Originally published January 6 2009
Dry Skin Brushing: A Natural Way to Detox
by Elizabeth Walling
(NaturalNews) The toxins that pollute our air and water aren't just an environmental concern. We take these poisons into our bodies every time we take a breath of air, sip a glass of water or take a bite of food. Of course, many people are aware of these concerns and take important measures to protect themselves like filtering their water and eating organic foods. But even if someone is careful, it's impossible to avoid all toxins, which is why it's important to help your body detoxify itself.
Too often we see promotions for expensive, complicated detox products that promise to make us healthier. Although some of these techniques are useful, its difficult to sift through fact or fiction when it comes to products that claim to cleanse and detoxify. Fortunately there is an alternative: dry skin brushing is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to detox at home, and this technique provides a number of important health benefits.
The skin in the body's largest organ, serving to protect the body from unwelcome outsiders and also to eliminate toxins through the pores. The skin is so important in the process of eliminating toxins it is often referred to as a third kidney. The skin's ability to detox is severely compromised when pores become clogged from toxins in the air, in cosmetics and beauty products, or from the food we eat. By spending a few minutes each day dry brushing your skin, you can renew your skin's ability to eliminate toxins from your body.
Dr. Denice Moffat, a naturopath who specializes in alternative medicine and holistic healing techniques, says dry skin brushing helps clear toxins from the lymphatic system. Since the lymph system is a vital part of detoxification, dry skin brushing is a key to helping the body purify itself naturally. Dr. Moffat adds that dry skin brushing improves the health of the liver and kidneys because the body is no longer concentrating the entire detoxification process on those organs. Skin brushing also stimulates the nervous system and improves its function.
Although dry brushing advantages are obviously not only skin deep, this technique does provide extraordinary cosmetic benefits. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin and removes the outer layer of dull, dry skin. The appearance of the skin is noticeably softer and brighter. Dry skin brushing keeps toxins from polluting the skin, which promotes a clear, supple complexion. People who use this technique regularly notice reduced cellulite and better muscle tone.
No unusual equipment is needed for dry skin brushing–just a brush made with soft, natural hair. A long-handled brush may be helpful for reaching all areas of the skin, but it's not necessary. You should try to brush your skin on a daily basis. A good time to do this is right before your daily shower, not only because it will be easy to remember but also because the shower will help accelerate the cleansing process after dry brushing
Always use brush strokes toward the heart. Brushing towards the heart facilitates detoxification, while brushing away from the heart can adversely affect circulation in the blood vessels and lymph system. You can experiment to find a method of brushing that is comfortable to you, but some general guidelines are to stroke from your hands up your arms several times, covering all areas of skin. Then stroke the brush from your feet to the top of your legs in the same way. Use several clockwise strokes on the stomach, both sides of the chest, and your arm pits. Then repeat these areas with counterclockwise motion. You can also brush in a circular motion on the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. Concentrate on areas which suffer from dryness or cellulite, but avoid areas of broken skin or rashes.
When you begin dry brushing, you will no doubt be surprised at how invigorating and energizing the process feels. For most people it requires very little urging to make this natural technique a daily ritual.
Cassel, Ingri. (2006) Dry Skin Brushing For Healthy Skin. Idaho Observer.
Moffat, Denice M. (2005) The Dry Brushing Technique.
About the authorElizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more:
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