Dry Skin Brushing

Dry Skin Brushing

 

Everyone we know of wants nice, smooth skin that has good color and looks well taken care of. So, what better way to get that then a completely free (other than the cost of the brushes) method that is both proven and multi-faceted? It seems like dry skin brushing is gaining in popularity in recent years, and if you look at the information we’ve gathered below, it’s pretty easy to understand why!

Did you know the skin is the largest, most important eliminative organ in the body and is responsible for one quarter of the body’s detoxification each day? So, why is dry skin brushing such an increasingly popular concept for people to do? Dry brushing is a way to stimulate the organs of detoxification because it provides a gentle internal massage. It can also help prevent dry skin and is a way to exfoliate the skin, encouraging skin renewal that is both smooth and soft.

Dry skin brushing was recommended 30 years ago by Finnish Dr. Paavo Airola for his patients and is still a popular technique in many European spas and cancer treatments to this day. According to Dr. Denice Moffat’s site on Natural Health Techniques, aside from preventing dry skin, exfoliating the skin, and stimulating skin renewal, there are many other benefits from dry skin brushing as well:

Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing Explained:

  1. Removes cellulite:

    Cellulite is a non-scientific term defined as toxic deposits of subcutaneous fat material and fibrous tissue that are not able to be eliminated and which cause a dimpling effect on the overlying skin. These deposits most commonly occur on the thighs and hips of women. Cellulite can affect men and women of any body weight or size. What causes the toxins? Well, some think that we store the breakdown product of cells as toxins in this subcutaneous tissue. Others think that toxic emotions can be stored in the subcutaneous tissue which then builds up as cellulite.

    Your best bets for getting rid of cellulite are dry brushing, connective tissue massage, working though the emotional issues that are causing the toxins to stagnate, eating foods that feed the skin, an alkaline diet program and a consistent/persistent exercise routine. These techniques will break down the unwelcome toxic body deposits and send them scurrying out your body through the elimination channels we discussed above. And your health will be SO much better for it!

    Foods that feed the skin include foods that are rich in lecithin, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants such as eggs, organ meats, a balance of Omega-3-6-9 oils like Udo’s Choice, fresh dark green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, berries of all kinds, and dark chocolate (in condiment amounts—like an ounce a day!)

  2. Cleanses the lymphatic system:

    Lymph is considered part of our immune system and is made of white blood cells called lymphocytes and the interstitial fluid that bathe our cells, bringing our cells nutrients and removing their waste. All detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph. Our bodies contain far more lymph than blood, so you can see how important this might be. Paavo Airola maintains that dry brushing is an essential part of any intestinal cleansing and healing program.

    Dry brushing literally moves the lymph containing large proteins and particulate matter that cannot be transported in any other way back into circulatory system. If these proteins stayed in our systems outside the blood vessels, it would attract other fluid. Pretty soon we’d get swollen ankles, limbs and eventually we’d be leaking fluid out our skin (not a pretty sight.) This is called lymphedema and is why most health programs include some type of exercise and body work.

    So, why don’t we die if we don’t do this dry brushing thing? Well, lymph vessels themselves have their own pumping mechanism sensing when the vessels have more fluid in them or in the interstitial fluids. Lymph only goes one way because of the many one-way valves on the insides of each lymph vessel. The body is a fascinating thing. It literally pumps the lymph along its path back to the heart. Removal of proteins from the interstitial spaces is an essential function. Without this happening, we would die within 24 hours. We can help speed this process up when we dry brush or massage toward the heart, contract our muscles and move our bodies (like when we walk or exercise.)

    Increased lymph flow can also be caused by high blood pressure. This is why it is so important to attend to this malady and why the doctors get into a frenzy of prescribing so many different medications for it. (Currently there are over 140 medications for high blood pressure!)

  3. Removes dead skin layers:

    Dry skin brushing helps shed dead skin cells, which can help improve skin texture and cell renewal. Dry skin is a sign of detoxification. Therefore it’s good to keep the process going by removing the dead skin daily. If this does not occur, a “log jam” can happen where the person ends up with eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff.

  4. Strengthens the immune system:

    Dry skin brushing may reduce duration of infection and accelerate the clearing of toxins. It helps support the immune system during cancer and other chronic illness treatment. By stimulating the lymph vessels to drain toxic mucoid matter into organs of detoxification we can purify the entire system. After several days of dry brushing, sometimes you may notice a gelatinous mucoid material in your stools. This is a normal sign that the intestinal tract is renewing itself. Best of all, it feels invigorating!

  5. Stimulates the hormone and oil-producing glands:

    The skin is your body’s largest organ. When improperly maintained, the elimination duties of the skin are forced upon the kidneys. Chemical analysis of sweat shows that it has almost the same constituents as urine. If the skin becomes inactive, its pores choke with millions of dead cells, uric acid and other impurities which will remain in the body putting extra stress on the liver and kidneys. People with big hips and thighs usually have low-grade bladder infections. Another sign of this is that the body gives off a distinct sickening odor. When the bladder and kidney are really sick, the calves are often swollen as well and the feet stink. So, give your kidneys a break—keep your skin clean and rejuvenated. Bathe daily and do a dry brushing before the bath to help stimulate blood flow to the surface so that toxins can more easily escape.

