By Dr. Kneale
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this article is strictly educational and is not, in any way, meant to be prescriptive or to constitute professional medical advice. The information provided is designed to be used in conjunction with the guidance of a healthcare professional. The author assumes no responsibility for any presumed health effects associated with using this information.
What is Dry Skin Brushing?
Dry skin brushing is brushing your entire body (except face) in a specific motion to improve the health and function of your skin.
Why Dry Skin Brush?
Your skin is the largest eliminating organ and it is often clogged and does not work properly. The skin covers the entire external surface of your body. It serves many purposes such as protecting the internal tissues, maintaining body temperature, and preventing toxins and bacteria from getting inside your body.
Some telltale signs that skin brushing would be amazing for you are:
- dull skin
- dry skin
- do not sweat easily (or ever)
- saggy skin
- Cellulite (toxic materials that accumulate in fat cells)
In my younger years, I always thought I was in such great shape because I never broke a sweat even as I biked for miles, ran for fun on the weekends and hit the gym daily. I took my non-sweaty clothes as a sign of being super fit when actually it indicated that my largest eliminating organ was failing. Looking back now, I realize that my decreased skin function was contributing to other eliminating organs having to take on the added burden of releasing toxins.
Some of the health benefits of dry skin brushing according to Dr. Paavo Airola in his book How to Get Well are:
- Removes dead skin cells allowing for the growth of new ones
- Clears pores of dirt, oil and residues
- Keeps skin pores clears so the body can perspire freely
- Helps to improve skin texture and cell renewal
- Allows for better lymph drainage in the skin: significant to the immune system
- Improves circulation which helps the normal process of releasing toxins
- Encourages discharge of metabolic waste, which aids lymphatic drainage
- Helps tighten and firm skin
- Drastically reduces appearance of cellulite
- Creates smoother skin along with a healthy glow
- Leaves you feeling more awake and alert (reason why it is better to do in the morning)
- Takes some stress off the liver and kidneys and other eliminating organs (these organs must additionally deal with any toxins that do not leave through the skin)
The best way to fit dry skin brushing into your daily routine is do it before you shower in the morning when the skin is dry. Use a soft, natural fiber brush with a long handle so you can reach difficult areas like your back. It can be done from head-to-toe or vice versa. Continue with the whole body including your head (but not the face) and avoid areas of broken skin.
- A natural, not synthetic, bristle brush
- Make sure the brush has a long handle so you can reach all areas of your body
- Use light pressure where the skin is thin and use harder pressure on places such as the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.
- Skin brush once a day. The best time is in the morning. 15 minutes is required to do a thorough job.
- Stroking away from the heart puts extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels and has been reported that it can cause varicose veins. Stroke mainly towards the heart.
- Avoid areas of broken skin such as wounds, cut and infections (poison oak)
- Avoid brushing facial area (Facial brushing has different rules; don’t brush face with a coarse brush and is not recommended to do daily) Click here for Facial Brushing.
- After skin brushing, it is a good idea to finish up with a shower. This helps to get rid of any dead skin that has been brushed off.
- Every two weeks, wash your brush with a natural soap and let it air dry or set out in the sun.
- Never share brushes with other family members or friends.
Dry skin brushing procedure:
Complete each step on the left side of your body and repeat on the right. I have looked at many techniques for skin brushing and this one I felt was the most thorough by Dr. Berkowsky:
- Armpit: brush clockwise and counter clockwise in each direction.
- Chest: brush from the chest bone above the breast to the armpit, brush below the breast from the sternum to the armpit.
- Sides: brush from the sides of waist up to the armpit.
- Back: Reach over the shoulder and brush the middle of the back up over the shoulder.
- Neck: begin at the base of the back of the neck and brush up and over the shoulder to the front of the neck.
- Jaw: brush from the base of the skull along the jawbone down to the collar bone.
- Hands: brush each finger from side to side. Brush the palm of the hand in a circular motion. Brush the back of the hand from the fingers down to the wrists. Brush all the way around the wrist in both directions.
- Arms: brush from the wrist to the elbow on each surface of the arm (front, sides, back, etc…). Repeat this from the elbow to the shoulder.
- Lower body: create small circular motion moving from the belly button moving away from the center between the hip and the pubic bone moving towards the side of the body.
- Abdomen: start at the naval and work in a clockwise motion that widens and eventually includes the whole stomach. Reverse the direction moving in towards the navel.
- Buttocks: begin the stroke where the buttocks meet the top of your thigh and move up and over the hip to the groin.
- Lower back: stroke from the bottom of the spine up to the bottom of the shoulder blade. Do this on the center, left and right sides of the lower back.
- Feet: brush in small vigorous circles on the bottom of the feet from the toes to the heel. Brush the top of the feet from the toes to the ankle. Brush around the ankle in both directions.
- Legs: brush up from the ankle to the knee on all sides (front, sides and back). Repeat from the knee to the top of the thigh.
Dry skin brushing is terrific for anyone, especially as we age. I have been skin brushing for many years. Five minutes into my work-out or almost immediately getting into a near infrared sauna, I am sweating!! Never thought that I would be so happy to sweat! So, do your skin (and your detox organs) a favor and try skin brushing.
 Dr. Berkowsky, “Vital Chi Skin Brushing.” http://naturalhealthscience.com/skin-brushing-system.php.
For more information on Heather Kneale please go to Drkneale.com