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Brushing the skin helps unplug the pores, increase its ability to absorb nutrients, increase circulation to the skin cells resulting in a better metabolic cellular exchange and polish it as well. Healthy skin needs to ‘breathe’. Rid it regularly of dry skin cells and the body will react by producing new skin cells more rapidly. Your skin will immediately feel silkier and on the long term will look healthier, loosing that dry, pasty appearance.
Fat deposits are better distributed, the nervous system is rejuvenated, nerve endings are stimulated and dry brushing contributes to improved muscle tone. All this from dry brushing alone?
Yes! But there is a right way to dry brush your skin for optimal benefits.
Start off with a natural bristle brush or loofa - my favourite is a short handled one. Synthetic brushes or exfoliation cloths are harsh and create minute scratches on the surface which may result in drier, irritated skin. Also, those with eczema, acne or other skin problems should consult with a health practitioner first.
ü Never ‘scrub’ your skin using hard pressure. Use firm but gentle pressure. It should feel good!
ü Always work in the direction of the heart. Start with the right foot, working in a circular motion first on the outside upwards then the inside. Repeat on the left also up to the top of the leg.
ü Stomach area: in a clockwise, circular motion from the navel outwards.
ü Right buttocks then the left: large circular motion, ending with strokes upwards.
ü Right hand, arm: as described for the legs – outer first then the inner area working upwards. Repeat on left.
ü Breast area: gently in a figure eight several times avoiding the sensitive nipple area.
ü Ribs: brush from the top down to the waist
ü Back: from the neck area downward horizontally (or circular if this is difficult).
All of the above will only add 5 minutes more to your morning routine.
Rinse off under a warm, not hot shower. There is no need to use soap or shower gel on the brushed areas of the body as it is now impeccably clean. If you can tolerate it, alternate between warm and cool water to really boost circulation, ending with the cool water.
Lightly pat the skin with a towel, leaving it rather moist. Now is the moment to massage in nourishing oils that absorb quickly into the skin such as almond, jojoba, emu or rose moscata oil, or a good body lotion that contains no minerals or paraffin and preferably no preservatives. By applying oils on to slightly wet or damp skin, you will be able to apply a very thin layer easily without pulling or dragging the skin nor will it feel oily. A fine layer of nourishing oil will help the skin retain its natural moisture.
Wash your brush with soap and water now and again, allowing to thoroughly dry.
Well brushed skin will have increased blood supply and its metabolic function of helping the body eliminate toxins will be optimally boosted as well as improved cellular ‘turnover’ (regeneration). You may not be able to restore skin elasticity (but it will be improved) or be rid of cellulite as these are often dependent on your genes - but you can help your skin to function optimally resulting in a healthier, better looking, seductively silky skin.
Want to start off your day on a positive note? A few really deep breaths at an open window, a dry brushing session followed by alternating warm and cool showers and your defence system will be boosted a little even within a week. However, it will take a few months for long term effects.
And I have not even mentioned other side effects to this quick morning routine – a clearer mind and boosted spirit. What a wonderful way to start the day!
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The Epicurean Table www.epicureantable.com © 2006
Patricia Conant, columnist and food writer
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