What is the history of Dry Brushing?
It is an exfoliation ritual that has been around for thousands of years. Exfoliation has been practiced for hundreds of centuries by different cultures, which include the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, East Indians, Native Americans, Chinese, Japanese, Russians, Turks, and Scandinavians. The ancient Ayurvedic practice of Gharsana (which means friction by rubbing in Sanskrit) also involves dry brushing and massaging certain points in the body. In Ayurvedic principles, Gharsana (friction by rubbing) is believed to reduce “ama” (undigested food or emotions that manifest into a toxic and sticky substance that can extend to the gastrointestinal system and other parts of the body). Gharsana can stimulate movement in the lymphatic system, which can help increase the rate of detoxification. It is also believed that Gharsana revitalized the modern-day concept of dry brushing.
What does Dry Brushing involve?
Dry Brushing involves massaging with a dry, stiff-bristled brush against the skin to exfoliate dead cells and enhance blood flow. The mechanical action helps detoxify by increasing circulation and promoting lymph drainage.
In Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary’s book, The Prime, she writes “Dry-brushing is incredibly important for the lymphatic system. Lymphatics don’t have a pump. When you move them, they move. Without movement, they have no momentum. Manually massaging the skin toward the heart and in the direction of the lymph nodes gets the lymph moving more vigorously, which increases the body’s detoxification rate. Essentially, you are helping to direct the biochemical sewage through the channels and into the lymph nodes, where it can be eliminated.”
What are the Benefits of Dry Brushing?
- Supports Immune System
- Stimulates Lymphatic System to Remove Toxins +Waste
- Detoxifies by Increasing Circulation of Blood
- Energizes the nervous system (how)
- Boosts Skin Glow
How often should I dry brush?
One to two times a week. Dry brushing stimulates sensory nerves, which can be invigorating. For this reason, I recommend incorporating it into your morning routine, when you want to be alert. Dry brushing is not recommended for people with sensitive or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and excessively dry skin, as it can aggravate the condition. Bottom line, brush with care—and manage your expectations.
What type of brush should I use?
Choose one that is made of soft natural bristles, such as plant fibers, animal hair, or copper. Synthetic bristles such as plastic will be too stiff and harsh for your skin. I chose a natural bristle brush as opposed to a synthetic one that can be made from plastic (can have chemical toxins!).
Remember, consistency is key! It might mean skipping that last snooze button in the morning, but the results should have you bounding out of bed reaching for that brush anyway.
Watch my video on how to dry brush here.
Reshma Patel, PA-C, MMS, CEO / Founder of Ananda Integrative Medicine
Integrative & Holistic Practitioner Reshma Patel, PA-C, combines conventional Western medicine with an Integrative and Holistic approach to wellness at Ananda Integrative Medicine, in Brentwood, Los Angeles. She believes that the path to true health lies not in treating or masking symptoms, but by identifying and healing the root cause of health conditions. Her approach to medicine helps patients harness their natural healing ability to optimize body function and overall wellness.