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Posted 06/28/2022 in Christian Mental Health Tips

Dry Brushing Benefits for Anxiety and Beyond


Dry Brushing Benefits for Anxiety and Beyond

We covered the healing effect of touch in a previous piece. God made us with an intrinsic desire to connect through touch. It is, in fact, the only sense we cannot live without. As I learn more about the healing power of touch, I discover new ways to incorporate it into my life and the lives of my clients. This includes informing my clients about Havening TouchTM and the advantages of dry brushing for anxiety and other health benefits. 

What is Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing is exactly what it sound like.  You use a body brush to gently massage your body and both the brush and your body are dry.  There are many benefits to dry brushing for both your mental health and physical health.  Everyone should consider including this self-care technique into their normal routine. In addition, dry brushing is simple to use, inexpensive, and something you can do just about anywhere. While most people will do their dry brushing technique before or after getting in the shower, don't feel like that is the only time you can try it. I personally love brushing after a long day while sitting in my living room.  

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Benefits of Dry Brushing

Dry brushing has several physical and mental health benefits.  Dry skin brushing can help with connecting with your body, decrease self-injurious behavior and has other health benefits.  Below are our favorite three benefits of dry skin brushing for physical and mental health.  

Top 3 Physical Health Benefits of Dry Brushing

Helps Your Body Detoxification Process - The skin is our largest detoxification organ. As you live life, unwanted dirt and debris appear on its surface to be washed away. The skin removes a large amount of waste through sweat; however, a lot more toxins are absorbed through your skin every day. In addition to showering, dry brushing helps to remove the dead skin cells and toxic substances that reside on the top layers.

Aids in Restoration - When you eliminate the unnecessary dead skin cells that have accumulated over time, you make place for new skin to grow. Dry brushing aids the body's production of new skin cells and the repair of damaged tissue by removing dry dead skin.

Promotes Blood Flow - Skin brushing exfoliates the skin, which increases circulation and blood flow. This enhanced circulation is required for the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to your cells as well as the removal of metabolic waste. Poor circulation causes swelling, cellulite, pain, and varicose veins.

Top 3 Mental Health Benefits of Dry Brushing

Can Help Ease Anxiety Symptoms - Anxiety and/orDry brushing benefits Facebook Post nervousness is something that everyone experiences from time to time. Anxiety is a common reaction to uncertainty about what may happen next, whether it be in the next few minutes, hours, days, or months. While there is value in experiencing anxiety, the physical symptoms of anxiety are often uncomfortable.  

Dry brushing is a stress-relieving technique that soothes the body. Brushing your skin is a deliberate, rhythmic, and peaceful action that helps you stay grounded by bringing more attention into your life. When you are engage in a mindful activity, like dry brushing, you cannot live in the future or past (the essential component of anxiety).

Can Decrease Self-injurious Behavior - Some people who engage in self-injurious behavior (i.e., cutting), engage in this behavior as a coping mechanism. Self-harm can be a way for a person to feel something when experiencing numbness or to distract themselves from depression or anxiety. Dry brushing is can be a healthy alternative to cutting because it allows the person to connect with their body through the sensation of brushing. It can also be use as a distraction from painful and strong feelings.

Can Be Energizing  - Dry brushing helps stimulate nerve endings in the skin, which helps to stimulate the nervous system. Brushing is often considered as energizing because it gives you a boost of energy if you're feeling tired.

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What Are the Risks of Dry Brushing?

Dry brushing may not be for everyone. If you have sensitive skin or a skin condition, such as psoriasis, eczema, etc., speak with your doctor before using a dry brush. Similarly, you should also avoid dry brushing over an open wound because you could introduce bacteria to the wound, which could lead to infection.

How to Practice Dry Brushing.

While practicing dry brushing is a simple self-care concept, there are a few things your should keep in mind. Check out below tips to help you explore the benefits of dry brushing.

1. Choose a Brush with Natural Bristles.

I personally love this brush that I order from amazon and think it is the best brushes for dry brushing. You get several brushes for a reasonable price. However, you do not have to use this exact brush, just make sure whatever brush you pick has natural bristles. I usually also recommend either ordering a brush that has a long handle that can been removed because it makes reaching your feet and back easier or ordering two brushes (one with a long handle and one without).

The finial consideration when picking a brush is to use a softer brush for your face. I personally like this brush for the more sensitive face area.  

2. Make Sure Your Skin is Dry.

This self-care technique is called dry brushing so make sure your skin is dry. Not only does brushing dry skin give you the benefits of exfoliation but is also prevents the removal of the skins natural oils. Because dry brushing also have the physical health benefit of exfoliation, some people love to shower right after to remove the dead/dry skink cells.

