Dry Brushing What is it and Can it Help During Allergy Season?

April 9, 2021

What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing, dry body brushing, or skin brushing is the use of a natural fiber bristle brush to aid in the stimulation of the skin, lymphatic system, circulatory system, and the nervous system. Skin brushing has been used in the healing practices of cultures all around the world for hundreds of years. Finnish nutritionist and naturopathic physician Dr. Paavo Airola popularized contemporary dry brushing 30 years ago. It has increased in popular in recent years making appearances in health and wellness centers all over the US.

How and When Do I Dry Brush?

The first step is to find the right brush for you. You should get a brush that is comfortable for you to use meaning it is not painful when using medium pressured strokes. Bristles range from firm to soft and your choice should match your skin type: if you have sensitive skin or are prone to redness stick to a soft brush that gives easily.

The best time to dry brush is in the morning before you shower. Dry brushing is believed to be energizing and is a great way to stimulate your body after a good night sleep. Brushing before your shower will help to get rid of any lose dead skin cells sitting on the skins surface. Always moisturize after your shower to replace any moisture lost in the process and never over exfoliate. To be safe start with dry brushing two to three times a week and gradually increase or decrease use according to your skin’s reaction.

When you have the perfect brush that is all you need to get started! Begin at the feet, brush the bottoms of the feet and up the legs in long, smooth strokes. Circular motion should be used around the knees and ankles. Brush each section of skin ten times to stimulate lymph flow, and always brush toward the heart/chest area where the lymph system drains. As a good rule of thumb, always brush toward the center of the body. Repeat the same process with the arms, starting with the palms of the hands and brushing up the arm toward the heart, using circular motions around the elbows. The abdomen should be brushed in a clockwise motion starting with the right hip. For the armpits, brush in a circular clockwise motion. For the face and neck, you should switch to a smaller and more delicate brush and use lighter pressure.

Never brush over skin that is broken, this includes cuts, scrapes, lesions, sores or burned skin, including sunburns. Do not ever brush over areas of infection, redness or general irritation, inflammation, cellulitis, or skin cancer. Stop dry brushing if skin becomes irritated or inflamed.

What Are the Benefits of Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is perfect for exfoliating! We expel so many toxins through our skin so keeping dead skins cells off your body and unclogging pores in the exfoliation process helps your body get rid of toxins from part of our everyday lives; from the air we breathe, to the food we eat and the water we drink. Bonus: over time it will help shrink your pores and give your skin a smoother look and feel! It also helps by increasing blood circulation which brings fresh blood to the area that bring vital nutrients and oxygen.

The body’s lymphatic system has a few main functions, including being responsible for getting rid of toxins through lymph fluid. This system carries waste away from tissues via an extensive pathway of vessels. Through the action of dry brushing, lymph fluid held in tissue just below the surface of the skin is pushed into lymph vessels, travel to the lymph nodes, and are expelled from the body. It also stimulates your nervous system, which can help with stress relief and make you feel invigorated afterward.

Can Dry Brushing Help During Allergy Season?

The answer is yes! Helping your body to detox through the skin and lymphatic system is great during allergy season it aids your body’s natural response to allergens and can help get rid of toxins we breath in. Sinus pressure is also a big factor during allergy season, facial dry brushing can help relieve that pressure in the same ways as massage. Facial dry brushing is also helpful to get rid of the puffiness that comes with this wonderful time of the year and who wouldn’t want to look and feel like allergy season isn’t affecting you!

If you want to experience professional dry brushing, you can add it on to most massage types or cupping sessions. Happy dry brushing!

Written by Danielle Lambert, Lead Massage Therapist

Danielle is very passionate about Massage Therapy and its life-changing abilities. She has always worked to show people that massage is not a want or luxury, but a need. She has focused her career on educating her clients on the “why” at every opportunity. This allows her to build trust and get excellent results with her clients because they are willing to give their all when they understand the best way to get there. Danielle believes massage therapy heals not only the physical pain we experience but the mental stress that we all have to deal with in everyday life.

Danielle attended the Cayce/Reilly School of Massage in 2013. As a new massage therapist, she started at Massage Envy and gained a year of hands-on-experience. She then started at Massage Green in Fairfax City where she helped build the massage program from the ground up. This included creating a program for the infamous “tech neck” where she worked with clients to improve their posture, headache/migraines, and stress levels that tend to increase with high-performance jobs. By 2016 Danielle was back in Virginia Beach and loved working in the relaxing environment of a resort spa for five years while teaching massage at the Advanced Fuller School of Massage. She is excited to join the Thrive team while continuing to educate clients and future massage therapists at Fuller.

Danielle has completed over 80 hours of continuing education classes on a variety of modalities including deep tissue, pre and post sports, neuromuscular, myofascial, reflexology, aromatherapy, hot and cold stones, pre and postnatal, infant massage and reflexology, hydrotherapy, a wide variety of healing body treatments, and cupping