DRY BRUSHING: THE BASICS
On the surface, dry brushing might look suspiciously simple: to dry brush, all you need to do is run a dry brush against your skin in gentle, firm strokes. As it turns out, this Ayurvedic body detoxification practice has a host wide-reaching health and wellness benefits, including the exfoliation of dead skin, the improvement of circulation, and the draining out of toxins from the lymphatic system. Through the simple daily ayurvedic practice of dry brushing, then, you can make small but meaningful steps toward boosting your health and holistic well-being.
One of the most powerful elements of dry brushing is its ability to stimulate the lymphatic system. In short, the lymphatic system acts as an important fluid guard against illness and disease, helping protect the body against foreign elements, toxins, or other impurities. As the firm, stimulating motions of dry brushing boost oxygen and blood flow, the flow and drainage of lymph is also boosted, allowing for healthy circulation and the necessary expulsion of toxins.
On the surface of the skin, a boosted circulation can also leave your skin looking more lifted, firm, glowing and helps in enhancing energy and blood flow. In addition, while this simple practice only takes a few minutes to complete, the soothing strokes of dry brushing will leave you feeling instantly rejuvenated and energized. Given the immense short- and long-term benefits of this Ayurvedic practice, UMA even created our own Lymphatic Detox Dry Brush! Made of natural, vegan wood and bristles, this dry brush is a worthwhile and luxurious addition to any self-care routine.
THE BENEFITS OF DRY BRUSHING
- Natural Detoxification: When considering a natural detox, you might think of a cleanse or supplements as go-to detox practices. However, dry brushing takes the idea of natural detoxing to the next level: without needing to follow any diet or strict regimen, you can promote detoxification within the lymphatic system through the simple movements of running the dry brush against your skin.
- Reduced Swelling: In addition to the general promotion of good health and the expulsion of toxins, a stimulated and active lymphatic system has also been shown to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Boosted Circulation: Dry brushing promotes the flow of blood and oxygen within the body, allowing important nutrients and white blood cells to circulate. Poor circulation can be associated with conditions like memory loss, a lack of energy, and hair loss.
- Improved Complexion and Exfoliation: In addition to its importance for our physical health, strong circulation also manifests itself in a brightening natural glow. On the surface level of the skin, dry brushing also helps to release dead skin follicles, toxins, and dirt that have accumulated, thus exfoliating the skin.
- Reduced Appearance of Cellulite: One study even showed that lymphatic drainage—a key benefit of dry brushing—is effective in thinning out fat and reducing the appearance of cellulite.
HOW TO DRY BRUSH
Before you try out dry brushing for yourself, there are a few important things to note. Firstly, people with inflamed or sensitive skin, an open wound, or conditions like psoriasis and eczema should exercise caution when dry brushing to ensure that the skin doesn’t become irritated. Additionally, while it might seem natural to apply a lot of pressure to feel as though the skin is being massaged, it’s important to apply only a moderate amount of pressure. That way, you can protect your skin from becoming irritated or sore.
Essentially, you want to use short, delicate strokes beginning from the feet and moving upward to the back, stomach, arms, chest, and neck. While you should approach the legs, arms, and back in short, upward strokes toward the heart, the stomach and chest should be brushed in circular motions, and the neck area should be brushed downward toward the heart. Below is a diagram that lays out these steps—feel free to save it and refer to it whenever you dry brush!