Ruby Pryde - Nov 20 2020

Dry body brushing: what it is & how does it work?

Garshana (gar-shun-uh) - an ancient Sanskrit word that translates to ‘friction by rubbing’.

For centuries, dry body brushing has been a technique used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a tool to help stimulate the lymphatic system, remove toxic waste from your body and contribute to an epic array of health benefits that the modern world has jumped on. And for good reason!

These benefits include energising the body, increasing circulation and blood flow, smoothing the surface of your skin and reducing cellulite, promoting mental alertness, reducing inflammation, and encouraging cellular renewal. That’s enough right there for anyone to drop what they’re doing and head out to find yourself a dry body brush, but first let’s read up on why this seemingly simple technique is a show stopper for your overall health.

We briefly touched on our lymphatic system in last week's blog post Why You Should Consider Switching to a Natural Deodorant, but today, we’re going to dive a little deeper into the wonders that is, this often overlooked system of our bodies.

Arguably just as important as our immune system, our lymphatic system is responsible for removing waste from our bodies. In conjunction with our immune system, the lymphatic system helps protect our bodies from the bad kinds of bacteria, fungi and viruses. It transports a fluid called lymph, containing infection-fighting white blood cells to all areas of the body. These little cells are responsible for immune responses that defend us against disease and illness, making them vital for our overall wellbeing. 

When it comes to your lymphatic system though, there's a catch 

Your lymphatic system has a hard time moving and flushing waste on its own. It needs to be stimulated in order to do so, which in a perfect world would be relatively easy with daily exercise, enough water, adequate sleep, minimal stress and a whole food based diet.

But realistically, we’d be kidding ourselves to think we can achieve this level of perfection ALL of the time.

Due to the ‘always on’ lifestyles that most of us share (and thrive on), and the increasingly toxic environments we inhabit, more and more of us are finding that we need to actively help move our lymphatic system along, in order to optimise not only our physical health, but our mental wellbeing too! 

What does a tired, sluggish and overloaded lymphatic system look like?

Symptoms can range for each individual, but generally speaking, there are a couple of main ones to look out for. Things such as water retention and inflammation, increased levels of cellulite (more than normal), dry and flakey skin, pimples, brain fog and bloating. A great measurement tool is the rings on your fingers! Too tight? Lymphatic system backlog!

If you’re reading this and subconsciously feel yourself ticking a box or two, dry body brushing may be an ultra effective (and oh so easy) routine to implement into your daily self care routine!

So, how do I go about dry body brushing?

Starting from the soles of your feet, work your way up your body with controlled and long brushing strokes, sweeping towards your heart, which helps support your body's natural circulation and lymphatic system flow.

Ensure you take care around sensitive or thin skinned areas like the breast, chest and face. For the ladies - please avoid your breasts all together. Working in a clockwise and circular motion around your abdominal area will support your natural path of digestion.

Traditionally, dry body brushing is just that. Dry. No serums, oils, creams or additions to the process. Some might think shocking, but this is the Ayurvedic way. Whilst we respect the traditional technique, many of us have become used to the luxuries in life, and might have a hard time of keeping things completely to the books.

So, if you would like to add a bit of diversity to your dry brushing routine, we suggest adding a couple drops of Grapefruit or Cypress essential oil. Both are thought to assist in dislodging toxins within the body, and drawing impurities from the skin.

Now if the latter wasn’t enough to get you excited about dry brushing, let us further explain why it is a winning addition to your daily routine.

Aside from the epic list of benefits that dry brushing has for your health, it also is an extremely environmentally friendly way to take care of your skin.

Most exfoliating gloves on the market are made from plastic materials, which are then packaged in plastic. Go figure!
And unless your exfoliating body scrubs are made from 100% natural ingredients, there is every chance you are exfoliating with micro beads. These little guys seem harmless from afar, but they are major contributors to the contamination of our waterways and the deterioration of our precious marine life. So if you needed another reason to make the switch other than your own health, here it is.

Incorporating dry brushing into your routine doesn’t need to be slave labour, either. Any time of the day will do, but if you’re like us and struggle to fit in another aspect to your already busy schedule, prioritising an extra 5 minutes before your shower each day to invest some love back into your body is not only time effective, but makes remembering to do it a heck of a lot easier. Hello self care!

What kind of brush should I be looking for?

Most chemists, health food stores and even supermarkets are now stocking these glorious items. We recommend looking for a brush made from natural fibres, is plant based, biodegradable and uber eco friendly. And if you manage to find yourself one made from organic ingredients, you my friend, hit the top of the class.

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