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Skin brushing, part one – the basics and the benefits

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I can’t urge you enough to give skin brushing (also known as dry skin brushing or dry skin brush massage) a try. I would be most surprised if someone who has tried it, doesn’t keep it up. The rewards occur at many levels, but include an immediate sense of well-being that is hard to beat for such a simple task that only takes a few minutes. It is also a truly spotless method of skin care, cleansing, and boosting your health, being completely free and without using any products at all. The only thing you will need to practice skin brushing daily, or as often as you like, forever, is a long-handled, soft and natural bristled brush.

Very basically, skin brushing involves literally brushing the entire surface of your skin, using long, quite firm strokes, starting from your hands and feet and moving mostly in the direction of your heart. (You can even use this technique on your face, but for this delicate area you would need a special, softer brush.) I’ll provide more detailed instructions on how to do it later, but first, let me tell you about some of the truly powerful benefits of skin brushing. Skin brushing stimulates, heals, tones and detoxifies the skin and body in a range of useful ways. (I’ll expand on some of these in later posts.) The list of benefits from skin brushing is so extensive it hardly seems credible.

  • Skin brushing provides gentle exfoliation that can be done every day, even twice a day. The skin forms a new layer of cells every 24 hours. Skin brushing efficiently removes dead skin cells and the detritus trapped among them.
  • It stimulates the circulation. About a third of our blood supply is circulating within the layers of the skin. Skin brushing helps increases the blood flow throughout the skin, tightening the skin, flushing toxins, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the cells and promoting healing.
  • It energises the nervous system by stimulating nerves all over the surface of the skin, awakening the skin’s sense of touch and giving a feeling of invigoration. This helps improve the overall functioning of the nervous system.
  • Stimulating the nerve endings also causes the muscle fibres attached to the nerves to be activated all over the body and make tiny movements, toning the muscles.
  • It stimulates the sebaceous glands, encouraging them to produce the healthy oils that keep skin soft and elastic. You will find your skin quickly becoming less dry.
  • The skin is one of our main organs of elimination, capable of getting rid of two pounds of toxins daily. Skin brushing aids in detoxifying the body by unclogging pores, removing dead cells and detritus, and by moving lymph.
  • The movement of lymph also significantly boosts the immune system, helping us fight off all types of infection and disease and to resist the threat and spread of cancer. The impact of stimulating the lymphatic system is such an important benefit of skin brushing, that I’ll devote another post to explaining how it works.
  • Regular skin brushing dislodges and prevents ingrown hairs. It also, over time, breaks down cellulite deposits. According to several sources I’ve looked into, it takes several months of regular brushing for this effect to become apparent, but it does pay off. It makes sense – cellulite consists of lumpy fatty deposits and trapped toxins. Skin brushing helps these be broken down, the toxins eliminated and the fat redistributed by the lymph vessels.
  • Skin brushing aids in recovery after surgery, particularly after a Cesarean section. It reduces inflammation and infection (via its effect on the lymph), speeds up recovery (by increasing blood circulation through the tissues), combats numbness and reduced sensation (by stimulating the nerve endings), and inhibits the formation of scar tissue (by sloughing off dead cells and promoting quick, healthy cell regeneration).
  • Skin brushing also stimulates the hormone producing glands and even aids in food digestion…

All of this may sound too good to be true. Please don’t just take my word for it. Give this ancient technique a try and see for yourself. Before I expand on the many wonderful benefits, next time I’ll give some details of how to do it.

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