Dry brushing is literally the practice of methodically brushing your skin with a dry brush. You might have heard about its many touted health benefits or seen it offered at your local spa.
While some of these benefits may be exaggerated, research has shown that dry brushing can help support your immune system. And it doesn’t need to be an expensive treatment at a spa. Dry brushing is easy to do at home with minimal supplies.
Read on to find out how dry brushing works and techniques to do it yourself.
HOW DOES DRY BRUSHING ENHANCE YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM?
The health benefits of dry brushing all start with your lymphatic system. Similar to your circulatory system, the lymphatic system circulates a colorless fluid called lymph through lymph vessels. There are actually four times more lymph vessels than blood vessels in your body.
Lymph contains white blood cells, whose purpose is to destroy viruses, bacteria, and other potentially harmful pathogens in your body. White blood cells play a key role in boosting your immunity and preventing disease.
This is how your lymphatic system supports your immune system. Lymph allows white blood cells to travel throughout your body and do their job.
Lymph also delivers nutrients and removes wastes from your body’s cells. This supports your health in general, including your immune system.
Relating to dry brushing, research has found that gentle manipulation of lymph glands and vessels enhances your immune function. It’s shown that the levels of white blood cells increase, as well as the flow and distribution rate of lymph.
Dry brushing is a great way to apply gentle pressure to lymph glands and vessels all over your body, which can help improve their function.
HOW TO PRACTICE DRY BRUSHING AT HOME
1. Choose the right brush (or brushes).
A body brush with natural bristles and a long handle works well as your primary brush. Hand-held natural brushes can also be useful for brushing areas like your arms where you don’t need a long handle.
Start with a brush that has medium bristle strength and see how you like it. You can always change to a softer or firmer brush, if you prefer. A brush should never scratch or scrape your skin anywhere on your body. If it does, find a softer one.
You can also get an extra soft brush to use on your face and other delicate skin, like your underarms. Medium-strength bristles are too coarse to use on these areas.
2. Brush in the morning.
Many people report that dry brushing is very invigorating, most likely due to your improved circulation and lymph flow. This is why it’s best done in the morning, or at least a few hours before going to bed.
3. Brush where you can easily clean up.
Dry skin cells will slough off during your brushing session, so make sure you’re somewhere easy to clean. Your shower or bathtub are excellent choices. You can also rinse yourself off or rub yourself down with a dry towel after you’re done brushing.
4. Get naked.
This may go without saying, but it’s easiest to reach everywhere when you’re in your birthday suit. Remember to take off all your jewelry, watches, and other items as well.
5. Cover your entire body.
As a general rule of thumb, start at your feet and brush towards your heart. To fine-tune the process a bit, check out the diagram below. It shows the recommended directions to brush that follow the natural flow of your lymph. Brush each area in the same direction about 10 times before moving on to the next area.
6. Don’t overdo it.
Most lymph glands and vessels are close to the surface of your skin. This means you don’t have to press very hard to reach them. A gentle, even pressure with your brush is all you need.
You also don’t need to brush for very long. Brushing your entire body for 3 to 5 minutes in total is enough.
7. Repeat often.
Dry brushing every day will give you the most benefits. But if you have limited time, dry brushing once or twice a week is also good.
8. Clean and replace your brush regularly.
Clean your brush after each use with soap and water to get off all the dead skin cells. You should also replace your brush at least every year as the bristles wear out.