  6. Tightens the skin preventing premature aging:

    Dry brushing tightens the skin by increasing the flow of blood which, in turn moves toxins and lessens the appearance of cellulite. Our bodies make a new top layer of skin every 24 hours – skin brushing removes the old top layer, allowing the clean new layer to come to the surface, resulting in softer, smoother skin.

  7. Tones the muscles:

    Dry skin brushing helps muscle tone by stimulating the nerve endings which causes the individual muscle fibers to activate and move. It also helps mobilize fat and helps to even distribution of fat deposits. This is a great technique for invalids who can’t exercise.

  8. Stimulates circulation:

    Our skin breathes! And yet, in most people, this vital route of detoxification is operating far below its capacity, because it is clogged with dead skin cells and the un-removed waste excreted through perspiration. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes. Increased blood flow begins entering the areas brushed and you will experience an increase in electromagnetic energy that permits you to feel energized and invigorated. By activating the circulation you can also prevent varicose veins.

  9. Improves the function of the nervous system:

    Dry skin brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin.

  10. Helps digestion

    Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health. When you brush, the pores of your skin open allowing your skin to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. Clogged pores are not just a cosmetic concern. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.

  11. AND it’s easy, inexpensive and invigorating!

What You Need To Do Dry Brushing:


To dry brush, use a soft natural fiber brush with a long handle, so that you are able to reach all areas of your body. One with a removable head with a strap for your hand is a good choice. [Brushes good for dry skin brushing are] available from health food stores or your local Co-op.

A loofah sponge or a rough towel can also be used. Most nylon and synthetic fiber brushes are too sharp and may damage skin although I found a softer bath brush with nylon bristles that seems to do the trick. The important thing is to find something that is just right for your skin. Once your skin becomes “seasoned,” you can switch to a coarser brush.

How to Dry Brush (Easy, Fast Instructions):

[Dr. Moffat offers more detailed instructions on dry skin brushing on her site]

  • Begin with your feet and brush vigorously in circular motions.
  • Continue brushing up your legs.
  • Proceed to your hands and arms.
  • Brush your entire back and abdomen area, shoulders and neck.
  • Use circular counter-clockwise strokes on the abdomen.
  • Lightly brush the breasts.
  • Brush upwards on the back and down from the neck. Better yet, have a friend, spouse or family member brush your back.

Tips and Tricks for Dry Brushing:

  • Always dry brush your dry and naked body before you shower or bathe because you will want to wash off the impurities from the skin as a result from the brushing action.
  • You can do the brushing head-to-toe or toe-to-head. It really doesn’t matter as long as the entire body is brushed. Long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction help drain the lymph back to your heart.
    Note: Stroking away from your heart puts extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels and can cause ruptured vessels and varicose veins.
  • Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet.
  • Skin brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning. A thorough skin brushing takes about 15 minutes, but any time spent brushing prior to bathing will benefit the body. If you are feeling ill, increasing the treatments to twice a day is good. You can also dry brush areas of cellulite five to 10 minutes twice a day to achieve cellulite dissolving but the technique needs to be done consistently for a minimum of five months.
  • Avoid sensitive areas and anywhere the skin is broken such as areas of skin rash, wounds, cuts, and infections. Also, never brush an area affected by poison oak or poison ivy.
  • Finish up with your regular shower and ending with three hot and cold cycles. That means turning on the water as hot as you can take it for several seconds, then as cold as you can handle it, then hot, then cold for three cycles. End with either hot or cold. This will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bringing more blood to the outer layers of the skin.
  • After getting out of the shower, dry off vigorously and massage your skin with pure plant oils such as olive, avocado, apricot, almond, sesame, coconut or cocoa butter. Add a little peanut and Castor oil to the mix if you have arthritis. Edgar Cayce says this works to take out some of the pain, and we’ve found that to be true over the years.
  • Clean your skin brush using soap and water once a week. After rinsing, dry your skin brush in an open, sunny spot to prevent mildew.
  • Any well designed program will take about 30 days to see and experience the changes. Please be patient and keep up the program! For a thorough lymphatic cleansing, perform skin brushing daily for a minimum of three months.

After brushing, take a hot shower with soap (about three minutes in duration), followed by a 10-20 second cold rinse. Repeat this procedure three times. If the hot/cold showers are too extreme, a warm shower can be used. Follow the shower with a rubdown with either a sponge or towel to remove dead skin.

Problems with dry, flaky or thickened skin on your feet? One of my favorite products obtained from your local Rite Aid Store is called Pretty Feet & Hands Rough Skin Remover. This stuff is awesome. Shake well before using. Pour about a quarter-size puddle of fluid into the palm of one hand, then rub the areas that have lots of dry skin on them. The dry skin balls up in your hand. Rinse the areas and apply lotion.
Note: You can only do this process once a day. The product doesn’t work after the area is wet or after a shower. It may take up to four days for those tough areas like the feet to make the skin like new. The product appears to be safe and does not cause allergic reactions. One 3-ounce bottle usually runs around $10.

Resources: How to Get Well by Dr. Paavo Airola

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