Toxins are tiny molecules, proteins or peptides capable of inflicting disease and infection upon inhalation, ingestion or absorption.
They are present all around you. They are in the chemical-laced air you breathe, the preservative-rich foods you eat and the chemical-laden cosmetics you apply on your skin each day.
Toxins can cause skin problems, neurological problems, reproductive diseases and several kinds of cancer.
Moreover, they take a toll on your energy level, mood and overall performance. In a nutshell, an overload of toxins in the body can severely undermine the quality of your professional and personal life.
Truth be told, there is no escaping toxins. However, there are several ways to eliminate them from your body regularly and effectively.
One such way is dry brushing.
How Dry Brushing Helps Remove Toxins
There is a direct and an indirect detoxifying effect on your body when you dry brush.
The direct effect
This one’s a no-brainer.
Your skin is one of the major detoxifying organs of your body. Dry brushing stimulates and opens up the pores of your skin, sloughing off the dead cells and toxins that accumulate deep within your skin.
Essentially, dry brushing exfoliates your skin and directly eliminates impurities through an abrasive action.
Dry brushing also pumps up your sweat glands, which excrete toxins via sweat from your skin.
The indirect effect
This one is a little more complex and is related to your body’s lymphatic system.
The lymphatic system comprises lymph capillaries, vessels and lymph fluid that are spread throughout your body.
One of the functions of the lymph fluid is to collect toxins and waste products produced in the body and transfer them to the liver, your body’s main detoxifying organ, for elimination.
However, here’s the catch: Your lymphatic system relies completely on muscle and skin stimulation to function and for the lymph fluid to move around and do its work.
The lymph fluid moves through your body via lymph capillaries, which are located just under the skin’s surface.
Dry brushing is a fantastic way of stimulating these capillaries and promoting movement of the lymph fluid so it may deliver these toxins to the liver and have them successfully eliminated from the body.
How to Dry-Brush
1. Stand upright in your bathroom or inside your bathtub.
It is important to dry brush in your bathroom as you will be sloughing off a whole lot of dead cells and other impurities, and you do not want them clinging onto your Persian rug or contaminating the floor and air in your bedroom or living room.
Also, make sure you stand away from your bath mat.
2. Start dry brushing.
Start dry brushing your feet in brisk motions and make your way up, dry brushing the fronts and backs of your legs, thighs, lower abdomen, mid-section, chest, back, arms (including the armpits) and shoulders.
While brushing, make long sweeps and avoid back and forth motion. On your torso and back, use gentle circular motions.
It is important to dry brush your way up and toward your cardiovascular system to promote a healthy lymph fluid movement.
When coming from the abdomen toward the chest and armpit, make sure you do not stop at the armpit or right under it as it may contribute to lymph congestion; come all the way up to the top of the armpit.
Your skin may turn a pink color as you dry brush. Do NOT rub the brush so vigorously against your skin that it becomes irritated and red in color.
3. Continue dry brushing in the manner described above for 10 to 20 minutes.
Dry brushing for at least 10 minutes is essential for effective detoxing.
4. Take a long, warm bath after dry brushing.
This would be the perfect time to indulge in a rejuvenating and purifying detox bath, with ingredients like Epsom salt and Bentonite clay for added detox action.
As your pores will be open after dry brushing, these potent detoxifying ingredients will sweep the inner surfaces of your skin clean.
5. After the bath, rinse yourself under a cool shower.
This will close your pores and seal in the moisture.
Use a nourishing body moisturizer, such as a cocoa butter moisturizer or just extra-virgin coconut oil, to rehydrate and nourish your skin after dry brushing.
7. Repeat frequently.
You should dry brush 3 to 5 times a week.
Other Benefits of Dry Brushing:
- It promotes blood circulation.
- It exfoliates your skin, sloughing off the dead cells, and opens your pores. When you cleanse your skin with the pores open, the texture of your skin naturally improves.
- It may stimulate the nervous system and relieve stress. The stimulatory action of the bristle against the skin works as a kind of body massage. It may release muscle tension and calm the mind and body.
- There is also a popular belief that dry brushing helps reduce cellulite but this is not backed scientifically. However, as it increases circulation to the skin, it causes the skin to temporarily plump up, thus reducing the appearance of cellulite.
- Do not dry brush right after sun bathing or spending time at the beach or by the pool. This can severely irritate any part of the skin that may have been sunburned. Moreover, your skin is likely to be more sensitive and susceptible to irritation and injury at this time.
- Opt for a dry brush with natural bristles (for example a vegetable bristle body brush) and a long handle so you can easily brush the hard-to-reach areas, like the back. Avoid synthetic brushes that could irritate your skin.
- Always use a good quality dry brush with firm bristles. A dry brush with loose bristles will hardly slough off any dead skin, let alone promote blood and lymph fluid circulation.
- Do NOT use your dry brush for bathing. Always keep it dry.
- Replace your dry brush every month to ensure you are using a brush with strong bristles and minimize the risk of infection from old bristles.
- Dry brush early in the morning for increased wakefulness and energy.
- Keep yourself hydrated, eat your leafy greens and exercise. When one is in good shape, complementary health techniques like dry brushing are more effective and quick to show results.