Posted September 28, 2015
Posted September 28, 2015
Every once in a while I come across a practice so obviously valuable it seems crazy that I could have gone so long without learning about and incorporating it.
Intermittent fasting was a good example of this, as were barefoot/minimal shoes. Both of these changed my body and brain so profoundly for the better it was almost frustrating that I didn’t learn of them earlier.
In the past few months I’ve found a new body-optimization revelation that I’m excited to share with you.
What Is Dry Skin Brushing?
Fundamentally, dry skin brushing is an extremely simple practice. Take a brush like the one pictured below and brush your skin with it for about 5 minutes a day. That’s it.
Of course there’s some technique and strategy in it (we’ll cover in a bit) - but not that much, honestly.
Why Dry Skin Brushing?
For such a simple practice, the benefits are pretty profound.
- Remove Dead Skin Cells - An essential for truly healthy skin. Your skin is a dynamic organ, constantly adapting to it’s environment. Dead skin cells block pores and impair your skin’s ability to breathe and react to the environment.
- Stimulate Bloodflow + Lymphatic Fluid - From a health-optimization perspective, this is THE reason to start this practice. Dry brushing stimulates blood and lymph to move through the layers of the skin, facilitating the removal of toxins from the skin.
Remove Toxins From The Skin - Every day, UV radiation (from the sun) hits our skin and damages fats and proteins in the skin, creating oxidative toxins as a byproduct.
These oxidative toxins are the #1 driver of skin aging and potentially, skin cancer. Oxidative toxins are created in everyone’s skin every single day (more so with prolonged sun exposure, of course), and removing these toxins on a daily basis is essential. There’s no easier way to remove these toxins than dry skin brushing.
- Your Skin Will Look Awesome - While the somewhat abstract ideas about the health of my skin and body are the reasons I initially became interested in dry skin brushing, I’ll freely admit that vanity is a big part of what keeps me doing the practice each day. The exfoliation, stimulation of blood flow, and clearing of toxins will make your skin glow after only a few days of regular brushing.
Dry Brushing Techniques
- Get A Good Brush - Getting a quality brush that has bristles of the right stiffness is critical. I’ve tried a few, and this one is my favorite.
- Long Strokes, Towards Your Heart - Starting with your hands and feet, brush your skin in long stokes towards your heart. Brushing in the direction of your heart will maximize the circulation of blood and lymphatic fluid through the skin. You don’t need to go crazy with the intesity, but perfect brush pressure should skirt that line between feeling great and being mildly uncomfortable.
- Shower and/or Towel Off - After brushing you’ll have removed a lot of dead skin cells, and it’s good to make sure they’re actually off your skin altogether and not just moved around. Taking a shower post-brushing does this best, but I often just wipe my skin with a bath towel after brushing to accomplish the same thing.
- Apply Coconut Oil - After brushing and toweling off, apply a light coat of coconut oil to your entire body. Nothing moisturizes skin better, with less clogging of pores, in my opinion.
TV Time, Made Productive
This whole brushing/toweling/moisturizing regimen can be done in less than 10 minutes if you focus, but I’ve found my favorite time to do it is while I’m otherwise just passively watching something on Netflix/Youtube/whatever.
This turns an otherwise non-productive part of my day into a time in which I’m doing something that actually benefits my body and brain. That's the essence of "Being Synchro".
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Posted August 21, 2015
Magnesium deficiency is something I’ve written about on more than one occasion over the years, and for good reason.
According to the FDA, 60% of the US population is deficient in magnesium - a critical nutrient required for over 300 enzymatic processes in the human body. 
I have to confess I have a major problem with these FDA recommendations.
It’s my professional opinion (and one that’s widely shared in the nutrition world) that the levels of magnesium the FDA considers “non-deficient” are woefully low and way below what should be considered “optimal”.
By my definition, close to 85% of the population would qualify as having sub-optimal levels of magnesium.
Getting your body to optimal levels of magnesium and allowing these enzymes can run at full capacity can have profound effects on the health of your nervous and endocrine (hormone) systems.
There’s also some very cool functional applications for magnesium supplementation in acute muscle relaxation and improving sleep. More on this in a bit…
Why You’re Probably Magnesium DeficientThis simple answer to the question on why so many people are magnesium-deficient is “poor diets”, but this doesn’t tell the whole story.
The amount of magnesium found in our foods is ultimately dependent on how much magnesium is in the soil they're grown in, and almost all of our produce today is grown in soil that has been farmed for decades by industrial farming operations and is badly depleted of magnesium and other nutrients.
Farmers use fertilizers to replace the nutrients the plant needs to grow, but this is a far cry from growing plants in truly nutrient-rich healthy soil. As a result, most foods today contain less magnesium and other minerals than they did historically.
What Happens When You’re Magnesium Deficient
As I mentioned above, magnesium is a necessary co-factor for no less than 300 enzyme-driven processes in the body, so it stands to reason that when your magnesium levels are suboptimal, there will be consequences.
