How To: Dry Brushing
Have you heard about Dry Brushing yet?  It’s been getting some buzz recently in magazines and news programs as the method makes a comeback, even to “the rich and famous,” as a simple way to exfoliate your skin and get a glowing complexion.  Let me fill you in on a little more.  There are several other health benefits to dry brushing that make it so worth it to add to your morning routine.

A tip of the hat to Finland, where my family originated just three generations ago.  Dry brushing is said to have originated in Finland as a step in the cleansing process when taking a sauna.  From there it spread thru many European countries for use at home and is still used today in many upscale spas.  Eventually it was noted that dry brushing was doing much more than simply removing dead skin cells from the surface, as people were experiencing amazing health changes.  Weight loss, increased circulation, and many diseases healing from the body with no other changes to lifestyle.  Dr. Paavo Airola, a doctor from Finland who took a natural approach to disease treatment and prevention, noted this and began implementing Dry Brushing into the care of his cancer patients (as well as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and arthritis patients) beginning in the 1960′s as a way to rid the body of toxins naturally.  Great results were noted in his files through the rest of his career.

Dry brushing has a lengthy history, dating back many centuries.  And while dry brushing is commonly promoted today as a preventative method for dry skin and whole body exfoliation, leaving behind super soft new skin, there are many other health benefits as well:

Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing:

1. Diminishes the appearance of and eventually removes cellulite. (Cellulite is toxic!  Cellulite is toxic materials that are accumulated in your body’s fat cells as they are unable to be eliminated. Utilize the dry brushing techniques coupled with the Advanced Plan and burst training exercise. It will break down the unwelcome toxic body deposits and send them scurrying out of your body through your detox channels.)

2. Cleanses the lymphatic system to drain toxins into the colon and out of your body. (After a few days of dry brushing, you may notice gelatinous mucoid waste in your stool.  This is a good sign that your lymphs are clearing out!)

3. Removes dead skin layers to help improve skin texture and cell renewal
4. Strengthens the immune system
5. Stimulates the hormone and oil-producing glands, helping all body systems perform at peak efficiency
6. Tightens the skin by increasing blood flow, preventing premature aging
7. Tones the muscles and evenly distributes fat deposits
8. Stimulates circulation, encouraging body to discharge waste
9. Improves the function of the nervous system by stimulating the nerve endings in the skin
10. Helps digestion and nutrient absorption
11. AND an easy, inexpensive way to pamper yourself!

So how does this all happen?  As the body’s largest organ, the skin is responsible for eliminating about 1-2 pounds of waste every single day.  This means the skin is responsible for up to a quarter of the body’s ability to detoxify by getting rid of toxins through the sweat glands and pores.  Receiving 1/3 of the body’s blood circulation, the skin is the first place we see signs of illness, dis-ease, and lack of care when it is not stimulated properly.  Dry brushing the skin is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to awaken blood flow, massage the organs, stimulate nerve endings, mobilize fat, avoid water retention, and much more.  Over time the body functions at a higher level, just like after defragging your computer.  It’s cleaned out so it can work more optimally.

How to Dry Brush Your Skin

1. Purchase a natural, NONE synthetic, bristle brush.  I purchased this one from  Be sure your brush has a long handle, so that you are able to reach all areas of your body.

2. Dry brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning before taking a shower.  It should be performed on your dry, naked body.  If you are feeling ill, do it twice a day to aid in the healing process.

3. Begin brushing your skin in long sweeping strokes starting A) from the bottom of your feet upwards, or B) from the top of your head and face down downwards.  Sweep from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction.  Always brush towards the heart.  Try to brush several times in each area, over-lapping as you go.  Brush in a circular motion over your lymphs in the armpit area and groin area, and then continue to brush toward the heart.  This circular motion will massage the lymphs further and encourage the release of toxins.

How To Dry Brush  |  Healing Cuisine by Elise4. After brushing your skin, rinse off in the shower.   It is recommended to alternate temperatures in the shower from hot to cold.  This will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bringing more blood to the outer layers of the skin.  Proceed with washing your body as usual.  (Be sure you are not using toxic body care products as your skin will readily absorb the chemicals!  Visit to search the toxicity level of your products.)

