The following article is a guest post.
It’s hard to keep up with the latest wellness trends when you have athletes touting the benefits of cupping, your spiritual guru throwing crystals at you, and your best friend insisting you try bullet journaling. Where to start and how to begin might seem overwhelming. If dry brushing is on your list of wellness trends to check out, don’t miss this essential guide.
What is dry brushing?
Dry brushing is actually an age-old practice of stimulating lymphatic flow in the body through targeted and directed brushing of the skin.
Dry brushes are typically characterized by coarse firm bristles made of natural hair. They might feature a long handle to make brushing extremities (legs and arms) and your back easier. Or they may be affixed to a hand-held pad for brushing your face – visit this link for more info.
Technically a form of exfoliating, dry brushing is best done prior to a shower and when standing in your tub or bathroom (as dead and dry skin cells will be sloughed off of you). There is a specific method to dry brushing based on the flow of lymph fluid in your body. What is lymph fluid exactly?
Your lymphatic system is an intricate network of lymphatic ducts, vessels, glands (like your thyroid), and organs (like your spleen) which serve as a sort of drainage system for your body. Lymph fluid is pulled out of your body’s tissues and flushed through this system where it is filtered to remove toxins and unwanted waste byproducts (like lactic acid). When an infectious foreign body, like bacteria, fungi, or a virus enter your body, it’s your lymphatic system which detects the danger and sends special cells to fight off the infection.
Unlike the system of blood vessels and arteries which circulate blood around your body via the pumping of your heart, lymph fluid is pushed through the lymphatic byways by the contracting and relaxing of muscles. It is mobilized down through your legs and then back up to your chest where it reenters the bloodstream. Hence, the technique of dry brushing requires long strokes up the legs and arms towards the chest to stimulate this natural flow.
What are the health benefits of dry brushing?
Because dry brushing both exfoliates your skin as well as boosts lymphatic flow, it actually bears several health benefits you can appreciate. These include:
1. Increased circulation.
The natural stimulation of the skin through dry brushing helps to increase blood circulation to underlying tissues, relieving skin congestion and spurring elimination of metabolic waste.
2. Stimulates detoxification.
Dry brushing perfectly accompanies a detox diet as it serves to trigger natural filtration systems in the body. Lymph fluid can actually build up and stay stagnant when you are inactive, sick, and so on. Dry brushing flushes the system and transports harmful toxins and germs out of the body. This natural cleansing process can also give your immune system a boost and better equip your body to fight off microbes that cause common colds.
3. Rejuvenates skin.
The exfoliation aspect to dry brushing largely benefits your outward appearance by smoothing out the texture and tone of your skin. As millions of skin cells die each day, many fall of your body but many also remain and build up. Combined with other impurities from the environment you end up with clogged pores, rough patches, and dry, flaky skin. Dry brushing smooths the surface of the skin, minimizing pores and giving you a refreshed, healthy glow.
4. Tackles stress.
Like yoga, aromatherapy, and massage, dry brushing offers natural stress relief that can benefit your mood, outlook, and even physical experience of pain. The deep pressure and rhythmic strokes of dry brushing can alleviate muscle tension, boost your attentiveness, as well as positively alter the way you feel about your body – hello renewed confidence!
Skin care is even more important during the cold, dry months of fall and winter. Consider incorporating dry brushing into your skin care routine for effective exfoliation and lymphatic stimulation!