Are You Brushing Enough?
We take it for granted that we need to brush every day. But are we brushing enough? We brush our hair and our teeth, but most of us don't brush our skin. The skin is our largest body organ, sometimes referred to as the third kidney, and is an important part of our ability to detoxify. Skin brushing, sometimes referred to as dry brushing, is a beneficial practice that can remove accumulated dead cells and promote healthy circulation. It's also supportive of lymphatic tissue, which has no pump but is instead a simple circulatory system. Skin brushing can stimulate this circulation and help lymphatic fluid move through the body. It is also believed to help eliminate toxins, clear clogged pores, reduce cellulite, and tighten the skin. Skin brushing is not new; rather it is an ancient practice, with references found across a wide range of literature including Ayurvedic, Scandinavian and Native American traditions.
Because it is stimulating to the system, skin brushing should be done in the morning rather than at night when the stimulation might make it more difficult to get to sleep. Always brush before bathing or showering in order to clear away dead skin cells. Do not brush wet or damp skin as this might cause stretching. Also avoid brushing sensitive (genitals, nipples, or the face) or damaged (rashes or varicose veins) areas.
- Starting with the soles of your feet brush each up each leg several times always moving toward the heart.
- Brush the abdominal area in a circular motion.
- Brush from the chin down the neck and chest.
- Finish by brushing the hands and up the arms.
Each family member should have their own skin brush and brushes should be washed with water at least once per week and allowed to air dry.
To stimulate circulation even further consider incorporating hydrotherapy, or contrast showering, after brushing. Hydrotherapy further stimulates circulation through the use of alternating hot and cold water.
- Start by showering, and washing, at a comfortable temperature.
- Slowly increase the temperature to a higher temperature (hot but not scalding) and rinse your entire body, including your scalp.
- Stay in this hot water for 30 seconds.
- Reduce the temperature to the coldest temperature you can stand, again rinsing your entire body, including your scalp.
- Stay in this cold water for 30 seconds.
- Repeat the hot/cold cycle of water 3-5 times.
Note: Hydrotherapy should not be used if you have a heart condition, diabetes, hypertension, hypotension, Raynaud's, or are pregnant, unless you first consult with your doctor to assure this is a safe practice for you.
Mira Dessy is a Certified Nutrition Educator, a Real Food Advocate, and the author of The Pantry Principle: how to read the label and understand what's really in your food. She speaks frequently on how to navigate the grocery store’s mammoth packaged food stock, to decipher confusing food labels, and to choose healthy foods. She can be found online at http://grainsandmore.com.