Dry Brushing 101: A Guide to Dry Brushing Your Body

Have you heard of dry brushing? I was first introduced through my Ayurveda classes and workshops. In Ayurveda, dry brushing is a way to stimulate the lymphatic system and also to reduce and remove ama from the body. Ama is undigested, toxic, junk. So dry brushing helps to stimulate the skin, exfoliate dead skin cells and get lymph moving around in your body, which in turn helps boost your immune system and detoxification system. This is especially important in the springtime when your body is accumulating mucous and trying to detoxify the general winter sludge. But the best part is that it only takes MINUTES!!!

How to Dry Brush

Let me begin by saying it is extremely simple to dry brush your skin. You first need to get a brush or dry brushing gloves. The brushes have stiff bristles and the gloves are usually made from silk, so it’s really up to you what you want to use. Here are some good options:

First off, you will do this in the morning before you take a shower or put anything on your skin. You will start at your feet, and work your way up each leg, using short strokes around your entire body part before moving upwards. Always brush toward your heart, this helps move things around so that they can be detoxed later (through sweat, urine, or poo). I do my left foot and leg, then go back down to my right foot and leg. When you hit a joint, use a circular motion – like around your knees and elbows.  Then I go to my left hand and arm, then right hand and arm. I then will do my stomach in a upward or circular motion, then as much of my back as I can reach. Last I do my shoulders, collarbone, and chest. Careful with sensitive skin, because the bristles are hard, start gently and work your way up to harder strokes.

I usually dry brush while my shower water is warming up, then I hop in the shower. It is truly a simple add-in to my morning routine.

Dry Brush First, Then Add Oils

You can follow up with abhyanga or self massage in order to help calm your nervous system back down. This is another Ayurvedic practice that shows your body some love. You need to appreciate what you’re working with! Show your body you love it and are grateful it’s gotten you this far!

I have read that in addition, some people add essential oils to their dry brush and apply them topically that way. To add oils to this routine, simply mix oils into a carrier and drip onto the brush or gloves prior to brushing your body off. I prefer to brush, shower, and THEN add body oil to my skin as a moisturizer. My favorite oil recently has been Cel-Lite Magic. This is a massage oil that Young Living makes:

It is a blend of skin conditioning and softening carrier oils, grapefruit (which is linked to blasting fat and cellulite), cedarwood (calming and relaxing), cypress, juniper, and clary (all of which are great for stress relief). I use this oil daily as a “lotion” or body oil.

You could also make your own blend of body oil to use if you prefer. Some great options for supporting your skin health would include: Lavender, Patchouli, Frankincense.  To make body oil, put a 1/2 cup of carrier oil such as sesame seed oil, coconut oil (fractionated coconut oil stays liquid, while regular coconut oil will harden), or castor oil in a pump, bottle, or jar. Add 10-15 drops of essential oils of your choice to mix into the oil. Warm up the oil in warm water in your bathroom sink, or using your hands. This helps spread the oil over your skin and also helps calm down your whole parasympathetic nervous system.

Benefits of Dry Brushing

Dry brushing is awesome for so many reasons – here are just a few of the GREAT benefits:

  1. Exfoliating – By brushing your skin, you can slough off dead skin cells, leaving room for brand new squeaky clean cells to take their place! Who doesn’t want fresh, new, glowing skin!
  2. Reduce cellulite – Stimulating lymph helps move old, toxic fat stores, which in turn may reduce the sight of your cellulite. I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to try anything!
  3. Move that lymph – Get lymph circulating and you help move along toxins back into your bloodstream to leave your body.
  4. Wake you UP!!! – It is an invigorating practice that helps stimulate nerve endings to feel awake!! It really helps get you going in the morning – even before coffee!
  5. Reduce the effects of STRESS on your body – By establishing a good morning routine that includes healthy, stimulating parts such as dry brushing you can reduce stress. By circulating lymph, you may be able to reduce stress. By reducing your toxic load, you will reduce stress. It’s a win-win-win!

When NOT to Dry Brush

If you have extremely sensitive skin or an open wound, I would exercise caution when starting to brush. You can start with simply brushing your bare hands over your body to get your skin used to being “scrubbed” in the morning. This practice is also really good for you to get to know your own body and you can show your skin how much you love it!

Comment below and let me know if you’ve tried dry brushing before! Do you have any other tips you use that I haven’t mentioned?


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