By Emma Thompson
Winter, the time of year when the rain continues to fall, the winds howl and the season presents bitter and frosty mornings. The unkind Winter environment can certainly effect our overall health and wellbeing, challenging our mental and emotional strengths and putting our bodies and systems into protective overdrive.
Dry body brushing is a cleansing technique of Ayurvedic medicine, a system of alternative healing that originated in India thousands of years ago. It is designed to stimulate the body from the outside to cleanse our whole system. Body brushing is a great tool to rejuvenate, revitalize and detoxify our minds and bodies in the cooler months.
In the harsh winter conditions our skin tends to become dry and less hydrated. Dry skin brushing helps to keep pores clear and skin active to assist in the bodies cleansing process. It stimulates sweat and oil glands providing more moisture, leaving the skin feeling fresh and vibrant.
Dry body brushing helps stimulate both blood and lymph circulation helping to eliminate toxins from the body and promote the production of white blood cells (natural killer cells that help fight off viruses and bacteria). As we age our bodies become less effective in shedding outer layers of dead skin. If skin becomes inactive, its ability to remove excess toxins is impaired placing extra stress on other organs and the body in general.
Our skin is the largest organ of the body. It is estimated that one third of our bodies daily impurities are excreted through our pores. Not only does our skin assist with elimination but we also absorb many essential nutrients through the pores including oxygen. Body brushing helps exfoliate skin and remove dead skin cells that may be clogging pores interfering with waste elimination and also absorption of essential nutrients.
When you first begin body brushing it may take a little bit of time to complete but once you get used to the process it will only take you a few minutes each morning. Use the 5 minutes whilst body brushing to take a few nice long deep breaths, try to clear your mind of all the thoughts of the day, add in a little affirmation if you like – be really present in the moment and this will create a natural energized and positive outlook for the day ahead.
Follow these simple steps and start adding body brushing into your daily morning ritual for a fresh glow to the mind and body:
- When purchasing a body brush make sure the fibers are all natural and avoid any synthetic materials (one’s made of coconut and sisal are best)
- Work in the direction of the Lymphatic System. Always work towards the heart, starting at the soles of the feet and swiping the brush upwards working the leg and hip area of both sides of the body (start with the left side first)
- Once the lower body is complete move onto the hands, again swiping upwards towards the arms and across the chest towards the neck (both sides)
- After the chest work the back as best you can (this can sometimes be difficult to reach so brushes with a long handle are beneficial for this reason)
- Lastly, finish with the abdomen working in a clockwise direction
- The skin will feel slightly tingly and there may be some redness for those with sensitivity
- Shower afterwards to wash off dead skin cells
- Moisturize with natural oils to continue to hydrate the skin