Get smoother, softer skin and enhance your well-being with a simple and inexpensive body brushing technique.
Besides being the largest organ, your skin plays a big part in eliminating hefty toxins from your body every day. During elimination, these toxins in the form of waste products would pass through the sweat glands and pores of your body. If your skin is not properly cleansed and exfoliated, it would be clogged and filled with dead skin cells thereby preventing the smooth passage of toxins out of the body.
Dry brushing is a simple exfoliating technique using a dry brush made of natural bristles to gently brush your body, and in some cases, the facial skin. Practised in many cultures and throughout history, dry brushing is an invigorating and inexpensive way to enhance your health and beauty.
Dry brushing yields tremendous benefits soothing to the skin and well-being. For one, it improves and stimulates the circulation of our lymphatic system which helps the body to improve immunity against viruses and bacteria.
Located beneath the skin surface, the lymphatic system is made up of vessels, nodes, and other organs. These vessels are like blood capillaries that transport lymph, a colourless liquid containing lymphocytes or white blood cells and antibodies – essential to fight off infections and illnesses – throughout the body.
Other than carrying critical antibodies, the lymphatic system also helps to excrete waste materials by removing dead blood cells and excess fluid and waste; and works together with the blood circulatory system to transport essential oxygen and nutrients in the body.
Unlike the blood circulatory system that is pumped from the heart, the flow of the lymph system hinges upon physical motion through exercise for instance. Proper dry brushing can help to stimulate the flow of the lymphatic system, bringing about a plethora of benefits for health and well-being.
Another benefit of dry brushing is the reduction of cellulite. The ugly dimpled skin is actually fat deposits trapped beneath the skin. Causes of cellulite range from genetics, low-nutritional diet, unhealthy lifestyle, and hormonal changes in women such as pregnancy or menopause. Regular dry brushing will help to break down fats and toxins and eliminate them through stimulating the lymphatic system.
Dry brushing also helps to improve blood circulation through their large sweeping movements. When the body is being dry brushed, blood carrying nutrients and oxygen will rush to the surface, thereby improving the skin’s tone and colour. Over time, the texture of the skin is bound to become lustrous and smoother to the touch.
On top of that, dry brushing assists to exfoliate dead skin cells and stimulate new skin renewal and production. Through daily exfoliation, dry brushing helps to keep the pores clean and healthy enabling more nutrients in the form of body moisturisers to assimilate and replenish the skin.
How to do it?
It is extremely easy to dry brush your body. Dry brushing is ideally carried out first thing in the morning before a shower and on a dry, unclothed body. Individuals are encouraged to dry brush at least once a day to fully reap the benefits of dry brushing. For those who are unwell, they can dry brush twice a day.
Dry brushing should be done in long sweeping movements towards the heart for effective lymph drainage. Areas below the heart are to be brushed upwards and towards the heart’s direction and areas above the heart such as neck and shoulders for example are to be brushed downwards. Stroking away from the heart can cause the vessels to rupture and varicose veins to appear.
First, prop your feet on a stool and start to stroke upwards from the left feet towards the ankle. Stroke the entire feet and then move to the lower part of your leg. Continue to stroke upwards in long and steady sweeping movements from the ankle to the knee and from the knee to the upper part of your leg and the back of your buttocks. Make sure you cover the entire leg including the inner thighs. Do the same for the right feet and leg.
From your buttock, continue to brush your lower back steadily upwards. For the stomach, use gentle circular movements over the entire area. Next, brush your hands starting from the fingertips to the palm and then from the palm to the forearm and from the forearm to the arms. It is important to cover each segment separately and thoroughly.
As for the neck, brush gently from the neck down and for the shoulders and upper back, brush downwards towards the heart. Be careful to leave the chest alone. After brushing, head in the shower to cleanse all the dead skin cells off the body.
When brushing, take note to exert lesser pressure on areas where skin is thinner or irritated. Avoid areas where there is acne or other skin irritation such as eczema, wounds, and bruises. If you have the luxury of time, burn some essential oil in the bathroom for that ultimate rejuvenation. To top it off, slather a coat of moisturiser for that heavenly and sprightly start to the day.
Always go for natural bristled brushes made from plant fibres such as sisal, jute and cactus rather than synthetic brushes, which may be too harsh on the skin. There are also different sizes to suit varying needs.
Brushes with handles could better reach the upper back while smaller palm-sized brushes could more gently brush the delicate areas like inner thighs. Cactus body brushes are currently retailed at the Body Shop outlets while sisal brushes can be found at Coasttocoast located in Vivocity.
Out of the bedroom, there are many spa salons offering various types of spa treatments incorporating dry brushing. These luxurious spa treats provide the ultimate relaxation and pampering for overworked executives and homemakers.
One of these is Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Singapore. The 90-minute luxurious treatment comprises a dry brush exfoliation, a chamomile bath, a massage and a wrap that is headily rich in garden scents. Over at the Raffles Amrita Spa at Swissotel Hotels and Resorts, the Ayurvedic treatment begins with a rejuvenating dry body brushing followed by body mask and wrap.
Whether in the confines of your bedroom or in the comfort and luxury of a spa session, dry brushing, when done correctly, can uplift your spirits, improve your skin tone and lustre and enhance your health and well-being.