- Muscle Tension - Every time you think to move a muscle, it’s the movement of calcium and magnesium ions through the membranes in your muscle cells that make this movement happen at it's most basic level.
When you’re magnesium deficient, you won't have sufficient magnesium ions available in your muscles to allow for complete relaxation of the muscle after a contraction. Calcium accumulates in the cells, keeping the muscles in a semi-contracted state and chronic muscle tension results. 
- Headaches - As you probably know well, chronic muscle tension will lead to headaches. Beyond this, recent studies have found that magnesium deficiency is also a cause of non-tension migraine headaches. 
- Anxiety + Adrenal Dysfunction - A 2012 study detailed the connection between magnesium deficiency and chronic anxiety that doctors have observed for decades. Dysregulation of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis) is often observed in cases of magnesium deficiency and researchers in this study noted that this HPA axis dysregulation was almost certainly the driver behind magnesium-related anxiety. 
- Insulin Resistance + Pre-Diabetes - Receptors for the hormone insulin on your muscle and liver cells require magnesium to function properly. Deficiency in magnesium will greatly reduce the sensitivity of your cells to this hormone. This increases risk for clinical “insulin resistance”, otherwise known as pre-diabetes. 
- Poor Sleep Quality - When the muscles are unable to relax completely and the adrenals are in a state of dysregulation, poor sleep quality is sure to result. It’s no surprise that this is one of the most common consequences of magnesium deficiency observed by physicians. 
Oral Magnesium or Transdermal?
The traditional way to address magnesium deficiency is through taking oral magnesium supplements.
While effective, there are limitations to this strategy. To fully address deficiency, magnesium needs to be delivered deep into muscle tissues throughout the body. While oral magnesium supplementation will achieve this eventually, it is quite slow, particularly when compared to transdermal supplementation.
I do still take an oral magnesium supplement daily, as I believe the absolute best strategy is to supplement both orally and transdermally. If you do take an oral supplement, choose one that is in chelated form (like magnesium glycinate) for maximum absorbability.
Why Transdermal Magnesium?If you choose only one type of magnesium supplement, transdermal is unquestionably the way to go. Here’s why:
- Superior Absorbability - When magnesium is absorbed via the skin, absorption considerably more efficiently than in the gut, where other nutrients often impair the uptake of magnesium. 
Muscle Relaxation - Perhaps the most compelling reason to use magnesium transdermally is the profound muscle relaxation it produces.
When magnesium is absorbed transdermally, it moves directly into the skin’s dense capillary network. From these dermal capillaries, movement into neighboring muscle tissue is efficient and rapid.
Whereas oral magnesium takes 45-90 minutes to reach skeletal muscle tissue and generally doesn’t penetrate very deeply, magnesium applied transdermally reaches the skin within minutes and produces a significant relaxing effect in the areas sprayed.
Improve Sleep Quality - Whether you’re aware of it or not - when you can’t sleep, the inability of your muscles to fully relax is playing a major role.
Using transdermal magnesium 20 minutes before bed will significantly improve sleep quality.
Transdermal Magnesium: The Options
1. Epsom Salt Bath - This is the classic “old school” route to get transdermal magnesium, and in many ways, still the best.
You will absorb huge amounts of magnesium over the course of a 15-20 minute bath, and because you’re immersed in the magnesium solution, the absorption will be well distributed throughout your body.
The recipe is simple: just dissolve 2-3 cups of epsom salts in a warm (but comfortable) bath and get in. 15-20 minutes is plenty to absorb huge amounts of magnesium into your skin and muscles.
If you’re in need of therapeutic muscle relaxation, an epsom salt bath is easily the best option. Realistically though, it’s not exactly convenient for most of us to prepare a bath and hang out in it for 20 minutes every day. Thankfully there's another option as of a few years ago...
2. Transdermal Magnesium Chloride Sprays - These magnesium spray products are relatively new to the market, and I couldn’t be happier to see them growing in popularity.
Transdermal magnesium sprays allow one to experience much of the absorption and muscle-relaxation benefits of epsom salt baths, but in an infinitely more convenient form.
At this point I’ve tried most of the transdermal magnesium products available, and the one I'm most sold on is a product from Activation Products called EASE Magnesium.
Here's why: For a transdermal magnesium product to be fully effective, the magnesium must be fully infused - to the single-ion level - into the solution, otherwise it will simply sit on your skin and not absorb. This is what I believe sets this product apart.
Activation uses a more sophisticated and time-intensive infusion process to ensure the magnesium is completely infused in the aqueous solution.
The difference is significant, and the muscle relaxation produced by EASE is noticeably greater than with other magnesium spray products.
I use about 40 sprays of EASE Magnesium on my shoulders chest and neck (the muscles where I hold the most tension) about 15 minutes before bed and the effect on time-to-sleep and sleep quality is profound.
=>Click Here to learn more about EASE Magnesium Spray. If you deal with headaches, anxiety, muscle tension or poor sleep quality, this product can be truly life changing.
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