For those of you who haven’t heard of dry brushing, it’s exactly as it sounds – stroking your skin with a dry, soft bristled brush. Dry brushes are specifically designed for this practice, and date back to ancient times. While some technique is involved, it is a relatively simple step in your morning and/or evening routine that offers several health and wellness benefits. Followed by a refreshing shower and a luxurious body moisturizer, dry brushing may turn out to be your new favorite ritual to get you out of bed in the morning!
Dry Brushing History
Dry brushing can be traced back to many different cultures. Ancient Egyptians, well-known for their beauty rituals, would incorporate dry brushing with their milk and honey body softening treatments. In India, Ayurveda dry brushing was part of their 5,000 year old holistic health care practice. From ancient Greek and Roman civilizations to Russian, Turkish, Chinese, and Japanese cultures, dry brushing practices of some kind have been incorporated into bathing rituals for centuries. Roughly 30 years ago, Finnish naturopath, Paavo Airola, re-popularized the practice as a way to naturally detoxify and heal.
The Many Benefits
Multiple health and wellness benefits can be had by incorporating dry brushing into your daily routine. According to Meghan Kennedy Brind, naturopathic medical graduate and avid health enthusiast, “Dry brushing is incredible for reducing cellulite, improving blood flow, energy and metabolism as well as promoting detox.” It also promotes lymphatic drainage while simultaneously offering a gentle physical exfoliation by sweeping away dry, flaky skin. Additionally, dry brushing benefits your mental health through the stimulation of your nervous system. Some individuals liken it to the feeling of a gentle massage. Anna Nenoiu, a celebrity make-up artist in Toronto and PURA Muse, uses her dry brushing ritual as a chance to “practice speaking kindly to myself, praising my body, and loving every inch of myself”.
Many advocates suggest dry brushing in the morning, and describe it as a very awakening experience. Others dry brush twice a day as they feel it also promotes relaxation and deep sleep before bed, too. Like anything skincare related, dry brushing is based on personal preference to some degree. Meghan suggests dry brushing “1-3 x weekly minimum for ultimate results, but any application is beneficial…start slowly and work your way up”.
Dry brushing is often recommended before showering or bathing:
- Starting at the feet, brush upwards (towards the heart) using gentle strokes.
- When you reach your arms, similarly start at your hands and work your way up.
- For the stomach and chest, work in short strokes.
- Once finished dry brushing, hop into a warm shower or bath.
Not only does a bath or shower wash away any sloughed off skin flakes, “the heat of the water temperature can also increase blood flow through the body which can yield even more effective results”, notes Meghan. After showering or bathing, pat your skin dry and apply your favorite body lotion or oil to nourish your skin. Your body will thank you.