A few weeks ago I posted a photo on Facebook & Instagram of my dry brush routine. I received a lot of questions via comments, email and even texts from friends on how to get started so I figured a post was in order.
Baby Step To Balanced Living #2: dry skin brushing.
I love dry brushing and swear by it.
What I love even more is that Joseph Pilates touted the benefits of dry skin brushing in his book Return To Life Through Contrology back in the 40's. The man was ahead of his time in so many ways.
He says it better than anyone...
"While conceding the fact that nowadays practically every one of us routinely indulges in daily baths, experience has nevertheless taught us that only a small minority really achieve thorough cleanliness thereby, from our point of view.
In our opinion, the correct technique to use in accomplishing this highly desirable result is to use only a good stiff brush (no handle) since this type of brush forces us to twist, squirm and contort ourselves in every conceivable way in our attempts to reach every portion of our body which is otherwise comparatively easy to reach with a handle brush.
The use of a good stiff brush as described stimulates circulation, thoroughly cleans OUT the pores of the skin and removes dead skin too. The pores of your skin must "breathe" - they cannot do so unless the are kept open and freed from clogging.
Your skin will soon respond most gratifyingly to this perhaps seemingly "Spartan-like" treatment and acquire in the process a new, fresh, glowing appearance and develop a texture smooth and soft to the touch. So brush away merrily, and heartily too!" - Joseph Pilates
Why dry brush?
Dry skin brushing is known to have many benefits. Brushing daily will:
- slough off dead skin cells allowing the body to eliminate toxins more efficiently.
- improve circulation which helps to cleanse the blood, again aiding in detoxification.
- stimulate the lymphatic system which is one of the body's primary ways of removing toxins.
- a healthy lymphatic system leads to a healthy immune system (avoid sickness!).
- reduce and prevent cellulite (though I have yet to hear research to support the claim, many say it's true so I threw it in for good measure. Can't hurt right?)
Keep in mind that the skin is the body's largest organ. And surprisingly, it's responsible for 25% of the body's detoxification.
Another interesting fact is that your body contains more lymphatic fluid than it does blood.
Blood is naturally pumped through the body by the heart. But the lymphatic fluid doesn't have it's own designated pump to keep things moving. So in our sedentary culture this becomes a problem. Exercise is the best way to get the fluid flowing but if you don't work up a sweat every day, dry skin brushing can be a helpful alternative.
How to dry skin brush:
It's best to brush first thing in the morning, but any time of day will work.
Dry brush before you enter the shower so that the shower can wash away the dead skin cells that are sloughed off in the process.
Start at your feet and work your way up toward your heart.
Use circular strokes with gentle pressure, focusing on areas where you have concentrated lymph nodes (back of knees, bikini line, inner arm and arm pit). When in doubt, think "toward the heart."
The only exception: when dry brushing your chest move toward your underarms to help flush the toxins outward (and be gentle).
You do not need to brush the skin on your face or neck.
The process can take anywhere from 2 - 15 minutes depending on your preference.
How to get started:
Dry brushing is a simple practice that will truly benefit your health in the coming year. It's invigorating, energizing and a great way to start the day. Add it to your morning routine and enjoy the benefits.
I'm curious, will you give this baby step a try in 2014?
PS - I dry skin brushed every day during my pregnancy and really think it helped keep my circulation and health in check. I was pregnant during the winter and never got sick! I also didn't have an ounce of swelling in my feet, ankles or fingers. I can't prove that it was all due to dry brushing but it sure didn't hurt! Check out more of my healthy pregnancy essentials here.
PPS - Did you try baby step #1? Warm lemon water in the morning.