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Do you have dry skin? Well it is time to brush up! Body or “dry” brushing could be just what your body needs.

Body brushing is an Ayurvedic technique that is 5,000 years old that originated in India. Many cultures have used this technique as a form of healing and cleansing:

  • Japan – used a loofah to brush the body prior to taking hot baths.
  • Ancient Greeks – brushed with a scraping tool called a strigil (after strenuous exercise to cleanse the body and stimulate circulation).
  • Cherokee Indians – brushed with corn cobs to enhance beauty and strength.
  • Finnish – brushed with birch twigs

Benefits:

  • It gently removes dead cells from the skin gently which improves the texture of the skin. It also encourages cell rejuvenation and helps the body to get much needed oxygen.
  • It stimulates the lymphatic system to help eliminate toxic waste from the body.  Accumulated waste in the body can contribute to disease and premature aging.
  • It can regulate and increase circulate which is good for those who have a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet and stress.
  • It rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating the nerve endings in the skin. It may have a relaxing effect on the mind and body.
  • By increasing circulation, it helps the skin to absorb skin products more readily.
  • It contributes to better muscle tone and better distribution of fat deposits.

Brushing Technique:

Body brushing can be done as often as needed (weekly is preferred, especially during the winter season). The brush should be made of natural fibers.

  • Brushing should always be performed on dry skin and with the brush dry before bathing. Brush strokes should be in a circular motion and movements should always go toward the heart.
  • I suggest to my clients to stand in the shower and start brushing from the feet and work up the body. Brush up toward the lower back and lightly over the stomach (making sure to give a good workout over the buttock and thighs, if cellulite is present).
  • On the arms, brush from the fingertips to the shoulder and then to the chest. Do not use the brush over breast tissue because the bristles may be too irritating.
  • For the back, purchase a brush that has a long handle. Brush from the lower back up and across the shoulders and over the back of the neck.

Once brushing is complete, I suggest that a shower gel with an exfoliant be applied to the body while still dry. Then turn on the shower and gently scrub off the shower gel. This will allow all of the sloughed-off skin to wash down the drain.  After showering, pat the skin slightly, do not rub harshly because the skin may be tingly and slightly pink. Apply a good moisturizer or carrier oil (sweet almond, grapeseed or avocado). Your skin will feel soft and silky!

Cleanse the brush after each session with soapy, hot water and let dry thoroughly so it can be ready for your next brushing session.

References:

Curtis, N. (2014). Les Nouvelle Esthetiques & Spa, “ When friction is welcome: Dry skin brushing in the spa”. Retrieved December 22, 2014, pp. 64-68

Parentini, L. (2014). Skin Deep, “Brush up! An invigorating body treatment for instant results”). Retrieved December 22, 2014, pp. 26-29.

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