dry brushing before sauna

If you’ve been into sauna culture for a while now, you might have already heard of a practice called dry brushing. It’s an ancient technique that’s recently entered the mainstream because of its various health benefits. So, how does this work, and how can you incorporate it into your sauna routine?

The Sauna Life has shared a comprehensive guide about dry brushing, how to do it, and what advantages you’ll enjoy. That way, you can turn this practice into a habit. Keep reading to learn more about the technique!

What is Dry Brushing? What Does Dry Brushing Involve?

Dry brushing is a technique that involves using a bristle brush on dry skin — no water, lotions, or other moisturizers or lubricating liquids. It’s an ancient technique used in civilizations like Egypt and India. In these cultures, dry brushing is part of rituals associated with self-care. It’s done before hot baths and cleansing rituals to prepare the skin and stimulate blood circulation. There are even some forms of dry brushing in the Greek, Chinese, Native American, and Scandinavian cultures.

Now, modern sauna users have adopted this practice to prepare for their sessions, whether they’re using traditional, dry, or infrared saunas. For around five minutes, they use the brushes to gently scrub the skin. The only places they avoid are sensitive areas near the eyes and the scalp.

Since it’s the body’s largest organ, the skin easily collects dead skin cells, dirt, and other substances that make us feel dirty. This is one way to remove all the grime, promote blood circulation, and open up the pores for sweating. Those are just some of the benefits of dry brushing.

Why Do People Dry Brush?

A dry brush before a bath, swimming, or spa session is a staple in most specialty spas and beauty facilities. Outside of the sauna culture, people enjoy a good dry brush for the following specific benefits:

Removes Dead Skin Cells

The dermis, the outermost layer of the skin, is constantly “shedding” dead skin cells. However, these can accumulate right on top of the skin. This causes a myriad of issues, like clogged pores and bacterial growth. Soon, these can turn into pimples, rough patches, and dry skin.

The abrasive action used for dry skin brushing helps scrub these dead cells. After each session, your skin will feel smoother and more supple. This is the new layer of cells trapped underneath the old one. If you dry brush regularly, you can enjoy smooth skin daily!

Stimulates Lymphatic System Drainage

One of the lesser-known benefits of dry brushing is its effects on the body’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system absorbs fats and toxins in the body. However, it doesn’t have a drainage system or pump like the circulatory system. So when more harmful substances are in the body, the lymphatic system can’t keep up. This can result in a weakened immune system.

Dry brushing pumps the lymph nodes by using circular motions. With this method, the toxins can better move through the lymph system before they gather on the lymph nodes. Then they’re drained from the body when we sweat.

May Reduce the Appearance of Cellulite

Cellulite is the uneven area of skin filled with fat cells. These usually appear on the thighs, buttocks, and hips. While cellulite is perfectly normal, many feel insecure about the appearance of dimpling skin.

Thankfully, many people who’ve tried dry brushing have reported that the practice helps reduce the appearance of cellulite. By exfoliating the skin and stimulating circulation, a dry brush helps even out the skin’s texture.

Improves the Overall Appearance of the Skin

Exfoliating the skin through regular dry brushing does wonder for your complexion. You’re also unclogging your pores as you get rid of dead cells. This helps in the production of sebum and eliminates dry skin. In addition, the new layer of skin is much smoother and softer. You’ll feel like a baby every time!

Why Should You Do Dry Brushing Before Sauna Session?

  • Opens Pores: People come to the sauna to sweat and relax, but you can’t do that effectively if your pores are blocked. Your sweat and the toxins from your lymphatic system can’t find their way out of your body effectively.
    With dry brushing, you can slough away the dead cells and open your pores. Removing all the dirt blocking the pores promotes the release of sweat. Add the fact that dry brushing stimulates lymphatic drainage, which enhances the detoxification process you’ll experience.
  • Removes Bad Bacteria: As mentioned, dead skin cells harbor bacteria underneath. These microorganisms cause infections that become pimples and acne. In addition, they irritate the skin and cause eczema and dermatitis flare-ups. Dry brushing exfoliates the skin, which helps you shed away these harmful microbes.
    More than helping you achieve healthier skin, removing harmful bacteria with dry brushing contributes to a better sauna experience. If everyone did it, the whole session would be more hygienic than ever — especially if you’re visiting a public sauna. You’ll feel confident knowing you’re sharing space with those who take safety and health seriously.
  • Helps You Get More Nutrients From the Sauna: One lesser-known benefit of an infrared sauna is that you can gain nutrients from it, specifically Vitamin D. This works the same way as sunlight. The lamps provide the same type of electromagnetic radiation that stimulates vitamin D production.
    Dry brushing helps remove any obstructions that can hamper how the skin absorbs the infrared rays. Since you’re removing the layer of dead cells, the heat can penetrate deeper and interact better with the proteins responsible for synthesizing vitamin D. With regular sauna sessions, you can enjoy more robust bones and reduced growth of cancer cells — the two main benefits of vitamin D.

How to Dry Brush

There are two parts to dry brushing. First is choosing the right kind of dry brush, and second is the techniques you should follow for maximum results:

  1. Choosing the Right Brush: We want to emphasize that the skin is still a sensitive organ, no matter how tough it may seem in some places. You want to use brushes that are easy enough and avoid scratching yourself. There’s also the kind of material you’ll use. While some synthetic fiber brushes are soft and gentle, they could irritate your skin. Some also have sharp ends that could result in microtears, weakening the skin barrier.
    Our advice is to use a dry brush with natural bristles. These are generally gentler on the skin, especially when made from materials like plant-based fibers or animal hair. If you’re unsure which size, material, or thickness to pick, the general rule is that the brush shouldn’t hurt. If the one you have is causing redness or unusual warming, then it’s better to switch to a softer one.
  2. Using the Correct Technique: There is no set rule for dry brushing. You can do whatever feels most comfortable, especially with your more delicate areas. However, there is one method to maximize dry brushing’s effects on the lymphatic system.
    It involves directing the brush strokes to the heart or inner thighs — two areas with major lymph nodes. You’ll want to start at your feet and move toward the inner thighs when brushing the lower body.
    For the upper body, start from the arms, using sweeping circular movements towards the heart. Use downward strokes for the head and neck. From the navel, use an upward motion towards the chest.

Contact The Sauna Life Today!

Dry brushing is one effective way to enhance your sauna experience. With this practice, you can remove the layer of dead skin cells and ensure that your pores aren’t blocked. The brushing technique also stimulates the circulatory system and the lymphatic system. All of these combine to help you remove the toxins in your system and renew your complexion.

For more details about infrared saunas, sauna techniques, and sauna benefits, get in touch with us today! We’re your number resource for all things sauna.