Dry Brushing

Detoxification is performed by a number of organs, glands, and transportation systems, including the skin, gut, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and mucous membranes. The dry brushing technique deals with detoxification of the skin.

Dry brushing is a way to stimulate all the above organs of detoxification because it provides a gentle internal massage.  Dry Brushing was recommended by the Finnish Dr. Paavo Airola for his patients 30 years ago and is still popular in European spas and many cancer treatment centres today. The Russians, Turks and Scandinavians have used this treatment for centuries. Dry brushing is promoted as a preventative for dry skin and a way to exfoliate the skin, thus stimulating skin renewal that is super soft to the touch, but there are many other benefits as well.  See Dry Brushing  – Table 1

Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing

See Dry Brushing – Table 2

1. Dry brushing removes cellulite. 

Cellulite is a non-scientific term defined as toxic deposits of subcutaneous fat material and fibrous tissue that are not able to be eliminated and which cause a dimpling effect on the overlying skin. These deposits most commonly occur on the thighs and hips of women. Cellulite can affect men and women of any body weight or size. What causes the toxins? It is suggested that we store the breakdown product of cells as toxins in this subcutaneous tissue.

2. Dry brushing cleans the lymphatic system.   

Lymph is considered part of our immune system – consisting of lymphocytes and the interstitial fluid that bathe our cells, bringing our cells nutrients and removing their waste. All detoxification occurs first and foremost through the lymph. Our bodies contain far more lymph than blood, so you can see how important this might be. Dr. Paavo Airola maintains that dry brushing is an essential part of any intestinal cleansing and healing program.

Dry brushing literally moves the lymph containing large proteins and particulate matter that cannot be transported in any other way back into circulatory system. If these proteins stayed in our systems outside the blood vessels, it would attract other fluid. The result would be swollen ankles, limbs and eventually lymphedema and is why most health programs include some type of exercise and body work.

The lymph vessels have their own pumping mechanism sensing when the vessels have more fluid in them or in the interstitial fluids. Lymph flows in one direction due to the many one-way valves on the insides of each lymph vessel.  The one way-valve system allows the lymph to be pumped back to the heart. Removal of proteins from the interstitial spaces is an essential function. Without this we would die within 24 hours.  We can help speed this process up when we dry brush or massage toward the heart, contract our muscles and move our bodies (as when we walk or exercise.)  Increased lymph flow can also be caused by high blood pressure.   

3. Dry brushing removes dead skin layers.  

Dry skin brushing helps shed dead skin cells, which can help improve skin texture and cell renewal. Dry skin is a sign of detoxification. Therefore, it’s important to allow the process to continue by removing the dead skin daily. If this does not occur, the result could be eczema, psoriasis, and dandruff.

4. Dry brushing strengthens the immune system. 

Dry skin brushing may reduce duration of infection and accelerate the clearing of toxins. It helps support the immune system during cancer and other chronic illness treatment. By stimulating the lymph vessels to drain toxic mucoid matter into organs of detoxification we can purify the entire system. After several days of dry brushing, sometimes you may notice a gelatinous mucoid material in your stools. This is a normal sign that the intestinal tract is renewing itself.

5.  Dry brushing stimulates the hormone and oil glands

Thus helping all of the body systems perform at peak efficiency. The skin is your body’s largest organ. When improperly maintained, the elimination duties of the skin are forced upon the kidneys.   Chemical analysis of sweat shows that it has almost the same constituents as urine.  If the skin becomes inactive, its pores choke with millions of dead cells, uric acid and other impurities which will remain in the body putting extra stress on the liver and kidneys.  People with big hips and thighs usually have low-grade bladder infections. Another sign of this is that the body gives off a distinct sickening odour. When the bladder and kidney are really sick, the calves are often swollen as well and the feet have a distinct strong odour. Bathe daily and do a dry brushing before the bath to help stimulate blood flow to the surface so that toxins can more easily escape.

6. Dry Brushing tightens the skin

By increasing the flow of blood which, in turn moves toxins and lessens the appearance of cellulite. Our bodies make a new top layer of skin every 24 hours – skin brushing removes the old top layer, allowing the clean new layer to come to the surface, resulting in softer, smoother skin.

7. Dry Brushing tones the muscles.

Dry skin brushing helps muscle tone by stimulating the nerve endings which causes the individual muscle fibres to activate and move. It also helps mobilize fat and helps to even distribution of fat deposits. This is a great technique for invalids who can’t exercise.

8. Dry brushing stimulates circulation.  

Our skin breathes! And yet, in most people, this vital route of detoxification is operating far below its capacity, because it is clogged with dead skin cells and the un-removed waste excreted through perspiration. Dry skin brushing increases circulation to skin, encouraging your body’s discharge of metabolic wastes. Increased blood flow begins entering the areas brushed and you will experience an increase in electromagnetic energy that permits you to feel energized and invigorated. By activating the circulation, you can also prevent varicose veins.

