Thinking about Spring cleaning yourself? Over the next couple of months, I’ll cover some of the most effective (and 100% natural) ways to revive and renew, and restore your body and mind this season!
Boosting circulation and ridding the body of toxins isn’t just done by changing what we eat and how we move, but how we care for the body too. I’ve written about Abhyanga before – the Ayurvedic practice of self massage – and this is another way you can add a dose of self care that goes way beyond being just skin deep.
Dry body brushing is a fantastic way to increase the circulation of blood and lymph, and also helps to remove dead skin cells (whilst also encouraging new, healthy cells to grow!) As the name suggests, this type of brushing is done without any water, and covers the whole body. A firm-bristled brush (it’s always best to go with a natural , vegetable-derived material for the bristles) is used in circular, sweeping motions over the whole body, starting at the feet and moving up towards the heart.
Lymph is primarily drained at the chest, so spending extra time here gently circling the brush is useful. Spring is a natural time to ‘detox’, so if you’re looking for other ways to boost your wellbeing, consider a few sessions of self-lymph draining to help renew and revive the body after Winter.
Skin is actually the largest organ in – or ‘on’ – the human body. It’s also one of the most important elimination organs, helping to rid the body of excess toxins and waste, and receives a third of all the blood circulated in the entire human organism.
When there are large amounts of unhealthy compounds floating around in the bloodstream, the skin is often the first part of the body to show signs of dis-ease. Acne, rashes, dry skin, excessively oily skin, blackheads, pimples, and even things that seem inescapable like cellulite (which is commonly an accumulation of toxic material in the body’s fat cells, caused by hormones, diet, lifestyle, clothing, or genetics)
and premature wrinkles are often signs that there’s an issue with the deeper layers of the body. Not only that, but skin is also the last thing that receives nutrition, which is why regularly consuming a lot of water and eating skin-loving foods like avocado, blueberries, nuts, oils like hemp and coconut, and reducing dietary sugar is so important.
Many spa treatments and high-end therapy centers offer dry body brushing as part of a wellbeing or detox package, but if you choose to purchase your own body brush (Liz Earle, Mio Skincare, The Body Shop, and Green People are just a few who sell them online) you can receive the benefits on a daily basis without stepping foot out of the house (or even out of bed in the morning!). If you suffer from eczema or psoriasis, this may not be the practice ideally suited to you, as the already dry and inflamed skin can quickly become more inflamed if it is irritated. As always, speak to a professional or qualified dermatologist before embarking upon a new skincare routine. For those wanting to give it a try, begin 2-3 times a week, and increase depending upon how you feel!
Body Brushing Benefits
Body brushing is especially effective and important if you’re considering taking part in a cleanse or detox this Spring, as it can help to enhance the rate at which waste is removed from the body, as well as improving digestion. Practicing this simple yet incredibly effective self-care ritual has a whole host of benefits, so here’s a few to get you inspired:
- Helps remove dead skin cells
- Encourages renewal of healthy new cells
- Improves digestion
- Can reduce cellulite (even the Huffington Post says so!)
- Can relive muscular tension and stress
- Stimulates nerve endings
- Increases circulation
- Can often elicit feelings of wellbeing, and acts as an energy boost
- Helps to drain lymph and increase lymphatic circulation
- Aids in ridding the body of waste and toxins
- Reduces skin issues (as a result of improving detoxification)
- Clears clogged pores
Personally, I’ve been body brushing every morning for about a year, and always notice the benefits. My favourite time to use the brush is just after waking, and before a short morning pranayama (breathing) and meditation practice. Following body brushing with a shower (switching between warm and cold, Wim Hof style), and ending with oiling the body is an amazing way to start the day when you have time. For an added bonus, dry body brush before a sauna session to boost the benefits!