A2Z Holistic Self-care: B is for Brush

B is for Brush

Body: Brush your hair, your teeth and your skin

I’d imagine for most of us, brushing (or combing) our hair and our teeth is a daily routine. But is it really an issue of self-care?

I’m not one to care much about how my hair looks. I’ve been a wash-n-wear type my entire life – except for a few blips when I tried a few specialty haircuts and colored my hair for about 3 years, when I was in a top admin position in education. But really, I am the seldom get a hair-cut type.

When I’m feeling scruffy or out-of-sorts in the course of my day, a good brush of my hair and teeth helps me feel fresh and clean. A fresh start.

But brushing skin – is that a thing?

Years ago, when I was about 28 and living in Hong Kong, my body began to fall apart. After several visits to the European doctor, I made a visit to a natural medicine doctor. Among many detoxifying tools the doctor recommended, one very simple one was – skin brushing.

According to this doctor, the skin is one of the major systems the body uses to rid itself of toxins.

His remedy:

  • before showering
  • using a natural bristle brush
  • begin from the feet
  • brush in small circular motion
  • up each leg to the hips and buttocks, front and back of torso, from the fingertips to the shoulders, the neck and the face.

(I always reserve a separate brush for my face and neck.)

Your skin will turn a bit pink in the process, but this stimulates circulation and opens the follicles to release toxins as you shower.

Will you try it?

Mind: Brush up on a talent/skill that has faded

In 1993, when I returned to the U.S. from seven years living in Asia – I was thinking and dreaming in Cantonese. I sometimes forgot how to say certain words and phrases in English. Over the phone, I was proficient enough that when I spoke Mandarin many people thought I’d been raised speaking Cantonese and vice versa. At one point, I stood in a train station translating for a native of China and a native of Hong Kong because they couldn’t communicate with one another. I loved speaking Chinese!

I tell this story because yesterday as I completed an online professional profile, one of the questions asked if I had “fluency in any of the following languages” – and one of them was Mandarin or Cantonese.

And I couldn’t click the box! I was disappointed. I’ve lost what – at one point in my life – was very important to me!

I’ve been itching to ‘refresh’ my language skills – now I’m thinking it could be part of my self-care. I’ll see how it goes this April.

Do you have a skill that used to be important to you that you’ve let go of? Will it do you good to ‘refresh’ it?

Spirit: Brush away negative thoughts

As you brush your hair and skin and brush up on your forgotten skill or talent – remember that negative thoughts can wreak havoc on your well-being.

But we cannot completely control the thoughts that pop into our head. We can, however, brush them away.

We can become aware of the thought – thank it for any purpose it serves in keeping us from not being grounded in reality – and brush it along if it does not serve us. We don’t need to fight them or beat ourselves up about them.

Acknowledge them and brush them away with a positive thought, a prayer, a routine that helps you to move beyond the negative thought towards your deepest desire.

Have you ever brushed your skin? Will you try it? Do you have a skill or talent you’d like to brush up on? Do you have a trick that helps you brush away negative thoughts when they sneak in?


  1. I have heard of body brushing but have never done it. Yes, I will give it a try. It sounds like something that will help the body heal itself, faster and better, and who isn’t for that happening!

    I need to find a good body brush – any recommendations for a supplier, Janet?



    • Deb – you got me there. Not being much of a shopper, I usually just go to Amazon and find what’s cheap. Sorry I can’t be more helpful in that. So glad you’re going to try it out! Thanks for joining the conversation!


  2. Janet, I have heard of body brushing and had it done at a spa once. I still have that brush somewhere! But the one that intrigued me even more (and I needed to hear today for sure) was brush away negative thoughts. Oh yes, I need that right now! Thank you.


    • Pat – glad my ‘brush away’ was good for you today. When we sent out these reflections into cyberspace it is difficult to know what will resonate. Keep that mental brush handy! Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. My daughter, just taught me about skin brushing for circulation. I used to get really bad restless legs and arms but since brushing my skin … I don’t. This condition has plagued me for years and I’ve tried everything short of narcotics in the past. I’m amazed and so grateful for the wisdom out there. The simplest things can be so helpful.

    I’d like to learn more Spanish. I was in Peru for 3 weeks and knew hardly anything but when I came home my brain was searching its data base for Spanish words instead of English and I had just hit that sweet spot, where it gets easier and flowy. Maybe I should plan a trip to Mexican for inspiration, ha ha

    I have a trauma injury so controlling what thoughts get “in” is really important to me. I have so many methods with my most recent one being “No thank you. Not now” said firmly, as many times as needed. Sometimes you have to put your foot down! Another one I like is imagining my thoughts as clouds that float across the blue sky of my mind…or water flowing down a creek.

    Thanks for a great post!


    • What great imagery for not letting negative thoughts find a home in your space – clouds and a flowing creek. I’m sorry you are living with the traumatic injury and wish you peace in your efforts to heal. So glad the skin-brushing has helped with your leg pain — you’re right, sometimes the simplest things can have the biggest impact! Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was intrigued when I saw the title B is for Brush. Thanks for the reminder that brushing away negative thoughts and brushing up on important skills are just as important to our self-care as physically brushing!!

    I like the idea of body brushing. I know I often get hung-up on what I don’t like about my body. It seems to me that, in addition to its health benefits, body brushing would be a nice way to simply honour the body.


    • Joanne,
      I think you are so right how body brushing can be a simple way to honor our bodies. We can get so focused on what isn’t perfect that we forget to appreciate the gift we have. A bit more about that in C is for Celebrate….Thanks for joining the conversation!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I have tried skin brushing, it was part of a spa package and then I brought the brush home. I don’t remember to do it very often, though. Thanks for the reminder. And like you, I have lost my second-language fluency, in Spanish a long time ago, and in French since I stopped teaching four years ago. It’s hard enough thinking in English some days, I feel like my French brain has disappeared. 😞

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amanda – I too need the brushing reminder — and do you think you’ll try to pick up either French or Spanish again? I’m thinking brushing up on Chinese will help me to keep my mind sharp and aid against dementia and other aging-mind issues. Thanks for joining the conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I really want to get my language brains working again. My daughter wants to be a French immersion teacher so wants to practice her French, we just have to get in the habit. Spanish? I think I need a trip to Mexico! But it is important, for exactly the reasons you state. I’m heading down the dementia road with my mother and it’s scary! Fight the good fight now, right? Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m intrigued by brushing the skin… but I love the idea of brushing up on a skill. I, too, love foreign languages and while I was never “fluent” I French, I could hold my own. I’d love to get back to that level of proficiency again (and add Italian to the repertoire). GREAT thought-provoking post!


    • Molly – skin brushing is quite rejuvenating – hope you try it one day. Aren’t you planning to go to Italy? Would be great to learn a little Italian before you go. Thanks for joining the conversation.


  7. Fantastic ideas for brushing. I was so impressed by your Chinese language skills. I was recently in Vietnam and the tour leader tried to teach 10 Aussies the 6 or more different pronunciations, and meanings, of “ma”. The results were hilarious but hopeless. Tonal languages defeat me.



    • Pauleen – One of the tricks of tonal language is careful listening — but they can certainly trip you up! I think often the context helped native speakers understand my impure tones! Glad you appreciate the brushing ideas. Thanks for joining the conversation.


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