Dry Brushing: What is it

     The skin is a complex system made up of nerves, glands, and cell layers. When healthy, it serves as a buffer that helps protect your body from extreme temperatures and chemicals. It also produces antibacterial substances to protect you from infection and enables your body to produce vitamin D when exposed to the sun. Your skin contains densely packed nerve cells that act as messengers to your brain. Skin a crucial part of a persons interaction with the world. Your skin also helps to support optimal detoxification. So, if your skin is overrun with toxins or dead skin cells, it will not be able to eliminate wastes from your body efficiently. This is where dry skin brushing can be invaluable! Not only in brushing off dead skin cells, but it activates waste removal via your lymph nodes as well. I was introduced to this practice by an acupuncturist many years ago and had since forgotten all about it until I saw it as part of the Beachbody Ultimate Reset. I ordered one immediately and it arrived today! *squeals*

Here are the 7 Key Benefits of dry brushing your skin:

1. Stimulate Your Lymphatic System

     In your body, your lymphatic system is the system responsible for eliminating cellular waste products. Eliminating waste on a cellular level-- think about that. Too often we take for granted what our bodies are capable of. Hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage. Amazing right?!!? When your lymphatic system is not working properly, waste and toxins can build up and make you sick. Lymphatic congestion is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease; therefore, by stimulating your lymphatic system and helping it release toxins, dry skin brushing is a powerful detoxification aid.

2. Exfoliation

     Dry skin brushing removes dead dry skin, improving appearance, clearing your clogged pores, and allowing your skin to "breathe." I am looking forward to seeing a difference in my skin clarity.

3. Increase Circulation

     When you dry brush your skin, it increases circulation. This encourages the elimination of metabolic waste. Increase your bodies ability to matabolize better by brushing your skin...I'm in!

4. Reduce Cellulite

     Dry skin brushing may help to soften hard fat deposits below the skin while distributing fat deposits more evenly. This may help to diminish the appearance of cellulite. Dry brushing is also said to help reduce cellulite by removing toxins that may break down connective tissue, although some believe the effect is temporary. This isn't something I personally struggle with, but i know a lot of people who do and absolutely love dry brushing for this purpose. Good to know because nobody is above getting cellulite- no matter how fit you are.

5. Stress Relief

     The act of dry brushing has been described as meditative (especially if you do it in a quiet space) and may reduce muscle tension, calm your mind, and relieve stress. Many compare it to a light whole-body massage. I plan on making this ritual an experience like this.

6. Improve Digestion and Kidney Function

     Dry skin brushing may go even deeper, helping to support your digestion and organ function. According to some skin care and spa experts. A lot of people struggle with digestive issues (which is why I always recommend Shakeology) and lack proper hydration which leads to poor kidney function. Many natural and homeopathic doctors use dry brushing to help with bloating because massaging the lymph nodes helps the body shed excess water and toxins.

7. It's Invigorating

     Many people become "addicted" to dry skin brushing (in a good way) because it simply feels so good. Along with glowing and tighter skin, regular dry skin brushers report feeling invigorated after a quick session. Who wouldn't want that?!!?

Dry Brushing: How to Do It

     First you'll need a high-quality dry brush. Look for one with bristles made from natural materials. They should feel stiff but not overly so. Ideally, choose a brush with a long handle so you can reach your entire back and other hard-to-reach spots. I got one with a long handle but it also detaches and fits around the hand. This makes doing smaller circles closer to the body easier, but still allows the flexibility to reach more challenging areas of the body. Dry skin brushing should be done daily for best results, or even twice a day if you like. Try incorporating it into your normal daily routine, such as doing your brushing before your morning shower and then again after work (avoid doing it too close to bedtime, as it may leave you feeling energized).

     When brushing, always brush toward your heart, which is best for circulation and your lymphatic system. You can brush your entire body (including the soles of your feet). Start at your feet and work your way up your legs to your arms, chest, back, and stomach. Avoid brushing your face (unless you have a special brush designed for this delicate skin), your genitals, or any areas with irritations or abrasions (including varicose veins). I did get a smaller brush specifically designed for the face to use. I'm so excited!

     The pressure you apply while brushing your skin should be firm but not painful (avoid "scrubbing"). Your skin should be pink after a session (not red or irritated) and you can brush for as long (or as little) as you'd like. An average dry brushing session may last between two and 20 minutes. I'm going to start out at 5 minutes sessions and increase the time as I see fit. Try It… You'll Probably Get Hooked :) The investment in dry skin brushing is small – you can find a high-quality brush for under $20 – but the pay-off is large. If you've never tried it, you're likely to be pleasantly surprised. Let me know what ya think.

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