add a few drops of lavender oil to the bristles before brushing to ward off bacteria and give yourself a bit of extra cleansing and pampering.