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What Is Dry Brushing?

Is Dry Brushing the Must-Do Wellness Routine?

Have you tried dry brushing? This trendy wellness practice is not new, but major claims about its potential impact on your well-being (with medical terms like "lymphatic system" and "circulation") have many of us scratching our heads, wondering if scratching our skin will have a real effect on our health.

If you've yet to hear of the concept, we're breaking it down and going over some of the purported claims to see if dry brushing's benefits hold any water.

What Is Dry Brushing?

The wellness practice of using a brush with firm bristles on your dry skin to exfoliate and improve your health.

How Do You Do It?

Using a firm-bristled brush, make short strokes along dry skin (NOT wet!), upward toward your heart. You can brush all the skin on your body, save for cuts and scabs, your face, and your nether regions (ow x100).

Claimed Benefits

  • Detoxifying. Some wellness sites (and proponents of dry brushing) claim that it stimulates the lymphatic system to rid the body of toxins and invader cells through lymph flow, drainage, and the increased production of lymphocytes (fighter cells) in the lymphatic tissue.
  • Immunity-boosting. The lymphatic stimulation might also help fight infections and keep you healthier.
  • Metabolism-boosting. It may stimulate the circulatory system, bringing fresh blood to your skin and also upping your metabolism.
  • Stress-reducing. Dry brushing feels nice, so it can reduce stress, improve mood, and increase your overall well-being. Its psychological effects are similar to those of a relaxing massage.

Is There Science Backing It?

Western medicine has yet to prove much around the validity of dry brushing — in fact, some sites have even debunked its abilities to actually detox anything. Even natural wellness doctors like Andrew Weil, MD, say "the body does a pretty good job of cleansing and purifying itself," and that you don't need to use dry brushing to eliminate toxins. However, Dr. Weil also mentioned that "if you enjoy it and believe it benefits you, there's no reason not to do it."

The University of Maryland Medical Center cites dry brushing as a treatment for edema, which is swelling and fluid retention, so if you're feeling puffy and want to stimulate drainage, there's some medical backup here.

Should You Try It?

Here's the thing — unless you're dry brushing so much that your skin is raw, there's no adverse side effect to dry brushing. If it feels good to you and makes you happy, then it's an excellent way to exfoliate your skin and care for the largest organ in your body. It might be a real mood booster and anxiety reliever, and if that's something you struggle with, then by all means, give this wellness practice a go.

As for whether or not you'll experience effects from potential lymphatic drainage and increased circulation, you'll have to see for yourself.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Victor Verdugo
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