Upgrade Your Brush
You already know you need to use something natural rather than synthetic, but once you dig in a bit deeper, there are a whole slew of options that can benefit your body in different ways:
Copper brush: This variation on the common boar bristle brush has positively charged ions that are thought to boost skin circulation.
Sisal mitt: Like a loofah, this hemp fiber exfoliator is a gentler, less abrasive alternative.
Raw silk gloves: These gloves are gentle enough for all skin types and create static electricity that assists in circulating stagnant lymphatic fluid, according to Erin Casperson, an Ayurvedic Health Counselor at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.
Step Up Your Technique
Basic dry brushing methodology involves brushing toward the heart, but some advocate for slow, rhythmic strokes, while others advise shorter, brisker motions. Both have their time and place, accordingly to Casperson: Use the former technique if you are feeling emotionally unsettled and the latter if you’re in need of an energizing boost. When it comes to your stomach, use clockwise circular motions to improve digestion or, for maximum lymphatic benefit, brush upward above the belly button and downward toward your groin.
Create a Post-Brushing Ritual
Mastering the right technique is key, but what you do after is nearly as important. The ideal practice, says Casperson, is a self-massage using oil, called an Abhyanga. “Oiling will further stimulate lymphatic system function and ground the nervous system while nourishing the skin for a soft glow.” In colder weather, sesame oil, which improves circulation and helps remove toxins, is best; in warm weather, use coconut oil which exfoliates, stimulates collagen turnover, and protects against sun damage.