I love it when I get to share testimonials. In light of the Dry Skin Brushing Challenge I am hosting for the month of March, I plan to share a few posts of people’s experiences with it. Today I am bringing to you a post by Joy at Liberated Kitchen. Joy has been on the GAPS diet and has been learning a lot about healing habits to incorporate into her life. Today she shares her own experience and success with dry skin brushing.
Here’s a confession… I’ve never believed in detox protocols. Every time a friend told me they were doing some sort of “detox,” I cringed. Maybe I’d just seen one too many two week fad diets come around to take the concept seriously. However, after spending the better part of a year gluten-free and on GAPS, I was starting to come around to the idea. GAPS includes a detoxification protocol, and while I haven’t done all of it, I did experience a lot of positive changes.Then I tried a gluten challenge so that I could get tested for celiac disease. I had plenty of symptoms, including dry, flaky, nasty skin. Worst of all, by the smell of me it was pretty clear my body had been trying to get something out of my system!My naturopath suggested dry skin brushing to help me detoxify and heal from my gluten experience. I couldn’t see what it would hurt, so I decided to give it a try. About six weeks later, I’m still at it! I can’t say whether my system has detoxed because of it, but I can say it feels great. It helps me wake up in the morning, which is something I have a hard time with. And best of all, dry skin brushing reduces my sensory issues!
Sensory Integration Issues
See, I’m the sensitive sort. When something is irritating me, it’s all I can think about. I notice it over and over again until it is fixed. Here are some of the things that typically drive me right to the edge:
- Layers of clothes that don’t line up
- Socks that are a little baggy
- Blankets that are not perfectly centered and lined up over me, wrinkled sheets, and light blankets
- The weight of hoods hanging behind me
- Twisted straps of clothes
- Feeling water on my face and hands
There are a million more, but I imagine you get the idea. I’m also sensitive to sounds, smells, and sights, but those don’t seem as impacted by the brushing.Something about the stimulation of dry brushing helps me with these sensations. I don’t notice them nearly as much, which makes me a lot more relaxed and comfortable. I’m not the only one! It turns out that brushing is part of the Wilbarger protocol that people use to help autistic children and children with sensory processing disorder. This protocol is not focused on the detox effects of dry skin brushing, so it is not concerned about working with the lymphatic system or using natural bristles. They perform brushing with more pressure, frequently throughout the day. The idea is that this repeated, somewhat intense stimulation reduces tactile defensiveness. I’ve found that even with lighter pressure and natural bristles, my tactile defensiveness is much improved. I’m sticking to all natural bristles and the detox method, though. I’m glad to have stumbled into something so easy, non-invasive, and effective!
How I Do It
For about $5 I got a natural bristle brush with a long handle, so I could reach all parts of my body with it. Every morning before my shower, I brush each part of my body. I start with the bottoms of my feet, then work up my calves and legs. Then I do my belly and back, arms, and shoulders. In general, the strokes go toward the heart – that’s the direction the lymph system flows. But when close to the groin and armpit, I brush toward them, since there are a lot of lymph nodes in those areas. I just go straight down the back. In each area, I brush at least seven times, so that all of my skin except my face gets brushed. I am gentler in more sensitive areas. The whole routine just takes a couple minutes. I’m not great at remembering to do the same thing every day, so I didn’t think I had much hope of sticking with it. But so long as my brush is hanging right there by the shower, I do it! Brushing is such a good start to the day that I haven’t had any trouble remembering. When I wake up feeling particularly nasty, I really look forward to it! After I brush, I take a shower, alternating hot and cold water. It’s an invigorating way to start the day.
Be sure to go check out Joy at her site, The Liberated Kitchen
and on Twitter