As we emerge from the dark, cold days of winter and start to peel off the layers, what’s underneath can be a bit of a shock! Skin that has seen little light for a few months and has had to protect us from the biting cold, is unlikely to look its best. Enter body brushing.
First recommended to me by my lovely massage therapist, Trixy, dry body brushing has been a revelation. Not only does it leave my skin feeling softer and much smoother, it also helps improve its quality and texture. On top of that, just 10 minutes in the morning can make a huge difference to my energy levels as the brush somehow wakes up my body and leaves it feeling all zingy.
I have to confess that not being a morning person, I keep it close to hand by the bed, allowing me to reach out and start brushing when I am still lying down (not the best way so not to be recommended!). There’s only so many bits I can get to that way though… but it’s ok because by that time it has woken me up sufficiently to get myself out of bed to do the rest!
If you haven’t come across body brushing before, here’s a resume of the benefits:
- Supports lymphatic drainage: the lymph system is part of the circulatory system and one of its main functions is to clear the toxins and bacteria from the body. It is therefore an important part of our immune system. Lymphatic fluid flows around the body but unlike blood, it is not powered by the heart but rather by the contraction of the muscles and by gravity. It is thought (although not medically proven) that body brushing can stimulate the lymph system, helping to move the lymph fluid more effectively around the body.
- Improves the quality and texture of the skin – again maybe subjective, but I can only speak for what I have experienced myself and that is a definite improvement. While there is no substitute for a good diet in managing cellulite and the like (I certainly saw a huge difference when I gave up refined sugar), I did genuinely notice my skin looking firmer and less dimply.
- A good exfoliator – in itself a good enough reason to body brush. The dead skin cells are swept away, leaving your skin feeling softer, smoother and ready to be revealed!
- Energy boost – there’s something about the firmness of the bristles and the sweeping strokes that gives a tingly sensation that literally feels as if every bit of your body is alive. It’s wonderfully invigorating.
Convinced yet? If so, here’s some tips on how to do it:
- Choose a brush that has natural bristles and that is comfortable to use. I find that a long handle is helpful in reaching those out of the way places.
- Start from the feet and work systematically round the body.
- Brush in long but firm strokes always towards the heart (apart from the stomach when you brush in a circular motion). The skin should be slightly red but not painful.
- Spend a couple of minutes on each main body part, focusing on those areas that you feel require more attention.
- I find the ideal time to body brush is before I have my shower in the morning and then I moisturise the skin afterwards. I definitely wouldn’t recommend it in the evening as the energy boost is not conducive to a good night’s sleep!
You can buy body brushes from chemists, good department stores and the more spa-orientated cosmetic brands such as Elemis or ESPA.
Give it a go – I’d love to know how you get on!