Dry brushing is the act of gently exfoliating the skin to remove dead skin cells, stimulate lymph flow, and help reduce the appearance of cellulite. But why is this simple act so important?
Our bodies are made up of many systems, one of which is the lymphatic system in charge of waste removal. The lymphatic system, unlike the heart, does not have its own pump, so we must do things to move lymphatic fluid towards the heart where it will be sent into the bloodstream. This allows toxins to be removed from the body.
One of many self-care methods to help the lymphatic system such as Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD) massage, rebounding, epsom salt baths, and spending time in the infrared sauna, dry brushing has become one of the most popular methods due to its accessibility — it’s something you can do at home in just a few minutes. An easy technique that will leave you feeling and looking amazing, here is a quick guide to dry brushing…
Purchase a natural bristle brush that comes with a handle. This will allow you to get those hard-to-reach areas. It’s best to dry brush first thing in the morning on dry skin, right before you shower. Dry skin is important because you want to remove dead skin cells, and a post-brushing shower will wash away any remaining debris. After you shower, lather yourself in a good quality organic lotion or oil, always remembering that our skin is an organ so whatever you apply to it will move throughout your entire system!
Start on the left side of the body at the arm. Gently, make five circles on both sides of the hand, then five long, gentle strokes up to the elbow. Next, make five circles at the crease of the elbow, then five long strokes up both sides of the left arm to the armpit. Circle the armpit five times. (This is one of the largest lymphatic ports, so if you only work on two areas, this should be one of them.) Repeat this on the right arm.
Next, take the brush to the back side of the shoulder and do five long strokes from the back of the shoulder to the front, then down the chest towards the heart. Do this on both shoulders, then make an X at the chest between the breasts and swoop under each breast.
To continue, make five long strokes starting at the back around the sides towards the abdomen. (We carry most of our lymphatic fluid in the gut, so we want to make sure to give this area much love and attention.) Start on the bottom of the right side near the hip, stroke up the right side just below the breast. Go across the upper abdomen towards the left side of the body, down the left side, and eventually make a square across the abdomen. Once you have completed the square, start working your way towards the center in that same direction, making small circles.
Move to the feet, making five circles on both sides, with five long, gentle strokes up each leg, stopping at the knee. Follow with five circles at the back of the knee and five long strokes up the front of the leg to the groin and five small (and very gentle) circles across the groin. Finish the body with broad strokes up the back of each leg, making sure to go across the hips and buttocks.
Although there is no getting rid of cellulite, the act of dry brushing on a regular basis will greatly improve the look and smoothness of the skin. This process, once mastered, should take no more than five minutes and only needs to be done three to four times per week. If you continue to dry brush on a regular basis you will improve your immune system, help hydrate your skin, decrease seasonal allergies, boost your mood, and even improve your sleep.
Self-care is vital for overall health and well-being, and dry brushing is a quick and enjoyable activity to assist in this. Happy brushing!
Amanda Holden is a Lymphatic Therapist and Transformational Nutrition Coach with two decades of experience in the wellness industry. You can follow her on Instagram at @a180life or check out her website at a180life.com.