Dry Brushing: the evidence for this trendy practice
Have you jumped on the bandwagon of dry brushing? I see ladies talking about dry brushing as if it’s the new miracle treatment, and as a physical therapist, I just don’t understood the hype. Sure it feels good to be brushed. Ever since I was a little girl, I’d jump out of the shower, wrap in a towel, and run to my mom. Well beyond the age when I could dry myself and comb my hair, I cherished this time together. I wanted my mom to brush my hair, all the way down to my waist, even though my hair stopped at my shoulders. I believe the real benefit of dry brushing comes from the act of self CARE, self LOVE, and self-TOUCH. The stimulation of touch receptors lights up our nervous system, making us feel good, relax, and think happy thoughts. (like thoughts of my Mom brushing my hair). But does it really do all these other things (like detox, drain lymphatics and decrease cellulite) that the social media health gurus claim?
At the time of this writing, there is no reputable scientific evidence to support any of these claims. But is it physiologically plausible that it could be helpful? The opinions are mixed. According to the Cleveland Clinic website, dry brushing can be helpful in its mechanical effects by exfoliating the skin, promoting lymph circulation, and stimulating the nervous system through touch. Paul Jarrod Frank, MD, a cosmetic dermatologist in NY, believes that the skin needs no help of a dry brush to whisk away toxins to the liver. He agrees that the act of dry brushing, like a massage, could stimulate lymphatic drainage and increase circulation in the area being touched. And when it comes to cellulite, experts agree that there is absolutely no evidence in the literature to confirm that dry brushing aids the appearance of cellulite. The temporary improvement in the appearance of the skin is the same for any type of massage or treatment that brings blood to the surface, plumping it up and smoothing out the dimples, long enough for you to take an “after” selfie.