Skin Brushing DIY Lymph Drainage

Maui Bliss Spa dry brushing leg

DIY Lymphatic drainage - Dry Brushing?


Dry brushing is an Ayurvedic practice that has been practiced for centuries for both beauty and wellness purposes, in which you brush your full body with a body brush. The coarse bristles on the brush stimulate the pores and promote lymph flow to assist with the body’s natural detoxification process while exfoliating skin, as well as a whole other host of benefits.

Maui Bliss skin brush loofa

Benefits of Dry Brushing

Exfoliates the skin:  Dry brushing is my favorite form of body exfoliation because it’s a good multi-tasker. It will leave your skin soft, supple, and firm. Some people use it for exfoliating before shaving to help prevent razor bumps and ingrown hairs because it can unclog pores.


Give yourself the gift of self-care: during the busiest of days, you can look to your dry brushing routine to help you relax, take a second to breathe, and care for yourself.

Can increase circulation and helps treat cellulite: dry brushing can act as a form of lymphatic drainage massage (more on that below), which works with the circulatory system to get blood moving throughout the body. Studies have shown that improved circulation can be better for your skin.

Assists with the body’s natural detoxification process: the lymphatic system consists of lymph vessels, ducts, nodes, and other tissues, and is located underneath the skin. Your lymphatic system, functions as a kind of garbage disposal of the body: it gets rid of “waste” in the body, whether it’s toxins, bacteria, or excess fluid. The lymph is a collection of the extra fluid that moves through the arteries and tissues to clean them out, before draining them through the lymphatic system. Since there is no “pump” to push the lymph through the body, it relies on our muscle action to get the job done: dry brushing is said to work by moving the lymph to the lymph nodes to eliminate excess toxins and bacteria.

How Often Should You Dry Brush?

You should dry brush every single day. It only takes a few moments to do this for yourself. However for most people with busy lives that isn’t exactly always going to happen. Commit to adding dry brushing to your routine 2-3 times a week and see how it impacts your mood and skin.

Who Should Avoid Dry Brushing?

If you have extra sensitive skin, a skin condition such as eczema or psoriasis, or inflamed skin due to sunburn or allergy, dry brushing may irritate your skin and should be avoided. If you have an open wound, you should always skip over that area when you’re dry brushing. Also, talk to your doctor before dry brushing for lymphatic drainage for issues with the lymphatic system.

Maui Bliss natural bristle dry skin brush

How to Choose a Dry Brush

Finding a brush that give  you joy and inspires you to brush more often may make a splurge a lovely gift for your self care, but it isn’t necessary. You’ll want something that will stimulate the skin without being too rough. Boar bristles (or a vegan synthetic bristle alternative) is a great choice because it’s the right amount of stiffness without being too abrasive or hard on the skin. Loofas are popularly used for this, but even a rolled wash cloth can work in a pinch.

You can opt for a dry brush with or without a handle. I’ve found that a long handled bath brush is a great tool so you can dry brush hard to reach areas of your back. Some even come with a brush you can detach from the handle to make it easy for brushing hands, arms and chest.

skin brush with long handle bath brush

Steps to Dry Brush:

Dry brushing is most effective when it’s done on the entire body (you’ll need to take off your clothing).

It’s recommended to dry brush before you shower because you’ll be removing a lot of dead skin that you’ll want to wash off. I’ve found it’s best to dry brush in the morning because it can be invigorating and make you too awake before bedtime, but you can always try it at bedtime and see what works best for you.

Start at your feet and move upwards toward your heart. Your strokes will be a medium pressure that is firm but doesn’t hurt. It might take a few tries to get the movement down pat, but once you do, you’ll have no problem getting through your entire routine.

Apply light pressure where the skin is thin or sensitive and firm pressure on thicker areas like the bottoms of the feet.

Don’t rush. You’ll be using the brush on each area a few times, so don’t expect to make one pass and never overlap places you’ve already touched. This is a self-care practice after all, so enjoy it and take your time. Spend extra time on areas that tend to develop cellulite, like the inner thigh, and don’t forget to include the backs of the arms and the back

Do circular motions on your stomach and joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, ankles, etc.) in a clockwise direction. However, doing circular motions does make going around your stomach a lot easier and might feel better than doing the same long strokes you did on the other parts of your body.

Do long, stroking motions on the hands and arms just as you did with the legs. If you’re focusing on lymphatic drainage, you can pay extra attention to underneath the upper arm as there are multiple lymph nodes there.

Be gentle with the neck and chest. Since this is above your heart, you’ll go in a downward motion.

Finish with a few circular passes around the heart.

This chart shows the directions to dry brush your body.

DIY skin brushing chart


After you’ve finished Dry Brushing

You should follow your dry brushing routine with a shower and a moisturizer. Your skin will likely be a little sensitive, maybe red, and dry, so you’ll want to replenish that with a nice moisturizer or body oil. After bathing, while your skin is still damp—your  body oil will soak in faster and absorb easier!  I suggest applying about a ½ teaspoon of oil on each leg, ¼ oil teaspoon on each arm and 1 teaspoon on your torso.  Sunflower or coconut oil may be used or you might wish to try one of the Pavita body oils I've created for my spa. Blends for stress, rejuvenation, cellulite are available as is custom blending.Pavita skin care body oils  round dry brush







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