Everything you need to know about the “art” of dry brushing – a simple massage technique that turns out to brighten the skin, stimulate circulation and promote lymphatic drainage.
Your guide to dry brushing:
What is dry brushing?
Now that you have mastered Gua Sha, don’t forget the rest of your body! Dry brushing, also called Garshana or Urdhvartanam in Ayurveda (Indian alternative medicine), is the concept of dry massage and upward rubbing of the body. The concept of dry brushing uses coarse brush fibers to remove dead skin and improve the skin’s ability to flush toxins through its pores. While some prefer dry brushing during a detox, brushing once or twice a day has been shown to increase the appearance and elasticity of the skin.
“It stimulates microcirculation, safely and naturally, allowing the desquamation of dead cells, thereby promoting the flow of fresh blood and oxygen to the surface of the skin.” says Kavita Khosa, founder of Purearth Asia, an ethical and sustainable beauty brand. “Dry brushing essentially polishes the skin, making it appear smoother and softer.” Besides its physical benefits, it also stimulates your nervous system, giving you a feeling of energy after a dry brushing session. “According to Ayurveda, it helps fight cellulite, obesity, body sluggishness and decreases” kapha “while detoxifying the body, aiding lymphatic drainage to release the build-up of” Ama “or collected toxins in the body due to a poor diet, unhealthy lifestyle, lack of sleep, exercise or smoking, ”adds Kavita.
So how do you brush dry?
“The direction should always be upwards, in fact, guyhana or urdhvartanam is done against the grain of the body hair, ”Kavita shares. When dry brushing, use small, firm strokes upward or in a circular motion. You should spend about five to seven minutes dry brushing your teeth to fully stimulate the process. As to when you need to dry the brush, it depends on the individual. Some prefer before bed while others prefer the morning due to its rejuvenating effect. On what to use with your dry brush, this also varies according to individual preferences. You can use body oil otherwise some prefer to use the brush alone.
- Start at your feet and brush towards the heart.
- As you approach your belly, work clockwise.
- Light strokes should be used in areas where your skin is thin i.e. arms and hands. Areas of your face that have thicker skin, i.e. the soles of the feet, can be used with more pressure.
- Brush your arms, towards your armpits.
When finished, you should take a cool shower to help remove the dry exfoliated skin. “Ayurvedic texts recommend abyhanga or a body massage with oils after dry brushing. This nourishes and tones the skin and muscles, improves blood circulation and must then be followed by a bath, ”explains Kavita.
Which tool should I use?
The short brushes fit in your hand, making them easy to use. Those who wish to achieve other spots such as the back choose to use long brushes. “A muslin glove, natural fiber brush, or loofah work great without being too harsh or drying out the skin,” suggests Kavita. For more sensitive skin, a plain, dry washcloth would be preferable.
Dry brushing may not be suitable for everyone. For those with eczema and psoriasis, talk to your dermatologist before continuing. Those with open or inflamed wounds should avoid brushing these areas as this could lead to infection. On the maintenance side, rinse your brush with soap and water once a week after use. It should be dried in an open and sunny place to prevent mildew.
Don’t know where to buy dry brushes? Browse the Sephora body brush or tools from NET-A-PORTER.
Hero and featured image courtesy of Cottonbro via Pexels
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Hong Kong