Which Direction Do You Brush?

Dry brushing has numerous proven benefits, from increasing circulation to improving the skin’s appearance by stimulating cell renewal. It can also help eliminate pesky problems like ingrown hairs and clogged pores.

But not everyone agrees on exactlyhow dry brushing should be done, especially when it comes to an approach known as “brushing toward the heart.”

The theory behind brushing toward the heart is that by making long, sweeping strokes in the direction of the heart, you are working with the body’s lymph flow. The lymphatic system, which helps to rid the body of toxins and waste, only travels in one direction, up toward the neck. (You can learn more about the lymphatic system’s role here: https://youtu.be/kjLwVqxwaIM.)

People who espouse the “brush toward the heart” method typically brush the entire body, starting with the feet and moving upward. They believe this is best for circulation and for the lymph system’s performance.

However, there is an opposing camp (of course!) that believes if the lymph passages are clogged, you might be working against your body’s natural process by brushing toward the heart. In this case, the concern is that if there were a blockage, you would be encouraging more toxins to head directly to the area of build-up.

Instead, these brushers tend to start with smaller, softer strokes near the upper part of the body, around the collarbone, to stimulate the lymph drainage region first. People who subscribe to this method will sometimes reference the steps used during a lymphatic drainage massage.

This type of massage is often used by patients who have undergone surgery that involves the lymph nodes. If the lymphatic system has been affected by a medical procedure, massage is one strategy some doctors recommend to temporarily assist the body in draining toxins and waste.

However, it’s important to note that a healthy lymphatic system doesn’t really need a helping hand according to most medical professionals. The system uses the body’s natural movements to keep the drainage flow going.

That means that in the end, the direction in which you dry brush may not play such a significant role, but the motion and pressure you use certainly do. You always want to take care to do what’s right for your skin to avoid unwanted results such as skin irritation or even abrasions, so don’t overdo it.

You should also adjust your movements when you approach the more tender areas in the upper half of the body, such as the abdomen and chest. Perhaps most importantly, be sure to use a high-quality bath brush that will help you reap all the benefits of exfoliation without causing any damage.

Do you have a brushing ritual you swear by? Give us your take by leaving a comment.