By Cat, Sept 2017
I first learned about dry-brushing when I did my first juice fast at the Wellness Education Center in Kalispell MT. We were instructed to dry-brush daily, just before showering, to stimulate our lymphatic system, an important part of the detox process. Those instructions start with the face and work their way down the body, ending with the toes. On legs and arms, you mainly brush upwards, toward the heart, but on the torso, some of the strokes are downward.
Dr. Mercola featured dry brushing in his newsletter today (1). His method is a bit simpler, and you brush toward the heart: upward on your torso and limbs; downward on your face. He also recommends doing this before you shower, and gives instructions on taking care of your brush.
What is a dry brush, and why use it?
It is a brush designed specifically for this purpose, with a wood handle and natural bristles of wild boar and/or horsehair. Don’t use one with synthetic bristles. A long, wood handle is very helpful for reaching your back and feet. For your face, you want a dry brush with softer bristles and a shorter handle.
When used properly, the dry brush (1):
- Exfoliates, removing dead skin cells and allowing your skin to “breathe” properly by clearing clogged pores of dirt, oil and other residue;
- Stimulates your hormone and oil-producing glands and your circulation, which helps leave your skin feeling fresh and more prone to healing;
- Stimulates your lymphatic system; and
- May also help to reduce cellulite.
How to use your body brush
This text is quoted from Mercola’s posting on dry brushing to stimulate your lymphatic system (1).
No matter what time of day you shower, it’s right beforehand that you want to take advantage of everything body brushing can do for you. Pick up your brush and get to work, starting with the lower part of your body first with swift, gentle upward strokes. “It’s important to work in this direction as it supports the natural ‘highway’ of your lymphatic system,” Nicole Eckert [a certified holistic nutritionist] says.
- Start working on your feet, using gentle, circular, upward motions toward your heart from the tips of your toes, including the tops of your feet, your soles and moving upward, first one side and then the other
- Brush slowly and gently; even if you’re ticklish, making it difficult to cover your stomach, sides and chest, it will become less so as your body gets used to the sensation.
- Do your arms, neck and as much of your back as you can get to. Remember to avoid areas where you might have scratches or anything that would make contact with the brush painful.
- Don’t use the regular brush on your face, as your skin is far too delicate. Use a specially designed facial brush, which has softer bristles.
- Once you’re finished, you can shower, which washes away all the dead skin cells you’ve loosened. Water set at warm or hot further increases your circulation.
This routine can be done before every shower or just three or four times a week, but perhaps hard-to-reach areas can be done once a week — whatever your schedule allows and your needs call for. You may also want to try an alkalizing bath, which adds a new dimension. One more thing: Since skin brushing is stimulating, doing it in the morning seems to be preferable to “waking up” your skin at night.
See also Wellness Mamma: Dry Brushing for Skin: 5 Benefits, and How to Do It the Right Way (2)
Caring for Your Body Brushes
Body brushes may be constructed of solid waxed beech for dry brushing or beech plywood for wet brushing, with wild boar, horsehair or even a combination of horsehair and bronze bristles, among other options.7 The plywood brush is best for wet brushing, as it can take sitting in water for long periods, as well as with alkaline baths.
- It’s best not to expose your wooden brushes to long periods in water, so when you’re not brushing, place the brush with bristles downward on the edge of the tub.
- If you do alkaline wet brushing, the bristles of the brush should be rinsed well using clear water. Excess water can be “tapped” off using a towel and the brush should be placed bristles downward on a dry towel.
- Wooden brushes should be air-dried, not with a hairdryer or placed on warm heating appliances as it can crack and damage the wood.
- The bristles of your body brush can be washed with lukewarm soapy water, but without excessively wetting the wooden parts. In time, the color of the wood will probably darken somewhat.
Experts also recommend replacing your brush every six to 12 months because the bristles do begin to break down.
- Mercola article: articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/09/11/dry-brushing-skin.aspx
- Wellness Mamma: wellnessmama.com/26717/dry-brushing-skin