Skin Brushing For Health & Beauty
A Step-by Step Guide to this Ancient Practice
Our skin is our largest organ and yet it seems our society only likes to focus on the face and hands. Our skin eliminates 2 lbs of waste acids daily, and is responsible for 25% of the body’s ability to detox. When hearing facts like that, I realize why so many cultures make this a part of their daily or weekly ritual. Skin brushing for the whole body has been used for ages in Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, The Cherokee Tribe (used dried corn cobs), Ancient Greek times and in Ayurvedic traditions. Skin brushing is an excellent form of clearing out the lymphatic system and old dead skin on the body. Vigorous skin brushing over time can prevent cellulite and help regenerate collagen.
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One of my earliest and somewhat traumatic memories was of being taken to the Hamam or baths as a young child in Iran. I remember an uncle that was watching over me, had me scrubbed with a brush until my skin was red. My skin felt really tender; and yet, I remember the feeling of aliveness when showering off all the dead skin with cold water. I suppose that experience as jarring it was, imprinted on me the idea of being clean of dead skin. As a young adult I would seek out the Korean Bath houses in Korea Town for a good hearty scrub. Now I like to just use my brush at home before a bath.
Brushing should always be done with a dry brush not wet, and in long strokes towards the heart to help with lymphatic draining. I like the Merben Sisal Body Brush but there are many others on the market. It’s best to do the brushing before a bath or shower and then rinse off. I like to then add moisture back in to my body by using a natural, nourishing body oil.
Tips for Dry Brushing ~
1) Use a natural brush made of natural fibers not synthetic.
2) Always brush in long strides. I start with my palms up the arm and then go over the areas a few times. The I start at the feet and go up the legs. Don’t scrub the skin but brush in strokes.
3) Always go towards the heart since that is where the lymphatic system drains.
4) Be a little more gentle on sensitive areas.
5) Rinse off after the brushing. For an extra benefit take a cold shower for the circulation system.
6) Feed your body with coconut oil or a natural body oil after the brushing and showering.