Brushing Up on Better Health
Dry brushing has been trending in wellness circles lately, but is it really as miraculous for your health as enthusiasts are leading us to believe? Dry brushing is an exfoliation technique that involves brushing the skin with a coarse bristle brush to remove dead skin cells. However, devotees to the technique feel the benefits go far beyond skin-deep. Some claim it boosts circulation, helps with lymphatic drainage, detoxifies the body, smooths the appearance of cellulite, and even strengthens the immune system. It’s also believed that dry brushing stimulates pores and opens them up, allowing your body to release toxins more easily. What is true is that, like many “modern” health trends, dry brushing isn’t a new phenomenon. It’s rooted in ancient cultures and traditional medicine approaches. So even if there’s not much research to back up these health claims, dry brushing’s historical use implies that this trend has staying power. And while the scientific jury is still out on any real health benefits of this technique, dry brushing will certainly leave you with softer, smoother skin. However, it’s important to exercise caution if you have sensitive skin or struggle with issues like eczema, acne, or psoriasis. Dry brushing can exacerbate these conditions.
Can Mushrooms Be Medicine?
Aside from being a flavorful addition to pastas, soups, and salads, mushrooms are making headlines for their many beneficial properties as a nutritional powerhouse. The use of mushrooms as medicine dates back to ancient times, when they were highly valued for their ability to treat wounds and cure infection. Now, as holistic health care and functional medicine continue to gain momentum in health and wellness realms, medicinal mushrooms are becoming more mainstream. They are currently being studied for their ability to do everything from staving off the common cold to boosting brain health. How can you jump onboard the medicinal mushroom movement? Review research from reputable sources, like studies on PubMed and the National Institutes of Health, that call out specific mushrooms and their targeted health benefits. For example, Reishi mushrooms have been studied for their ability to support immune function, restful sleep, and reduced stress. Cordyceps are revered for their ability to boost energy and improve exercise performance, whereas shiitake mushrooms have been studied for everything from immune benefits to healthy cholesterol maintenance.
Better Health and Less Stress, All in Your Breath
Breathwork is defined as any type of breathing exercise or technique to improve physical and mental well-being, process emotions, and decrease the effects of stress. Intentional breathing is an innate part of many mind/body practices, including yoga, Pilates, and tai chi, for which proper breathwork is integral in reaping the most benefits. Now, breathwork training is also recognized as an important therapy option for people recovering from serious injuries or debilitating health conditions. For example, people who struggle with COPD or “long covid” may benefit from breathwork therapy, often done with the assistance of breathwork aids such as spirometers or respiratory muscle trainers. These devices utilize resistance training to help strengthen the lungs and breathing muscles. And breathwork aids aren’t being used solely to restore breathing power hindered by health conditions; fitness pros and athletes use them to boost fitness performance and improve stamina.