DECIDING WHETHER TO DRY BRUSH BEFORE OR AFTER SAUNA SESSIONS
Did you know sauna sessions involve a fair amount of preparation? Some rituals make the sauna more mindful and immersive, from heating the sauna to showering before a sauna. Dry brushing is one such practice that stands as a simple, time-honored technique.
The benefits of dry brushing amplify when you combine it with a traditional sauna session, but if you're new to this technique, you might wonder whether you should dry brush before or after a sauna session. We put this debate to rest by taking a deep dive into this question.
Dry Brushing in a Sauna: An Ancient Therapeutic Ritual
Dry brushing and massage treatments have a lot in common. The main difference is that dry brushing employs a brush to exfoliate the skin in gentle, upward strokes. The nice thing about dry brushing is it isn't some new-fangled approach to skin care. Its origins can be traced back to antiquity.
Dry brushing was used as a legitimate skin-enhancing ritual for thousands of years by many cultures, including:
In Indian Ayurveda, dry brushing is known as 'Garshana,' which roughly translates to "generating friction by rubbing." Besides sloughing off dirt from your skin, it helps improve circulation. The result? Baby-soft skin, among others.
In recent years, dry brushing has made its way into the realm of mainstream beauty treatments. Some A-list celebs and a handful of Victoria's Secret models swear by this beauty routine. When paired with a sauna session, it becomes a potent tool for maintaining good skin health.
Let's consider when and how you can use dry brushing with your sauna sessions.
The Great Debate: Should You Dry Brush Before or After a Sauna?
The debate about dry brushing before or after a sauna has a simple conclusion. Dry brushing before a sauna session provides more substantial benefits than dry brushing afterward. Why, you ask?
It is customary to follow up a massage with a sauna session. Dry brushing works similarly. It mirrors the benefits of a massage by opening our pores and making them responsive to the heat a sauna produces.
Dry brushing also exfoliates our skin, clearing it of impurities such as:
Let's understand some of the other benefits of dry brushing before a sauna in detail:
Dry brushing sloughs these toxins off your skin, revealing a fresh layer of skin ready for treatment. Basking in the sauna after dry brushing extends this detoxification process.
Facilitates Lymphatic Drainage
Dry brushing is believed to aid lymphatic drainage, although further research is needed to support this theory. Our body's lymphatic system sweeps out "cellular sewage" and helps battle infections.
Signs of a sluggish lymphatic system include:
Fluid retention under the eyes
Blisters or boils
If you have any of these conditions, dry brushing before a sauna session can do wonders for your skin and body. It improves blood circulation, which helps the lymphatic system drain all skin waste. Following this with a sauna session can result in soft skin and a radiant complexion.
Sitting in a sauna is already calming, so you may wonder how dry brushing before a sauna will help. Think of dry brushing as an enabler in preparing your body to relax in the sauna. Gently exfoliating your body has a meditative effect. It also helps ease muscle stress, inducing a relaxed state.
While there hasn't been sufficient research on dry brushing, it has become a simple and non-threatening self-care habit. Regular sauna goers believe this ritual can be a game-changer if done right. Let's go over how to dry brush correctly.
The Right Way to Dry Brush Before a Sauna
Just as the right sauna temperature helps you make the most of your experience, the right dry brushing technique will affect your therapeutic outcome. Let's start by exploring how to choose the best dry brush for you.
Pick the Right Brush
Dry brushing is a simple task needing no fancy equipment. All you need is a reliable, skin-friendly brush. Make sure to use a brush made specifically for this purpose. Otherwise, you risk developing dry, cracked skin, or a rash.
Many online businesses and health stores sell various types of dry brushes. Examine their specifications to find one that best meets your needs and budget. A brush with natural bristles is ideal.
Natural bristle brushes are typically made from:
Plant fibers – like cactus or agave
Some others are made from non-vegan materials like boar, goat, or horse hair. These are lighter and softer than plant-based substitutes. If you're new to dry brushing, we recommend starting with softer bristles and gradually progressing to firmer bristles.
