Sweep in the changes with this proven self-care body routine
If (as many of us will have done) you have over-indulged in nasties over the festive period, and under-indulged in your usual exercise or yoga, chances are you may be feeling a little sluggish. January – the traditional detox month – is a wonderful time to get back in touch with a healthy inner and outer glow. And dry body brushing is an excellent way to kick-start this process.
The true beauty of dry body brushing lies not only in its ability to keep us looking great but feeling great too, as well as protected from all sorts of winter bugs. Unlike the blood circulatory system and heart, the lymphatic system does not have its own pump; it relies on muscle contraction, massage and warmth to flow effectively.
If your body has been working overtime to process festive excesses, the lymphatic system will be even more sluggish at eliminating waste and excess fluid, which in turn places additional pressure on the immune system. This is where daily dry body brushing comes in: it removes dead skin cells (encouraging cell renewal), boosts the skin’s sebum production (helping to improve texture and tone) and eliminates clogged pores (helping the skin to absorb nutrients). It also improves muscle tone, vascular blood circulation and lymphatic drainage (releasing toxins from the cells and encouraging the discharge of metabolic wastes). Furthermore, it rejuvenates the nervous system (by stimulating nerve endings in the skin) and helps to distribute fat deposits more evenly (improving the appearance of orange-peel skin). Combined, these elements enable the body to run more effectively and result in smoother, brighter skin. Plus it’s hugely invigorating. What’s not to love?
Using a dry, natural bristle brush, start from the soles of your feet and brush upwards towards your heart using sweeping strokes. Use light pressure to tar get the lymphatic system and pay particular attention to problematic areas (thighs, buttocks, hips etc.). Be gentle around your neck and shoulders and follow a gentle clockwise motion around your stomach. Avoid scrubbing too hard as you’ll bypass the lymphatic system and leave your skin red and sore. You only need to spend a couple of minutes dry body brushing each day before your shower or bath to kick-start a healthier looking and feeling body. It’s also beneficial for massaging muscles post exercise or for rejuvenating sleepy skin after a day in the office. For an extra detox boost, follow dry body brushing with a warm bath. Add one to two capfuls of apple cider vinegar to help draw out toxins and tone skin then follow with a toning and energising body cream.