3. Connect with God.

I love adding a simple pray to my dry brushing routine. While it is up to you how you decide to connect with God, some easy ways include: thank God for part of your body you are brushing, praying while you reflect over your day or coming day and listening to or signing worship music.  

4. You can Either Spot Dry Brush or Do a Full-body Dry Brush.

I personally love just dry brushing the areas I carry stress (i.e., my neck and shoulders and where I receive comfort).  However, other people love to dry brush their entire body.  Both have benefits. Dry brushing benefits Pinterest Image

5. Follow the Lymphatic System.

Whether you decide to spot dry brush or do a full-body dry brush, it is crucial to brush in the same direction as the lymph moves (i.e., towards the heart).  

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that, like arteries and veins, run through your body, but instead of blood, they carry lymphatic fluid. The lymphatic system's role is to rid the body of toxins, waste, and other undesired elements. The lymphatic system also includes lymph nodes and white blood cells known as lymphocytes. The lymphatic system drains to the heart and then back into circulation, where it is filtered by the body.

So a sample full-body dray brush my include the below sequence.  In order to follow the lymphatic system, brush up the front of your leg to your thigh, starting at one of your feet with long strokes. Reach for the back of your leg and brush all the way up toward your lower back. Brush each area three times more before moving on to the opposite leg.

Then work your way up to your arms. Brush down from the wrist of one arm, proceeding downward along the inner arm and softly passing over the underarm and outer breast tissue while avoiding the areola. Then, from the back of the arm to the shoulders and neck, brush down. Rep on one side three times, then switch arms.

When you get to the stomach, some people advocate brushing in small circles lightly. That doesn't sit well with me, so I brush down from my neck, across my chest and sternum, and then up and across my abdomen. After you've finished, take a moment to close your eyes and feel the sensations you're having, breathing rhythmically and allowing the experience to bring you into body awareness.

6. Use the Right Pressure. 

Dry brushing should be relaxing. It is not meant to be painful or to cause skin damage. Avoid brushing over inflammatory or damaged skin. Although everyone's tolerance for pressure varies, medium is about as hard as you should go.

One way to to make sure you are using the right pressure is to think of it as a delicate sweeping of your skin instead of scrubbing. After brushing, your skin may be somewhat rosy, but there should be no burning, redness, or inflammation.  If there is pain, it is an indication you brush too hard.  Give you skin time heal and try again with less pressure. 

7. Incorporate Essential Oils.

I love the relaxing scent of lavender and jasmine; however, you may enjoy a different scent.  To help yourself relax, consider adding essential oils to your brushing routine.   To incorporate essential oils into your dry brushing routine, add 3-5 drops of the oil to the palm of your hand and glide the brush over your hand.  The use the brush as you normally would.  

Note: if you are looking for an essential oil company, check out our review of Simply Earth Essential Oil Company.

8. Take Time to Checkin. 

Whether you spend 30 seconds dry brushing or 30 minutest, include a checkin in your dry brush routine. Ask yourself how do your feeling in your body. take a few deep breath and just notice how you feel in the moment.  

9. Cleaning Your Brush.

In order to keep your brush clean and free from germs and bacteria, wash the brush every couple of weeks with soap and warm water. It is critical to keep your brush dry since humidity and moisture can promote the growth of hazardous bacteria and fungus. However, you do not want to use heat to dry it, instead let it air dry naturally.   When you are not using it, store the brush in a cool, dark place. You should also not share your toothbrush with anyone. This can reduce the chance of infection.

10. Make Sure You are Supporting Self-care with Other Practices.

Practicing dry brush therapy will only do so much if you are not spending time with God, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and taking good care of yourself. Be sure you check out out all of our mental health and self-care tips. If you are struggling to manage life, you can connect with a local Christian counselor or life couch by search our directory.

About the Author: 

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Corine Williams, Ph.D. is Clinical Psychologist that is currently seeing clients in the States of Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. You can find out more about her practice by visiting www.therapyforchristians.com/corinewilliams. In addition to providing individual therapy, Dr. Williams is also passionate about writing books and designing merchandise that educate, uplift, and normalize mental health subject in the Christian community. You can find out more about her at  www.booksbycorine.com or by visiting her amazon profile here:  https://www.amazon.com/Corine-Hyman/e/B00AWZ5FL2

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Disclaimer: the information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are looking for a Christian counselor near you, please check out our directory located here:  Christians Therapist Near Me




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