The brush handle is another consideration when choosing brushes. Brushes come with both long and short handles. Others come without any handles at all. If you need to reach your back or cannot bend, opt for a brush with a longer handle. Brushes with bamboo handles provide a gentler grip.
Avoid cross-contamination by using separate brushes for your face and body. Because facial skin is sensitive, your face brush should be softer. A portable brush that fits in your palm and has a thin strap at the back is ideal.
No matter what brand of brush you use, make sure the bristles are not too hard. Dry brushing with hard bristles can do more harm than good. It can cause skin abrasions, rashes, and cracked skin. Furthermore, exposing your skin to the sauna can cause a burning sensation.
Dry Brushing Steps
Dry brushing is meant to be therapeutic. Don't stress too much about the rules; try to enjoy this experience as much as possible.
The golden rule of dry brushing is to brush upwards rather than downwards. This technique ensures proper blood circulation.
You can start by brushing the bottom of your feet. This may tickle, but you'll get used to it. Move to the back of your heel in circular motions. Brush upward from here, focusing on one leg at a time.
Continue brushing in a circular motion until you reach your torso. As you get up near your neck and shoulders, use upward strokes. Don't forget to brush your back. For your arms, brush in a sweeping, upward motion toward your shoulder.
Pro tip: When you're in the sauna, add Himalayan Salt to the heater stones to prolong relaxation and enhance blood circulation.
Do's and Don'ts of Dry Brushing
Avoid dry brushing these areas:
1. Wounds, skin lesions, rashes, or infections
2. Blisters, moles, or warts
Also, avoid dry brushing if you suffer from skin conditions like eczema or psoriasis. Please consult your doctor before proceeding.
You should also avoid applying too much pressure to the skin while dry brushing. Dry brushing before a sauna is meant to be a calming process, so use gentle movements instead of violently rubbing your skin. It is also not advisable to brush the same area twice.
While you can dry brush in a sauna, doing so in a shared sauna can hinder sauna etiquette.
Instead, aim for a quick dry brush in private before heading to the sauna. If you're wearing a towel or swimsuit in the sauna, you can continue dry brushing your legs and arms so long as it doesn't disturb others.
Are There Advantages to Dry Brushing After a Sauna?
Dry brushing after a sauna defeats the purpose. Your pores are open, and your skin is moist after a sauna session. Brushing your body after this can cause any residual dirt to absorb into the skin and cause acne or other skin problems.
FAQs About Dry Brushing Before Sauna
How Often Should I Dry Brush?
There are no hard-and-fast rules to how often you should dry brush. You can do it as often as you'd like, so long as your skin feels soothed and there are no adverse effects.
Can Anyone Dry Brush?
Dry brushing benefits anyone who wants to feel relaxed and get softer skin. However, people with skin conditions must avoid or postpone dry brushing until they receive treatment.
Does Dry Brushing Have Any Drawbacks?
Dry brushing has drawbacks only when done incorrectly. Brushing too vigorously or frequently, for example, can irritate your skin.
Dry Brushing in a Sauna: A Summary
Timing is an essential part of a sauna session. There are many do's and don'ts to follow, from choosing the right time for a sauna to timing workout sessions around a sauna. Similarly, the benefits of dry brushing manifest when you do it at the right time.
It is best to dry brush before entering a sauna. It unclogs your pores, making them more receptive to the effects of a sauna. However, dry brushing isn't a quick fix. Practice it regularly to reap its benefits.
Nothing beats the freedom of dry brushing in your private sauna. A private sauna has many advantages, so consider investing in one if you're committed to sauna-focused health. Browse My Sauna World's collection of traditional saunas to choose the right one for you.
Feel free to reach out to us for more details. Our team will help you select the ideal sauna for your needs.
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