A day in the life: Dry brushing

The picture shows eight Therapressure brushes and reads A day in the Life: Dry Brushing

I'm in a meeting with the camera on. It's a regular old Teams meeting with maybe a few coworkers or maybe a lot. Since I generally don't care what people think of me (and maybe I don't recognize when people think negatively of me) I almost always have my camera on. 
You see me grab a small white thing and begin rubbing it up and down my arms. I might even just play with the brush in my hands or put it on my face. Don't worry, I'm not hurting myself. I'm just dry brushing. 

Now, this might lead you to the question, what the h*ll is dry brushing. And before I explain what it is, I want to explain the problem/diagnosis. In working with my Occupational Therapist (OT) I learned that I have a sensory processing disorder. Now technically this is not an official medical diagnosis, because the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health, Volume Five) has not included this as a diagnosis code but rather something that is observed by clinicians and therapists all over the world. 

WebMD explains sensory processing disorder as a condition in which the brain has trouble processing information from the senses. This could mean stimuli from light, sounds, touch, and so on are difficult to process. Personally, I have a multitude of sensory processing "triggers". For example, certain sounds especially overlapping sounds, flashing lights, touching the nape of my neck (which my husband oddly finds joy in doing and literally making me shiver), and showering literally feels like it's raining nails, just to name a few. But it's important to note that everyone experiences their senses and sensory input differently. 

So with my detailed sensory profile in place, my OT recommended that I start a dry brushing routine. Dry brushing is also known in the medical community as the Wilbarger protocol. You can learn more with a simple Internet search. But to give you the gist, it involves using a surgical brush to stroke or brushes the body with firm pressure throughout the day.

If you see me with my Therapressure brush stroking myself (or anyone for that matter), there is nothing to really worry about. I may have sensory overload, in which case you can consider the lighting, noise, visual stimulation, and so on. If you can easily eliminate stimulation it might help. But, it might just be "time" for my brushing and have nothing to do with my current situation. If you are curious or want to offer help, you are better off to ask than just assume. 

Dry brushing is something new for me that I am learning and trying to make a routine. I'm not always as successful as I'd like to be. If you think you may have a sensory processing disorder, or want to try dry brushing yourself, consult your doctor. I am not qualified to tell you what to do medically, but I hope my experience might help others.


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