Do you ever have dry or rough skin? Acne? An itchy back? Do you get colds? Do your ankles or feet swell? Do your hands or feet feel cold?
Seven months ago, I would have said ‘yes’ to all of these. But dry-brushing my skin for three minutes a day has changed these things and more. I feel healthier than I have in, well, in seven months!
I think of myself as a healthy person, but with a low-performing thyroid and Raynaud’s Disease (insufficient blood flow to hands and feet, triggered by cool temperatures), I had a few symptoms I wanted to change. Plus, as I get older (I’m 51 now), I notice my skin is drier each winter. So on February 2, 2013, I started a daily dry-brushing routine. The results have been dramatic, and it’s one of the easiest things I do for my health.
1. Better skin health
2. Better lymphatic function (reduce swollen ankles, for example)
3. Better immune system function
How to dry-brush?
1. Get a natural-bristle brush, a rough wash cloth, or a mitt (not a loofah, it collects bacteria). Dry-brush tools are easy to get at dollar stores and pharmacies.
2. Always brush toward the heart: from the legs, go up; from the arms and chest, go down.
3. Brush before showering, so skin is not plump full of water.
4. Brush once per day, or twice if you are sick.
5. Start on bottom of left foot, brushing in small circles or straight lines, 5-7 times.
6. Work up through the leg in segments, especially back of knee and inner thigh, then the other leg, the buttocks, low back, belly, and full torso, then each arm starting at fingertips up to shoulders.
7. From upper shoulders and neck, brush down toward the heart.
8. Include the face using light strokes with your fingertips out from the centre, from chin up to forehead.
9. All strokes should be light, so that your skin feels gently tingly but not painful.
10. Follow with a shower to wash away dead skin: alternate cool and warm temperatures for best immune-system results.
11. Finish with a natural moisturizer (coconut oil is a good choice) to keep your skin nourished and supple.
12. Wash brush or gloves weekly in hot soapy water and let air dry.
How dry-brushing works
It takes about 30 days to start seeing healthier skin. After 90 days, you will see improvements in your immune system, such as fewer colds. After six months, other changes will become obvious: for me, a more even body temperature has been one of those.
Dry skin brushing exfoliates skin, stimulates your immune system, and increases your metabolism to improve your cells’ health. The skin is the largest organ in the body, and brushing keeps it healthy. The lymphatic system, which is responsible for our immunity, doesn’t have a pump (like the heart) to move it through the body: it relies on our breathing, exercise, and manual therapies like brushing, to move it effectively. Dry skin brushing is common in many countries, and is becoming more known in Canada as a simple and effective self-care technique.
You Tube video
Here’s a six-minute video that shows a basic dry-brush technique: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ANy_2xWLAo. Remember to do the bottoms of your feet, your palms, and your fingers and toes!
After seven months of daily dry-brushing, I actually get more excited about this part of my routine each day. It’s an easy, effective health care tool that is having great results for me.