Dry Brushing – why we’re into it
There’s nothing simpler than doing something for yourself. Something that not only makes you feel good but is goodfor you. And no, we’re not talking about the yoga studio membership that involves a trek across the city. Or the expensive cream that’s sitting unused in your bathroom cabinet.
No. When we talk about doing something for yourself, we’re talking about doing simple things that fit into your daily routine without much thought. It’s about forming daily habits that have a positive effect on how you feel. Dry brushing is one of those habits.
We’ve known about dry brushing – the act of literally brushing your skin with a special brush before you hop in the shower – for a while, but it was only a couple of months ago that we tried it ourselves. What started as an experiment – it’s said to help diminish the appearance of cellulite – quickly turned into a daily ritual. Soon, we were telling friends and colleagues about it. Just like a cup of chamomile can to help you chill out before sleep, dry brushing helps us get ready for the day.
And it’s no surprise that it makes us feel good. This popular self-care ritual has been practiced by many cultures for centuries. “The Egyptians and ancient Greeks were said to use dry brushing thousands of years back, as well as exfoliating in sour milk,” says Cassandra Bradshaw, Senior Holistic Skin Therapist and Brand Educator at Province Apothecary. “In Ayurveda it’s practiced first thing in the morning before bathing to stimulate blood circulation.”
The purpose of dry brushing is two-fold: to exfoliate the skin, get rid of dry/dead skin cells and to stimulate blood circulation to help your body rid itself of unwanted toxins.
“Our lymph system has a few main functions, including ridding the body of toxins through lymph fluid, which carries waste away from tissues via an extensive system of vessels,” Bradshaw says.
“Through the action of gentle dry brushing, lymph fluid held just below the surface of the skin is pushed into lymph vessels, travels to the lymph nodes, and is expelled from the body. The practice of dry brushing activates your lymphatic system to awaken the body and support overall skin health from within.”
Like all the best habits, dry brushing can be done at home; it requires a single body brush that can easily be purchased at most pharmacies and it takes very little time. To dry brush your entire body, start at your heels and work upwards in short, light strokes concentrating on problem areas – thighs, bum, upper-arms – when needed. When you get to your face, Province Apothecary has a great tutorial to help banish those toxins and the perfect tool.
“While the benefits of dry brushing seem endless,” Bradshaw concedes, “some of my favourites are: smooths fine lines, brightens appearance, reduces puffiness and dark circles, detoxifies to help clear congestion, tones and firms the skin, gently exfoliates and stimulates cellular turnover.”
Not bad for a habit that only takes two minutes a day. But when exactly is the best time to brush? Just as in Ayurveda, Bradshaw recommends brushing first thing in the morning on clean, dry skin.
Of course, there are lots of things you can do beyond brushing to support your overall lymphatic health. Drinking lots of water, hydrating teas like Cranberry Dandelion Detox, body movement through exercise, massage, eating healthy for optimal gut health, and mindful breathing are just some of the habits Bradshaw recommends.
Limiting the amount of processed foods, alcohol and caffeine (aka bad toxins) you consume can also help to limit the amount of toxins your body needs to expel. Makes sense, right?
And with the holidays on their way, adding dry brushing to your day is one way to combat the celebratory excess you’ll be sure to indulge in when the time comes. We would never expect you to skip the celebrations, instead we want you to build those healthy habits so that when the party’s over, you know exactly which ritual to go back to.