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A Mini Guide to Dry Brushing

What is the largest organ in the body?

What is one of the most important elimination organs in the body, playing a large role in daily detoxification?

What organ receives a third of all the blood that is circulated in the body?

When the blood is full of toxic materials, what organ will reflect this with problems?

What organ is the last to receive nutrients, yet the first to shows signs of imbalance or deficiency?”

Dry brushing is a tradition with a long history.

The answer is your skin. Which brings me to dry brushing.

Dry brushing is a classic Ayurveda ritual that involves brushing your full body with a special bristled tool (like this). The benefits are often sung anecdotally but haven’t been studied significantly. Many of the claims that you’ll see out there—like reducing cellulite and even improved immune system function.

What we know for sure:

  1. It buffs skin: Dry brushing is an effective physical exfoliater, meaning it removes dead skin cells from the top layer of skin, improving not only the appearance of your skin but also makes topical treatments much more effective.
  2. It encourages circulation: Lymphatic drainage and circulation is the most often cited benefit of the ritual. Your lymphatic system works alongside your circulatory system and removes waste in the body, which is why you might hear people say that dry brushing is detoxifying.

Ready to give it a try?

It’s best to do before a shower, as you’ll be lifting up dead skin cells that you’ll likely want to wash off right after. But make sure you do dry brush while you are dry.

The point of dry brushing is to encourage lymph toward your upper torso and chest, where the lymphatic fluid will reenter the bloodstream: You always want to follow the circulatory system. Rule of thumb: brush in the direction of your heart.

You will take the legs in sections. Start with the top of the feet, then target the lower leg, the knee, and the thigh. When you work on the back of the thigh, treat the butt as an extension of your thigh and continue upward onto the small of your back. As for your stomach, some recommend making circular motions (it’s thought to aid in digestion, but there’s no proof that’s the case) while others prefer long strokes. You can find what feels right for you. 

Much like you start with the feet, start with the hands and go across toward the heart. Do a similar routine as you did with the legs: Brush the back of your hands, work around the forearm, and then around the upper arm. Be mindful to treat under the upper arms with extra attention, as that’s where many lymph nodes are (as a rule of thumb, you’ll want to always pay attention to areas with lymph nodes). 

Then take a shower as usual. You’ll want to help clean the body of the dead skin cells.

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