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 Amazon.com. 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.
4. 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 www.ewg.org 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!