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Renew | January 28 2022


A Win For Skin

By Araxe Hajian

Dry Brushing + Abhyanga

I had never heard of dry brushing until I visited the Life in Balance Spa at Miraval Resorts and tried a treatment that included it.

It turns out dry brushing is a thing. It’s all the rage in the wellness world, and you can do it at home with one simple tool before you step into your morning shower.

It’s a great morning ritual on its own, but it’s even better when paired with a simple self-massage with oil called Abhyanga. I learned about this one-two punch in an introductory Ayurveda lecture offered by Clinton Horner. He established Miraval’s Ayurveda program over 20 years ago after studying at the Chopra Center in India.

Dry brushing is an invigorating technique that uses a dry, stiff-bristled brush to slough off dead skin, priming it to expel toxins and absorb moisturizer more efficiently. A dry brush might be too harsh for people like me with sensitive skin. Lucky for us, there are raw silk or silicon mitts that give you the same effect but don’t feel quite so prickly. If you prefer a traditional brush, look for medium to soft bristles made of natural materials like cactus or agave bristles called sisal.

Why dry?

Brushing your skin before it gets wet lets you exfoliate without depleting moisture the way a hot shower can. Additionally, it can increase circulation and stimulate the lymphatic system to get rid of toxins in the body.

Ayurveda uses a lot of Sanskrit words, which makes sense since it’s a system of healing first developed in ancient India.

Benefits of Dry Brushing & Abhyanga

  • Stimulates the lymphatic system
  • Expels toxins
  • Supports blood flow & circulation
  • Warms the body
  • Improves energy & mental alertness
  • Exfoliates the skin
  • Encourages cellular renewal
  • Revives skin tone & texture
  • Reduces muscle stiffness

Dry brushing and oil massage activate lymphatic drainage, which helps reduce symptoms like bloating, fatigue, sinus problems, and swelling. Our skin is our first line of defense against bacteria, and keeping it clean and clear helps it function better.

What’s so great about these morning routines? Dry brushing stimulates muscle fibers and keeps your skin toned and tight. Abhyanga (oil massage) hydrates your skin and stimulates it with a gentle touch. And on those cold, dark winter mornings, anything that helps me wake up and feel good is a good thing.

Pairing these two techniques is a winning recipe for smooth, hydrated, and radiant skin.  It can even make you feel like you’re glowing inside.

Let’s all start the day with a brush with greatness.

Did you know that the Sanskrit word for oil (sneha) is the same word for love? Self-massage is revered in Ayurveda. It’s an ancient practice that lets you envelop your body in oil while you surround it with love.

Look for oils with the following ingredients to suit your skin type.

  • Dry skin: Heavy oils like almond, sesame, or avocado oil.
  • Sensitive skin:  Neutral oils like ghee or sunflower oil.
  • Oily skin: Light oils like safflower, sweet almond, or flaxseed oil.

Miraval Aesthetician Kim Ryden recommends Laurel Sun Body Oil as a gentle oil suitable for all skin types.

*Dry brushing should be avoided by people with severely dry, irritated, or inflamed skin, eczema, or psoriasis.

Dry brushes and yellow flowers

6 tips for morning rituals that are a win for skin.

  1. Find a dry brush or glove that suits your skin.
  2. Stand in the shower with your brush in hand before turning on the water.
  3. Grip the head of the brush and massage your dry body in an upwards motion using light strokes, starting with your feet, moving to your calves, thighs, hips, and beyond.
  4. Hold the long arm of the brush to access harder-to-reach back areas.
  5. Warm a small amount of oil in your hands and massage into your body, using straight, long motions on your arms and legs and circular motions on your joints.
  6. Enjoy your shower. With the shower still running, clean your brush with soap and water.
Life in Balance Spa

Learn more about Miraval Resorts Life in Balance Spa and book a private session at Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa with Clinton Horner or Kim Ryden.