9. Dry brushing improves the function of the nervous system.

Dry skin brushing rejuvenates the nervous system by stimulating nerve endings in the skin.

10. Helps digestion.

Dry skin brushing helps your skin to absorb nutrients by eliminating clogged pores. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health. When you brush, the pores of your skin open allowing your skin to absorb nutrients and eliminate toxins. Clogged pores are not just a cosmetic concern. Healthy, breathing skin contributes to overall body health.

What You Need to Do Dry Brushing

To dry brush, use a soft natural fibre brush with a long handle, so that you are able to reach all areas of your body. One with a removable head with a strap for your hand is a good choice.  A loofah sponge or a rough towel can also be used.

Most nylon and synthetic fibre brushes are too sharp and may damage skin although I found a softer bath brush with nylon bristles that seems to do the trick. The important thing is to find something that is just right for your skin. Once your skin becomes “seasoned,” you can switch to a coarser brush.

Tips When Dry Brushing:  

  1. Always dry brush your dry and naked body before you shower or bathe because you will want to wash off the impurities from the skin as a result from the brushing action.
  2. You can do the brushing head-to-toe or toe-to-head.  It really doesn’t matter as long as the entire body is brushed. Long sweeping strokes starting from the bottom of your feet upwards, and from the hands towards the shoulders, and on the torso in an upward direction help drain the lymph back to your heart.
  3. Note: Stroking away from your heart puts extra pressure on the valves within the veins and lymph vessels and can cause ruptured vessels and varicose veins.
  4. Use light pressure in areas where the skin is thin and harder pressure on places like the soles of the feet. 
  5. Skin brushing should be performed once a day, preferably first thing in the morning. A thorough skin brushing takes about 15 minutes, but any time spent brushing prior to bathing will benefit the body. If you are feeling ill, increasing the treatments to twice a day is good. You can also dry brush areas of cellulite five to 10 minutes twice a day to achieve cellulite dissolving but the technique needs to be done consistently for a minimum of five months.
  6. Avoid sensitive areas and anywhere the skin is broken such as areas of skin rash, wounds, cuts, and infections. Also, never brush an area affected by poison oak or poison ivy.
  7. Finish up with your regular shower and ending with three hot and cold cycles. That means turning on the water as hot as you can take it for several seconds, then as cold as you can handle it, then hot, then cold for three cycles. End with either hot or cold. This will further invigorate the skin and stimulate blood circulation, bringing more blood to the outer layers of the skin.
  8. After getting out of the shower, dry off vigorously and massage your skin with pure plant oils such as olive, avocado, apricot, almond, sesame, coconut or cocoa butter. Add a little Castor oil to the mix if you have arthritis. Edgar Cayce says this works to take out some of the pain, and we’ve found that to be true over the years.
  9. Clean your skin brush using soap and water once a week. After rinsing, dry your skin brush in an open, sunny spot to prevent mildew.
  10. Any well designed program will take about 30 days to see and experience the changes. Please be patient and keep up the program! 
  11. For a thorough lymphatic cleansing, perform skin brushing daily for a minimum of three months.

DBM Protocol – Adjunct Therapy – Dry Brushing

Special Equipment

  • Soft bristle body brush


  • Brush your dry body before you shower or bathe, preferably in the morning.
  • Start at your feet and always brush toward your heart. Use brisk circular motions or long, even strokes.
  • Brush all the way up your legs, then over your abdomen, buttocks, and back. If you have cellulite on your hips and thighs, concentrate there a little longer.  
  • For resolving cellulite, brush for 10 minutes daily for several months.
  • Brush lightly on sensitive areas like breasts and more firmly on areas like soles of the feet.
  • When you reach your arms, begin at your fingers and brush up your arms, toward your heart.
  • Brush your shoulders and chest down, always toward your heart.
  • Avoid brushing anywhere the skin is broken or where you have a rash, infection, cut or wound.
  • Finish by taking a shower and if you choose, use cold/hot therapy to further stimulate the lymphatic system and improve circulation.
  • Dry off vigorously and massage pure plant oils into your skin such as almond, sesame, avocado, coconut, olive or cacao butter.
  • Wash your brush every few weeks in water and allow it air dry.

The Hot Towel Alternative

A hot towel scrub is an easy and absolutely free way to support your detox plan and experience similar benefits to dry skin brushing. All you need is a sink, hot water and a washcloth. Daily hot towel scrubbing helps to open your pores, promote circulation and release stored toxins. This simple technique also encourages fat, mucous, cellulite and toxins to discharge through your skin rather than accumulating around deeper vital organs.

Special Equipment

  • Hot Hand Towel


  • Wipe your skin first with a dry towel to remove dead cells, and then use the hot wet towel to stimulate and rejuvenate your skin and organs.
  • Scrubbing your underarms and groin will especially activate your lymphatic system.

For more information – visit: Manual Lymph Drainage

Rebounding is an excellent way to promote lymph drainage – which is another advantage of dry brushing.