This series is by Cristin Smith of Saffron & Sage. Photos by Taylor Balding and Kyle Miyamoto.
During Autumn, as the days are getting cooler and the air is drying out, we can feel the weather change around us. Our skin can feel it too.
Our skin is our biggest organ, and the one that protects us from everything the world can throw at us. It is deeply linked to our circulatory and lymphatic systems, which allow our bodies to battle disease and combat toxins. Dry brushing can get these systems moving, making it an essential practice for not only our skin’s health, but our overall well-being.
Dry brushing is just what it sounds like: you take a bristled bath brush and lightly scrub your skin before bathing. First and foremost, dry brushing is an exfoliation method. This practice displaces dead skin cells and encourages the growth of new skin. It can clear clogged pores and eliminate ingrown hairs. Your skin will feel smoother and brighter. Cleansing your skin in this manner will boost your skin’s ability to absorb natural vitamins, such as Vitamin D, from the environment.
On a deeper level, dry brushing stimulates the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid. The lymph system is located just under the skin, and it’s our drainage system that is responsible for removing fluid, debris and pathogenic agents (bacteria, viruses, etc.) from the body. Dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, accelerating the elimination of toxins from the body. When our lymphatic system gets congested, our purification centers or lymph nodes get swollen and clog the system.
There are a handful of helpful practices that support the lymphatic system. One is lymphatic massage. During this therapy, lymphatic fluids are manually drained from the body by a trained therapist. Another beneficial practice is “lymphasizing,” which is a much simpler process than the name suggests. You jump on a trampoline, which allows our one-way valves to open and close simultaneously. This dramatically increases the flow of lymphatic fluid. Lastly, we can support our lymphatic systems with dry brushing.
Before you begin dry brushing, be sure your skin and brush are completely dry (and don’t let anyone else use your skin brush). Be gentle with your skin. Light brushing, in small circles, starting at your feet and hands – working your way inward, towards your heart. Here’s my personal dry brushing process:
Start with your fingertips, and move up from your arms to your armpits.
Move to the front and back of your legs, starting at the bottoms of your feet.
Work your way back up to the buttocks, abdomen, and lower back.
Brush your chest and upper back.
With a dry washcloth, brush your face with downward strokes.
Afterwards, take a relaxing shower to wash away dead skin cells and renew your skin. This practice will invigorate your body, and increase your energy. Try this practice daily for a month and notice how good you feel! Not only is this practice excellent for healthy skin, but it is essential to our overall health.
If you already have a congested lymphatic system, think about cleansing the colon and liver as well. Supporting these other organs will enhance your overall detoxification and healing process.