The History of the Body Brush

 
The history of the body brush

My passion and connection towards daily rituals and self-care is a place I have found strength and grounding over the years. Beauty rituals have existed for thousands of years and have made their way into the modern world. Lately, I have been diving deeply into the ancient rituals around beauty and self-care. 

Maybe it’s the goddess energy that draws me to this. Who knows? 

Queen of beauty, Cleopatra intrigued many men and women for centuries. She is one of the most famous figures of ancient times; known for goddess like beauty, Cleopatra was rumoured to use gold face masks to preserve the her surreal beauty and flawless complexion. One of her daily rituals involved practicing self-love, the way forward I believe! 

Cleopatra had the most luminous, glowing skin. One of her rituals was to bathe in milk and honey to exfoliate. An example of an ancient ritual one culture used for skin therapy. I’m sure bathing in milk doesn't really appeal to many, so let me interest you in some unique rituals ancient cultures used to brush the skin for beauty and health. 

Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, desire and beauty, created a beauty ideal among Greek women. This goddess symbolised true femininity and grace, which perhaps influenced the Greek’s prestigious, ancient beauty rituals. Both honey and olive oil were used in many cosmetic and anti-ageing preparations which helped to lighten the appearance of skin. 

Dry body brushing has existed in cultures for centuries, it has been used in ancients times to keep the body healthy and has now made its way back into popularity. 

Dry body brushing or skin therapy for beauty and health have been used by almost all historical civilisations including the ancient Egyptians, Indians, Greeks and Romans, Chinese, Japanese, Scandinavians, Russians, Turks and Native Americans. 


In health there is freedom. Health is the first of all liberties
— - Henri-Frederic Amiel 1828-1881

The Ancient Egyptians were the pioneers of an authentic concept of beauty and extraordinary beauty rituals. They were said to have used the dry body brushing technique going back thousands of years; exfoliating with sour milk and wine.

Ayurveda is the science of life and India’s 5,000 year old holistic health care system. I get most excited about The Ayurvedic use of dry body brushing (a practice called Gharsana). Where it has been said the health obsession started, then later became a staple of the French spa-going set. 

The Russians, Turks and Scandinavians have used the body brushing method for centuries. This ancient tradition played a central role in Japanese bath rituals and skin care also.  

The Traditional Chinese version of this method uses the dried fibres of a gourd fruit called silk squash, known as loofah in the West.  

The Ancient Greeks and Romans used strigils (a crazy looking instrument with a curved blade), to remove dirt, sweat and oil before they bathed. The famous ancient physician Aristotle – the Father of Medicine was said to be a fan of the strigils. 

More than 30 years ago, Finnish nutritionist and naturopathic physician Paavo Airola  used dry brushing to detoxify and even cure his patients of certain ailments. The way dry brushing was done then and the way it's done now is more or less the same, except that back then sand, sticks, and even rocks were used for dry exfoliation of the skin.

If you haven't yet caught onto the buzz of dry body brushing, or perhaps see it as another one of those “wellness fads” I hope this has inspired you to give this age old practice a try. From experience, dry body brushing daily has changed not only the look and feel of my skin, but it supports my inner health and gives me an extra burst of energy everyday. 

Shine on! 

 

 

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