Dry Brushings

The skin is the largest organ of the body, and is important for elimination, excretion and detoxification. Generally, when we are healthy, each day about two pounds of sloughed cells and fluids exit our bodies via the skin.  The fluid secretions are found in perspiration and normal evaporation from skin. Healthy skin has a slightly acid pH, due to secretions by healthy normal flora that colonize it, as well as the acidity of our own secretions. This forms an acid barrier, called the acid mantle, that maintains skin integrity and protects skin. Despite our societies’ current obsession with anti-bacterial products, these products are not actually healthy for the skin, as they disrupt the protective acid mantle and actually leave us more vulnerable to infection and inflammation. 

If soap is used at all, it should be gentle and emollient. Glycerin soaps, or those made with oils like olive oil, pure coconut oil or shea butter are acceptable when soap is needed. But usually soap is not actually required unless there is grease or grime on the skin. Water alone is sufficient for cleaning the skin most of the time. 

scrub foot

Dry skin brushing can be utilized whether or not soap is used afterwards, but it can be an excellent alternative to washing with cleansers. Elimination and excretion from the skin can be supported and enhanced with this safe and gentle technique. 

Dry skin brushing has a number of benefits:

√    Skin and pores can become clogged with debris; these are gently removed and             

cleared with dry skin brushing without disturbing the acid mantle of the skin.

√    Lymphatic circulation and drainage are enhanced with the technique. Much of our lymphatics are just below the skin, and good lymphatic flow means that wastes and toxins are more easily eliminated from our system.

√    Over time, regularly brushed skin has a healthy rosy glow.

√    Dry skin brushing enhances circulation.

√    Dry skin brushing is easy! Even children can be taught to do it. 

At first, when you begin dry skin brushing you may notice some skin sensitivity. This will decrease and resolve with continued treatments. 

A sensible schedule for brushing is three times per week, before a shower. Less often is fine, and it is ok to do daily as well, if you shower daily. 

How to perform dry skin brushing

There are a few simple guidelines that will improve your experience and results. 

  1. 1.Purchase a long handled natural bristle body brush. Synthetic brushes are not acceptable. Natural bristles can trap dirt, debris and oils, while synthetic brushes will just spread these around.
  2. 2.If face brushing is desired as well, get a separate, extra gentle natural bristle face brush.  But many people choose not to brush the face and that is ok too.3.For the lower part of the body, including the abdomen, brush upwards, towards the heart.
  3. 4.Brush the abdomen first, then the groin, then the upper thighs, then knees and lower thighs, and then the feet. 
  4. 5.Brush the lower part of the back the same way, upwards towards the heart
  5. 6.When brushing the chest, arms and upper back, brush towards the collarbone. Also brush the breasts towards the collarbone. The upper back should be brushed over the shoulder towards the collarbones.
  6. 7.Brush the neck toward the same side collarbone. 
  7. 8.If the face is brushed, it goes towards the same side collarbone as well.
  8. 9.If desired, a natural bristle hairbrush can be used to brush the scalp, down towards the collarbone. 
Magic Pet Publishing 2012 Copyright Marcey Shapiro MD