The skin is the largest organ of the body and is responsible for a significant amount of the body’s elimination processes (approximately one quarter each day). The skin and the lungs are often forgotten when we discuss detoxification, with the liver and kidneys receiving most of the attention. Granted, most medications clear through the liver and/or kidneys, however the skin, with its porous structure and vast surface area, should not be forgotten. Dry skin brushing is a great detoxification helper and can be done in just a few minutes a day at home.
Skin brushing is a technique that assists in clearing the lymphatic system, improving the surface circulation on the skin, keeping the pores open, encouraging the body’s discharge of metabolic wastes, and boosting immune function. The lymphatic system is the waste management system of the body, transporting the waste products that have been filtered from the blood back to the large vessels for proper excretion. The lymph system often gets sluggish and backed up with wastes, so clearing it is important.
Benefits of skin brushing –
- Tightens skin
- Removes dead skin cells
- “Sweeps” the lymphatic fluid back towards the heart for proper elimination
- Encourages healthy cell renewal and exchange of wastes and nutrients between cells
- Strengthens the immune system
- Stimulates the glands, encouraging optimal function
The key to effective skin brushing is selecting the right brush. The brush should have natural fibers, not synthetic, as synthetic bristles will scratch the skin and create irritation. Natural fibers should feel soft on the skin. At first the skin may feel a little itchy after brushing as the circulation is stimulated, but this will subside after the first few times. I like the boar hair brushes by Bass. They are available online or in many health food stores. Purchase one with a long handle so you can brush all parts of your body, even your back and legs.
The second key is brushing towards the heart. Imagine that your lymphatic system is carrying waste material towards the heart to dump into the large veins of the body. We are trying to assist by “sweeping” that material towards the heart, so always use strokes that go in one direction only, towards the heart. The only exception to this is around the chest area itself, where you can brush towards the armpits.
The third key is always brushing dry skin, before a shower is ideal as then you rinse away any dead skin cells that you have sloughed during brushing. Brushing wet skin will not have the same effect. Try to brush once or twice daily.