5. After getting out of the shower, dry off with a towel.  You may notice the first few times you implement dry brushing, skin may peel off your body during dry off.  This is normal (and GOOD!), simply rub all the dead skin cells away.

6.  Follow up your shower by massaging in a pure plant oil (such as coconut, olive, almond, or apricot oil) or a completely food-grade organic lotion (such as MiEssence Body Cream or Earth Mama Angel Baby Body Butter) to your skin.  Your skin will soak up these nutrients and your pores will say thank you!

A few things to remember:

-  Clean your skin brush once every couple weeks with soap and water (I use castile soap).  After rinsing, place skin brush in a sunny widow to dry and prevent mildew.  The sun will naturally kill any bacteria.  And be sure that each family member has their own personal dry brush, for sanitary reasons.

-  Do not dry brush over skin rashes, sensitive areas, open wounds or cuts.  Let your body be your guide.  If it doesn’t feel right, don’t brush over that spot.

-  Apply as much pressure as you’d like while dry brushing.  Start out light as you get used to how the brush feels (it will be coarse and feel rough at first).  Condition your skin over time and increase the pressure you apply as you can stand it.

-  To begin to notice changes in your skin, it will take about 30 days of routine dry brushing.  For a full lymphatic cleanse and detox, it will take at least 3 months of daily dry brushing.  Keep it up from there — the results are worth it!

And that’s it!  It’s that simple to dry brush.  I’d say all-in-all, it takes me about 15 extra minutes every morning, and now it’s routine.  I’ve been doing it since January, when I found out I was pregnant.  I began implementing it daily as I knew when you are pregnant, your whole circulation system slows down a bit with the increased blood volume and all the hormone changes going on.  This is why many pregnant ladies get swelling in the feet and legs (or all over), not to mention pain in joints and other common pregnancy issues.  I knew that while these are “common” among the pregnant, it is not normal to experience these symptoms, so dry brushing has been my main technique to prevent any of these!  And let me say, it has been working!  Not a day of swelling yet, and I’m in my last few weeks.  No pain, no discomfort, great circulation and blood flow, and my skin has never ever looked or felt better!  I will be keeping up my dry brushing every day after baby arrives.  :)

Here is a great video from Amon Maternity on dry brushing while pregnant.  The technique and brushing pattern applies to all of us, but I can’t recommend it enough to dry brush while pregnant!

I hope you’ll try dry brushing!  It’s such a simple technique to add in to your Maximized Living lifestyle for maximum health!

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Written by Elise Schwartz
Elise Schwartz

Elise has been living a sugar-free natural lifestyle since 2008, after discovering her PCOS, infertility, and inability to lose weight were caused by toxicity in her food and daily life. She became a certified nutrition and body detox coach, and provides consultations to clients across the world. By living the principles she teaches, Elise proudly welcomed her son, Austin, into the world in 2011. She and her husband, Dr. Dave, own and operate a natural health clinic, Triad Health Center, in Greensboro, NC.


  1. Thanks so much for this post. I did a similar post on body detoxification, but I did not provide nearly as much information about skin brushing, so this information is very helpful! Perhaps I’ll link back if that’s okay? Here’s my blog:

  2. Hi Jessica – feel free to link back, thanks for the share! Checking out your site now :)

  3. Sounds great! I can’t wait to do this on my family as well as myself!! Does it also help with healing your body from stress and regulating your adrenals?? Also, is the brush you recommend the best kind? Also do you use the same brush on your face? How often do you have to replace your brush? How do you dry brush your face and do you do your head where your hair is at as well? Sorry, I’m new at this! ;)

  4. All valid questions, Melanie…ones I should have probably included in my summary. This is why I love when you guys read thru and come back with questions! YES — will help healing your adrenals. Adrenal fatigue rarely beings soley in the adrenals. Usually one or more parts of the endocrine system is damaged (usually toxic) that then pushes the adrenals into fatigue. So yes, it will help to move out toxins that are blocking the healing of your endocrine system. I do recommend an adrenal supplement that fits your place on the adrenal fatigue scale. Email for more info if you need help with this.

    The brush that I use and linked there in the post is the general type of dry body brush. It’s a natural bristle brush meant for use dry on skin. You can also use a loofha if you prefer, and maybe you’d want to use that on your face instead of the brush. I tried a loofha on my whole body for a week, but decided I liked the brush better and had smoother skin from brushing than loofha-ing. :)

    Otherwise yes, use the same brush on your face and scalp as the rest of your body. I skip my scalp, if my hair is particularly oily or has product in it.

