Did you scratch your head a little when you read the title? "Brush my body?"
No worries, I had a similar reaction when I first came across dry body brushing. Upon discovering not only what it was, but the numerous benefits I knew I had to try it.
When you think about the skin you must remember all the duties that our precious epidermis and dermis carry out for us every moment of every day. Not only is the skin the largest organ of our body, it is also constantly renewing itself, and it allows for a quarter percent of our daily body detoxification. Our skin is permeable and it can absorb toxins directly from our environment, that's where dry body brushing comes in.
The list of benefits is numerous, I'll ramble some off:
-Increases circulation of the skin which greatly aids your lymphatic system remove waste
-Helps with cell renewal and removing dead skin cells
-It can help prevent/improve cellulite and scarring, including stretch marks
-Increasing the circulation and removing the dead cells can help the skin tighten and maintain firmness
-It can be a very relaxing and unwinding experience
These are just a few of the many advantages that come along with body brushing.
So now you may be asking where to start! There is a "proper" way of body brushing which is vital to successfully and safely aiding your body.
First you need to invest in a PLANT based body brush. Make sure it has a long handle so that you can reach all areas of your body. Many have removable heads that allow for a bitter grip when not using for the hard to reach places. Googling body brushes should bring up several options for you and for a very reasonable price. I actually found mine at my local health food store! It's made from the agave plant, the company is Yerba Prima and I must say that I'm very satisfied with the quality and price!
It is recommended to try to brush first thing in the morning BEFORE your bath or shower. If you can't do it in the morning by all means still do it when you decide to bathe.
I recommend having a nice oil post-shower to help seal in moisture and promote that healthy glow. I love using virgin coconut oil, but any vegan option is great.
You want to start at the soles of your feet using light sweeping strokes upward. It may feel a little prickly at first, it's a different sensation since most people haven't ever body brushed before. Sweep up your legs, always brushing towards the heart. Try to do several brushes on each area of the body, giving a few extra strokes to any scars. DO NOT brush over any sensitive areas or where the skin may be broken.
Brush from your hands towards your shoulders, light strokes over your belly. Some people choose to skip the breasts and neck, do what you feel comfortable doing, just always being cautious and conscious of what your body is telling you.
When you're done hop in your nice hot shower and rinse off all the dead cells you just brushed off. Some people enjoy cranking the water from extreme hot to extreme cold a few times to really get that lymph moving, but it's not something that you must do.
After your shower lightly dry yourself using a nice patting motion instead of a hard scrub. Apply your plant-based oil/lotion all over and bring your awareness to how your body is feeling and how it feels to touch your smooth soft skin.
A few notes:
Don't brush after shaving. It's best to do a nice session of brushing and then shave. This helps to eliminate the dead cells and achieve a smoother and closer shave.
Some people will body brush two times a day when they are experiencing an illness. As with any practice that incorporates the body do what only you feel comfortable.
I've spoken with several pregnant women who really benefitted and enjoyed brushing while pregnant. They of course did a much more gently stroke than a seasoned body brushing veteran would, but said it really helped relax them and help with the skin stretching. Some also said it was nice to have their partner do the brushing for them as a sort of couples massage.
As with most natural body transformations things take time so be disciplined in your brushing practice and you will see results. It can take anywhere from 5-30 days for noticeable differences in your skin, but much less for your mind to notice and appreciate the mental and spiritual practice of honoring and taking care of your body.