What is it?
Skin brushing is a naturopathic technique that involves brushing your body’s dry skin from top to toe with a natural bristle brush.
Why should I do it?
- Our skin is the largest organ of elimination. One third of your body’s toxins are excreted through the skin and dry brushing helps to unclog pores and excrete toxins that become trapped in the skin.
- It also stimulates the circulation and increases the blood flow to the skin, which will also stimulate the elimination of metabolic waste. This also has the effect of improving the appearance of your skin. It may become less dry looking, flushed, diminish the appearance of cellulite and have a much healthier, youthful appearance.
- Skin brushing can also be invigorating. It has a similar effect to exercising in that it can oxygenate your tissues and your brain and uplift you.
- Skin brushing will also stimulate your lymphatic system, helping it release toxins.
Your lymphatic system consists of hundreds of miles of lymphatic tubules that allow waste to be collected from your tissues and transported to your blood for elimination, a process referred to as lymphatic drainage.
If your lymphatic system is not working optimally, waste and toxins can build up and cause lymphatic congestion, which is a major factor leading to inflammation and disease.
How do I do it?
- You need a brush with soft natural bristles, like this one. You will be brushing off a lot of dead skin cells and so it is best to do skin brushing in the bath or shower. Both your skin and your brush should be dry for this technique.
- Start with a soft pressure initially and increase the pressure as your skin gets used to skin brushing. Do not brush over any cuts, wounds or rashes and be careful around bruised areas. Also, avoid your face and other sensitive areas of skin.
- Begin at your feet and moving in long sweeping motions toward your heart, work up your body, brushing several times in each area, overlapping as you go. Take care as you brush over more sensitive areas, like breasts. Your skin will become less sensitive the more you dry brush.
- Apply clockwise brushing movements when you are dry brushing your stomach. You should not use a scrubbing, circular or back and forth motion. When you reach your arms brush from your hands towards the heart.
- Skin brushing can take anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes.
- Remember to clean your brush with soap and water once a week: leave to dry in a clean, sunny spot to avoid any mildew accumulation on your brush.
When should I do it?
You can skin brush every day or even twice a day, avoiding bedtime as it can be stimulatory. It is best done in the morning, or every time you bathe or shower and can be combined with urine rubbing, hot/cold showering, Epsom salt baths or hot/cold tubbing.
When should I not do it?
Skin brushing stimulates the release of toxicity and will put pressure on the liver and the bowels, as these are the primary organs involved in elimination and will have to be able to cope with the extra toxicity. If you are suffering from any signs of constipation and you are not doing any other naturopathic techniques to address this it is not wise to skin brush. Skin brushing should be part of a naturopathic health program that involves dietary and supplemental prescriptions as well as a range of naturopathic techniques.
Skin brushing is one of the techniques that I integrate into the personalised naturopathic health programs that I create for my clients. For more information about how you can have a health plan created for you click here.