Dry Brushing: What and Why

Classic loofah used for dry brushing.
Classic loofah used for dry brushing.

A few weeks ago while zoning out in the steam room after a 4K swim, an image of dry brushing popped into my mind. As I’m trying to pay more attention to, as well as honor these “self-messages,” I decided to give dry brushing a once-a-week-at-home trial.

I’d experienced dry brushing of the skin before as part of a half-day Russian spa treatment I did a few winters ago, so I knew that dry brushing is done to stimulate the lymph drainage and thus boost immunity.

But after reading up on the practice, I learned that improved skin tone, breaking up cellulite, and improved circulation are additional reputed benefits.

One of the most appealing aspects of DIY health treatments, for me at least, is affordability and ease. In this case all you need is a dry brush and about ten minutes. I’d just started to think about where to look a brush when serendipity struck—I received a dry brush-wash cloth as a holiday gift! (Thanks again Michael, impeccable timing!)

Some dry brushers use loofah sponges. The cloth I received is great though—its synthetic fibers are a bit gentler on my sensitive skin, the washcloth style makes it easy to grip, and the whole thing is machine washable.

The process is pretty simple and quick: Use either a circular or short sweeping-motion, and devote about 60-120 seconds to each section of your body, such as an arm or a leg, or torso (I find doing ten sweeps or circles per area well for me.) The key however, is to start at the extremities and work in towards your core/heart (e.g. toes to knees to thighs, fingers to elbows to upper arms) to maximize circulation and thus clearing benefits.

I was surprised to discover that dry brushing feels surprisingly pleasant, not “scratchy” throughout. Afterwards, I enjoy a nice energy boost for about 30-60 minutes. One can dry brush at any time, but I’ve found right before showering to be most convenient.

As for long term effects, “we’ll see,” mostly because I’m still a bit undecided on how to track results—fewer bugs? Lesser intensity or duration of illnesses? And, how do I know it’s dry brushing that’s helping? Stay tuned as I sort it out…

Next week: Dream Swimming

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Dry Brushing: What and Why

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