The Benefits of a Brush Massage

Written by Tracy Kaye Holly

The Magic of Dry and Wet Brush Massage

I have wet and dry brush massaged for 35 continuous years since beginning at seventeen. At that young and tender age, I had no idea how beneficial brushing actually was, but I knew that my skin felt like silk and that regular brushing gave me a super sense of invigoration and well being. It was and still is, truly magical!

Dry brushing provides an invigorating start to anyone’s morning hygiene and wellness routine. Body brushing the skin dry is an ancient therapeutic practice. Brushing exfoliates and tones the skin, slows the process of aging down, increases circulation and alleviates muscle tension.

Brushing also increases blood flow and improves circulation. The action will tighten the skin making it less prone to wrinkles and cellulite. It’s a simple reliable practice that keeps the skin healthy and vital. It also makes you feel healthy and strong.

Body Brushing is a great way to relieve stress because it induces relaxation, stimulates blood flow and most of all helps the lymphatic drainage system remove toxins. This proven habit of health is known to prevent and reduce the formation of cellulite in thighs and bottom area, where peroxidized lipids (fats), proteins and waste products tend to accumulate.

The skin is the largest eliminative organ and plays an important role in body detoxification. Dry brushing cleans out the lymphatic system. Lymph is a component of the immune system. Lymph consists of white blood cells (lymphocytes) and a special fluid that bathes our cells. This fluid works to nourish cells and remove their waste. All detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph, in fact, the blood that runs through our veins depends greatly on the lymph system for quality and life support.

The tool in dry brushing is typically a long-handled bath brush with soft, natural fiber bristles. Other options include exfoliating gloves, a loofah sponge or gloves made from raw silk. The advantage of the long-handled brush is related to the length of the handle. A longer handle allows you to reach and scrubs body parts not accessible by arms reach.

Specialized brushes allow one to scrub in the shower with a gentle cleanser. For the ladies this is great after shaving the legs, underarms and bikini area. It also helps avoid ingrown hairs.

Brush massage whether dry or wet is preferable first thing in the morning. A thorough skin brushing takes only about 5-7 minutes.

You can brush head-to-toe or toe-to-head. What matters most for best results is actually brushing the entire body consistently.

Remove all of your clothing and perform a full-body dry brush massage. Massage your skin using long or circular strokes and massage the skin and extremities towards the heart from the feet up and the neck and arms down.

Your skin may redden and start tingling as the body brushing increases the circulation in areas of greatest fat concentration. How firmly you press depends on how toned your skin and body are. Brush gently and easy at first. Your skin will soon become fitter and more toned. Soon you can brush more vigorously with even better results. Avoid body brushing if you have eczema, psoriasis, broken or infected skin or varicose veins. Ease into it.

Don’t do a dry or wet brush massage on skin that has a rash, infection, cut or wound. You might spread a rash or infection to other parts of your body by dry brushing over it and other areas of skin. Brushing over a cut or wound can reopen it and interfere with scabbing and healing.

After dry brushing the entire body enter a lukewarm to warm shower. Begin to soap up. When finished washing, slowly increase the temperature of the water to very warm or hot. Maintain the heat for several minutes. Next, turn the water on to freezing cold and twist your body around slowly under the shower head. Try and stay under the water for around 30 seconds until you’re almost gasping for air. Turn the water tap off, step out and dry off with a towel, preferably in an open area with direct natural light. This is called air bathing!

After brush massaging and showering, the next step is to apply a natural moisturizer or your favorite natural plant oil directly to the skin, such as almond, avocado, sesame or a special mix. You’ll notice a difference after the first time you incorporate this marvelous wellness habit. Give it a couple of weeks and your friends and family will notice the difference too.

The magic of dry or wet body brush massage will certainly make you feel wonderful, completely refreshed, and ready to start your day! And like any good magician, be careful not to reveal your secret. A wet or dry brush in hand is always quicker than the eye!

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About the author

Tracy Kaye Holly

Tracy Holly is the Executive Director and public relations officer for the Cory Holly Institute and a Certified Sports Nutrition Advisor. She is a strong health & fitness activist and is a great believer in alternative natural medicine. She is the author of The Athlete's Cookbook, Sports Nutrition For Kids and lectures to women's groups, children groups and at trade shows on Health, Wellness and Staying Fit. 
 In addition to being a fantastic whole food cook, Tracy has an extensive and eclectic background in Ballroom and Latin dancing. She successfully competed for Canada on a professional level and also owned and operated Spartacus Athletic Club, a coed fitness facility located in East Vancouver, British Columbia.