This is a transcription from Dr. Christianson’s recent show on “Reset Me With Dr. C”
Dry Brushing and Lotion – By Dr. Alan Christianson
Hey, there! Dr. Alan Christianson here, and I want to talk about a way to heal your adrenals that you may not have thought of. This is a good, easy, daily reset, using your skin. Your adrenal glands are affected by your nervous system. Your brain has a “fight or flight” response, which is affected by information coming from your senses and tactile nerves below the skin. At any given moment, you’re receiving millions of points of communication from every nerve ending under your skin to your brain. When you have relaxing, soothing, tactile input that’s stimulating the nerves in the right way, it calms your brain. It lowers the “fight or flight” response, diminishing the output of stress hormones. A couple of steps to make this happen are skin brushing and using good, skin moisturizers on a regular basis.
There are many benefits to this in terms of regulating your cortisol (so you can sleep better, lose weight easier and have the energy levels you want) and assimilating vitamin D more effectively. Proper amounts of vitamin D have been proven to cut the risk of over 17 cancers, keep your bones strong and your brain healthy. When you’re assimilating nutrients from your skin more effectively, diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are less common. If these benefits aren’t enough, you will also have better skin, and who doesn’t want that? When your skin looks healthy, you’re unconsciously judged as being healthier and more approachable. The skin is the outermost extension of our chemistry. By keeping it healthy, we keep our inner chemistry more stable, lowering our stress response.
For dry brushing, start with a natural bristle brush. This does a good job taking off the dead, outer skin layer without being too harsh and abrasive. Working in a circular motion with the brush, start at your feet, working upwards as you brush the whole body from toe to head. Be gentle on your face as the brush can be a bit more abrasive than is good for the face. Brush in this order (from toe to head) before rinsing and bathing.
The next step is bathing in the shower or tub. While bathing, it’s healthier to minimize the use of soap, only using it where it’s essential. Our skin makes oils which allow us to not only have a good defense against infection, but also form vitamin D. When you use soap where you don’t need it, these natural oils can be removed. This is counterproductive to your health.
After you’re finished bathing, you want to massage your skin with good oil. This has long been a part of Ayurvedic medicine and yogic traditions. They had a ritual, called abhyanga, meaning “self-massage”. Massage reduces the stress load, heals the body and helps circulation. Doing it yourself is a good way to become aware of any changes in your body, the health of your skin and all your connective tissues.
When choosing products to care for your skin, you want to be at least as fussy as you are about the foods you put inside your mouth. Your skin is a very absorptive layer of lipids, so what you put on it goes directly into your bloodstream. Honestly, what you eat has more of a chance of breaking down and changing inside the body than what you put on your skin. There are many skin products that have weird chemicals and preservatives. You wouldn’t eat that stuff. I am a big fan of the Radiant Skin Silk (by Annmarie Gianni), and it actually tastes like a dessert! It is made from sunflower oil, aloe and a variety of good herbs like calendula and comfrey. It’s rich in some unique polysaturates that reduce oxidative damage, fine lines and wrinkling and some of the cross-linking that can lead to cellulite. So, use skin products you wouldn’t be afraid to eat that also soothe the skin and cause it to repair quickly.
By regularly dry brushing your skin and massaging it with good lotion, you’ll be amazed how much your stress levels go down, sleep improves and weight loss becomes easier.
We’ve been told the only way to reach our health goals is by struggling, starving or pushing ourselves beyond what we’re used to, but this is not right. It is more a matter of calming, soothing and healing the body. I can think of no better way than being good to your outer surface. Get rid of the old skin layers, heal it and seal it. Keep it supple and healthy.
Take great care of yourselves, and we will talk again real soon.