The ABC of Dry Brushing (ABC= Art, benefit & consistency)
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
A great way to incorporate more self love in your life is by adding quick, simple and effective habits into your daily schedule. Consistency is key, over time you will really feel and see the profound benefits.
Dry brushing is an excellent way to shake off sluggishness and wake yourself up.
A few minutes of dry brushing will rev up your circulation and help give you softer skin.
And, as with most things, essential oils can make the routine more effective – and the experience even more awesome, see list of recommended oils below.
Dry brushing the skin in a particular pattern with a dry brush, ideally before showering is one of those rare things that feels just as good when you do it yourself as when someone else does it to you, and it’s incredibly easy to incorporate into your routine.
Most experts recommend dry-brushing in the morning, rather than before bed as it has energizing qualities.
Dry brushing with essential oils is a habit that I decided to add to my daily regime to help improve my circulation. I have read a myriad of articles with fascinating evidence endorsing dry brushing being right up at the top of things that can really get things 'moving and flowing' in the body as well as being super detoxifying. It can also protect your skin by stimulating oil producing glands.
You'll be left feeling invigorated, energised and uplifted.
By adding essential oils to the bristles you can further enhance the benefits. I love doing this in the morning (it only takes 5-10 mins) followed by an intermittent hot + cold shower (also known as a contrast shower).
4 MAIN BENEFITS OF DRY BRUSHING INCLUDE:
STIMULATES THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM AND HELPS THE BODY TO RID ITSELF OF TOXINS
The lymphatic system is a major part of the body’s immune system. It is made up of organs and lymph nodes, ducts, and vessels that transport lymph throughout the body.
Dry brushing helps to eliminate toxic build-up on the skin and encourages lymphatic drainage, essential for ridding the body of waste materials. The liquid known as lymph carries pathogen fighting white blood cells within it and filters out bodily toxins in the lymph nodes.
The lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump to move this liquid around the body, as is the case with blood and the heart.
Therefore healthy daily routines should include movement practices and dry brushing to stimulate both the circulatory and lymph systems.
When dry brushing, work in a sweeping position from the extremities towards the heart.
Make sure that you sweep past areas where lymph nodes gather such as in the backs of your knees, your groin, armpits, and neck. If you can, dry brush before you shower so you can wash the external toxins away after.
In dry brushing, the skin is typically brushed toward the heart, starting at the feet and hands and brushing toward the chest.
This helps with circulation and increased energy.
Exfoliates the skin for a fresher appearance and healthier looking skin with a natural glow.
Stimulates the cells to help reduce the appearance of cellulite.
SELECTING A DRY BRUSH
I use a firm, natural bristle brush with a long handle, which allows me to reach my entire back and easily brush the bottoms of my feet and the backs of my legs.
HOW TO DRY BRUSH: THE METHOD
Dry brushing can be done daily over the whole body, preferably in the morning before showering.
Start with a gentle brush and soft pressure. Work up to a firmer brush and more firm pressure over time.
Starting at the feet, I brush the bottoms of my feet and up my legs in long, smooth strokes. I typically brush each section of skin 10 times.
For lymph flow, I always brush toward the heart/chest area where the lymph system drains.
Try to always brush toward the centre of the body.
Repeat the same process with the arms, starting with the palms of the hands and brushing up the arm toward the heart. Again, I brush each section of skin 10 times.
On the stomach and armpits, brush in a circular clockwise motion.
I then repeat the process on my abdomen and back. If you would like to dry brush your face, use a more delicate brush.
Note: Take care not to brush too hard.
A soft and smooth stroke often works best.
My skin is slightly pink after brushing, but it should never be red or sting.
If it hurts, use less pressure!
IMPORTANT Warning if you have sensitive skin, eczema or other skin conditions, this is one habit you may want to skip as aggressive skin brushing could irritate sensitive skin over time.
As long as you don’t ignore warning signs like discomfort, itchiness, redness, or pain,
done the right way a dry brushing session should benefit most people.
Avoid sensitive areas, don’t use overly firm bristles, and stop if any worrying or painful symptoms occur.
You can also create your own blend with essential oils that have cellulite-fighting properties.
The three main essential oil benefits for cellulite are helping the body release fluid, toning the skin, and stimulating the skin. Using a dry brush can help stimulate blood flow to the skin as mentioned.
Here are some of the best essential oils to incorporate with your dry brushing ritual:
REDUCING SKIN PUFFINESS
Fennel, geranium and juniper berry purify the skin and reduce puffiness.
Fennel is often used to relieve digestive upsets, like indigestion, cramps and gas. Those cleansing actions also help flush out toxins and decrease water retention.
Geranium acts as a diuretic and stimulates circulation and lymphatic flow to reduce puffiness and water retention.
3. JUNIPER BERRY
Juniper Berry’s diuretic properties reduce fluid retention while its antioxidant properties stimulate circulation and the lymph system to help the body clear out waste.
Cypress, Grapefruit and Rosemary help tone the skin to lift sagging tissue, improve the texture of the skin, and give a smoother appearance to the skin.
Cypress oil has astringent properties which tackle the appearance of cellulite by drying, strengthening, and toning the skin. And like juniper, it clears out excess fluids and boosts circulation.
Toning, tightening grapefruit refreshes the skin while toning sagging tissue. Grapefruit oil contains bromelain, an anti-inflammatory enzyme that can help promote skin health and decrease the appearance of cellulite. And inhaling grapefruit can also reduce food cravings.
A strong astringent, Rosemary is used topically to stimulate circulation, clear out lymphatic blockages, and tone and tighten the skin.
Black Pepper, Coffee and lemongrass stimulate and energize the skin and get the fluids flowing.
7. BLACK PEPPER
Spicy Black Pepper has natural skin-warming properties that get your blood flowing. That heat also gets you sweating, which helps reduce fluid build up and cleanses the body from the inside out.
The uplifting scent of Lemongrass is refreshing and energizing. Used topically, the oil stimulates blood flow while also relaxing the muscles.
Cedarwood Oil stimulates the circulatory system as well as acts as an astringent to tone skin.
Other useful oils include Lemon, Sage and Sweet Birch
Replace the brush every 6-12 months as the bristles will eventually wear out. I also recommend washing your brush every week to remove dead skin cells.
IMPORTANT NOTE: As always, be sure to dilute your oils and pay particular attention to any photosensitive oils (singles or blends) you use if you will be exposed to UV Rays afterwards!
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