During winter, we are prone to dry skin and low energy. This ancient technique will help you solve both problems – and it’s better for us than the morning cuppa we become so reliant on during the dark days of winter.
Dry brushing is a well kept secret. It promotes skin renewal and exfoliation, and is one of Ayurveda’s daily self care steps (Ayurveda translates to life science or life knowledge, a personalised system to maintain health and balance). Dry brushing helps us improve the efficiency of the skin to eliminate toxins and other impurities.
In winter, the kapha dosha tends to be imbalanced, and can make us feel sluggish and tired. Kapha represents water and earth and governs our bodies insulation (fat layers) and our protective facilities, like our immune system. Dry brushing our skin helps us to counter this kapha imbalance by working specifically with the fat layers under our skin, and by stimulating our lymph.
Our bodies largest organ, our skin, helps us eliminate up to one third of our bodies toxins. As we age, it becomes more difficult for our bodies to shed the outer layers of skin. This leads to less efficient elimination of toxins, and places extra stress on other organs involved in removing toxins from the body – like our liver and kidneys.
Removing dry and dead skin cells by dry brushing each morning not only helps improve your body’s ability to eliminate toxins, but it also improves the function of your sweat and secretion glands, turning your body back into the well oiled machine it should be.
- Calms our nervous system and reduces stress
- Stimulates the lymphatic system
- Improves immune function by helping us circulate white blood cells
- Rejuvenates cells
- Prevents premature aging
- Helps our skin ‘glow,’ even in winter
Even Joe Pilates knew the benefits of skin brushing and was known to make sure his Pilates’ pupils did this ritual daily.
Dry brushing increases blood circulation which helps to contribute to our overall energy levels and may also reduce the appearance of cellulite and improve muscle tone – a happy bonus! Try it with a natural brush (available online, or in your local health food store).
Avoid synthetic brushes as they may irritate your skin.
1) First thing in the morning, dry brush before you shower to remove dead skin. Use upward strokes, as firm as is comfortable. Start with your extremities- first with the bottoms of your feet and work up the ankles and legs all the way to your hips. Work your way towards the heart. Pay close attention to inner thighs, to help your lymphatic system.
2) Next move on to your arms again working your way towards your heart. Pay close attention to armpits (the added benefit of dry brushing is stimulating our lymphatic system, which relies on our muscle movement to circulate lymph fluid).
3) Next, brush your back as best you can, or enlist a little help from a loved one or friend.
4) Finally, work on your abdominal area. Working in a clockwise direction, brush until your skin is rosy and tingles a little. This can also help to stimulate our colon helping us with another step in the morning self care ritual (emptying the bowels).
5) Finally work on your chest and neck. This is delicate skin so you use care.
6) Next, apply coconut oil to your skin to hydrate, then hop in the shower. The warm shower will open your pores to absorb the oils and seal in the good moisture. If it feels more intuitive to use coconut oil after the shower, this is also fine and still benefits as your pores are nice and open.
Add your favourite pure essential oil (eucalyptus, cinnamon or clove are great warming scents for a kapha imbalance) to the coconut oil to get you energised, inspired or grounded – whatever you need that day.
6) If time permits, do a little self massage on areas of tension or pain and watch your outlook change from gloomy to sunny just by this little act of self care.
Always use your intuition and avoid sensitive areas and areas with broken skin. Wash and dry your brush periodically.
|About the author|
|A geneticist by training, Karissa Isaac is a strong believer in a holistic approach to wellbeing and the benefits of Pilates and yoga. She put her passion for holistic health into founding Azul along with husband Jamie Isaac. She is studying Ayurveda with the Dogwood School of Botanical medicine and is a strong believer and practitioner in the healing powers of movement, nutrition, essential oils and reiki, as well as good old fashioned love and kindness. Karissa is following her love of healing and holistic wellbeing and continues to work on new and exciting Azul projects and events.|