    Oh, and brush replacement. I haven’t had to replace mine yet. I have had it since January, so going on 9 months. I wash it every week or two in warm water with castile soap then let air dry in the sun. The bristles seem to hold their shape, at least so far. I can tell they are softening a little bit from wear and tear. It might be smart to replace the brush yearly? Check back with me in January 2012, lol!

    Good luck as you start your dry brushing adventure! You’ll definitely notice the difference and feel great from frequent use! :)

  5. Great! I had some more questions though. Is dry brushing going to make your skin more sensitive to sun? Also, does it help with ingrown hairs and bumps on skin? As far as adrenals go, my husband’s adrenals have been way off due to stress, but we’re working on that. :) And I was wondering if dry brushing would help speed healing in his body from the damage of stress.
    Last question for now… ;) Would it be possible for you to demonstrate the dry brushing particularly on the face and scalp? The demo you have on your article is good, but she’s so quick it’s hard to follow exactly what she’s doing. As far as scalp goes, I have naturally curly hair, how would you brush and not cause tangles? Oh, last question for now, I promise ;)How would you go about dry brushing your kids? Or is it really necessary?

  6. Wow, plenty more questions Melanie! :)

    Dry brushing shouldn’t make your skin more sensitive to the sun, I’d think it’d do the opposite as your skin would be detoxing at a higher level. Don’t quote me on that, just my personal theory. But I personally have extremely fair skin and this was the first summer in my life I didn’t burn at all (and we don’t use sun screen). All I changed was adding in dry brushing.

    It will help with ingrown hairs and skin bumps. Be gentle on those areas, go only as hard as feels good. Don’t want to irritate the skin. But eventually it will break up the blemish and let the pours do the healing work.

    For specifically healing adrenals, I don’t have any research linking the two, but dry brushing will of course have an indirect effect. Your body will have less of a toxin buildup, so your adrenals won’t have to work as hard.

    When dry brushing your face, use gentle, upward movements. Smooth, upward gliding strokes lift the muscles of the face instead of dragging them down. Your facial brushing strokes should move up the neck and along the contour of the face. Make several gentle circling movements on the cheeks, always moving along the cheek muscles. Be careful never to stretch the facial skin. Sweep the forehead gently from the center to each temple.

    If your hair is too coarse to get the brush thru, no worries! Either skip your scalp all together, or go over it with a hair brush or comb, applying as much pressure as you can stand to cause the skin to emit oil.

  7. Whoops! missed your kid question there at the end. Absolutely, dry brushing is just as beneficial for kids as it is adults. If they’re old enough to do it themselves, teach them how. If not, do it for them as often as they’ll allow you.

  8. At the Frugally Sustainable blog hop, I went through and clicked on a bunch of links that looked good. After I was done, I realized most of them were from your website! Loving all your great info! I’m your newest follower!

  9. Welcome Kendra! Glad you stopped by! I will be checking our your site as well. Happy browsing! :)

  10. So funny that I would stumble upon this post today. I’ve been dry brushing for the past week and I love it. I love how it makes my skin feel. And of course, I love the detox part of it, too.

    I’d love it if you’d share this on my healthy living link-up:

  11. Hi Robin! Thanks for the invite. I will stop by and share it. Thanks for hosting the linkup!

  12. Yay! I just purchased one!!! We are focusing on eliminating bathroom toxicity this month. So thank you for helping me with one of the last things on my list!

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  14. Hi Elise,

    Is there a body soap that you recommend using after dry brushing?

  15. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and informative article, we should really take care of our ski. Have you heard about squalene which prevents and regenerates damage skin cells.

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  17. Awesome! I am recently pregnant and had no idea about the benefits during pregnancy, but do now! I believe it is getting into the habit of it! My legs start to feel heavy at the end of the day. It helps the ache to go away when I do it at night too!

  18. […] Your Skin form Psoriasis and Eczema from Spirit Healers Nourishing Tallow Balm from GNOWFGLINS How to: Dry Brushing from Healing Cuisine By Elise Homemade Body Wash from Live Simply Effective, Easy Homemade […]

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