Why I dry brushMette Skjærbæk
My first experience of dry brushing
So there I was, aged 19, on my way down to Lower East Side in Manhattan, down to The Russian Baths, a place I loved to go to escape the hustle and bustle of New York.
I was working as a model in the metropolis of all metropolises and walking along the street was like being at a casting, so I loved the unpretentious Russian Baths on “women only days” – it was another world behind those closed doors.
It had such special, feminine feel to it in there. Women would potter about with just a towel tied around their waist, and the atmosphere was loving, non-judgemental and inspiring. That’s how I experienced it at least, and in many ways, it was a total contrast to the fashion industry that I was part of.
Women would kindly approach me every time I was there: “Hey, want half a grapefruit peel to exfoliate your thighs with?” – “Have you tried massaging your scalp with this oil?” – “Want a couple of homeopathic drops to calm your mind”, and so on.
One day, a woman passed me a dry brush and said, “Here, try it. It’ll wake up your body and you’ll never get cellulite if you use it regularly.”
It was a little odd at first, kind of like grooming a horse! I’ve always been prone to dry skin, and there was something really nice about brushing the skin – it felt gentle yet dynamic. I brushed one side of my body; the sole of my foot, leg, hip, buttock and arm. I was bowled over by how one side of my body felt tingly and alive while the other side felt quite different – flat – and almost “begging” for a go.
That was the day my gratefulness for dry brushing began, and it has continued ever since as a recurring daily ritual.
My daily morning ritual
Dry brushing is an ingrained ritual for me. It’s a respectful way to start the day –respectful to me.
When I get up, I make my beloved morning coffee and then head to the bathroom to “say good morning to my face and body” with the dry brushes. I’m convinced it affects me on many levels:
My nervous system /
In choosing to dry brush on busy mornings with children, packed lunches and “the school bell ringing”, I send my body and brain a clear mindful message that I am important, and that’s why I prioritize ME time.
I also think there’s a noticeable oxytocin effect (oxytocin is a love hormone) from touching the entire surface of the skin every day. With more and more people living alone, dry brushing could also have an important loving role to play here.
The nervous system is stimulated by the long, straight strokes in the primary neural pathways. The best bit is when I finally get to my neck and it gives me these amazing goosebumps all over my body.
My skin /
Dry brushing removes dead skin cells, and in the beginning, you will see the “dust” it creates when you brush. My need for body care products is drastically reduced in the periods when I brush daily.
The surface of the skin is improved, making the it firmer and more beautiful. And one of my biggest motivations for brushing is the fact that it prevents and combats cellulite.
The lymphatic system /
A good way of illustrating how the lymphatic system works, is to think of the human body and the lymphatic system as an aquarium filled with lukewarm sea water.
A well-cared-for aquarium is beautiful when the water pump and filter function are in tune with the needs of the fish and plants, but when the pump or filters clog, the water becomes cloudy. The entire aquatic habitat is compromised, and the fish die.
The body is like an aquarium, where the cells are dependent on a constant supply of oxygenated blood as well as fresh tissue fluid.
So, dry brushing is beneficial to the lymphatic system as it stimulates the vessels carrying lymph fluid underneath the skin, improving the flow.
My circulation /
Dry brushing feels most of all like how I feel after a dip in the cold ocean. My body is awakened and my mind is awakened. The mental shift from before I brush to after I brush is really noticeable. Both on my body, where the entire system is kick-started, and on my face, where puffy morning eyes and dull skin are transformed into glow and vitalitet.