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Garshana - dry brushing how to

Ayurvedic dry-brushing, is called garshana in sanskrit.

What does it do?
Garshana is a super effective lymph mover and cleanser. It is also an effective way to remove āma (cellular waste products) from the tissues. Traditionally one uses raw silk or linen gloves, to do garshana, however, a body brush is easier to find, less expensive, but keep in mind is a more vigourous practice and is usually better for kapha and less ideal for vāta. Vāta types may prefer the more gentle gloves except for when cleansing and specifically wanting to mobilize āma and lymph.

How do you know if you have āma?

Signs of āma include:

  • fatigue
  • sluggishness
  • feeling physical or mental dullness
  • constipation

Garshana is perfect if you have these symptoms or if you are doing a detox or cleanse. 

Late Winter and Spring are perfect times to practice garshana

As late winter into spring is kapha time of year - practice garshana during this time to support liquefaction and removal of accumulated kapha from the winter months. Dry brushing helps to stimulate kapha in the body and encourage movement and drainage of excess mucus.

Because garshana is stimulating, people who are predominantly kapha in their constitution will benefit from practicing garshana daily. Those who are predominantly pitta can do this practice 4–5 times per week. And those with more vāta would best benefit from doing this practice 2–4 times per week. If your skin is on the dryer side or you are prone to experience mental anxiety (indications of increased vata), it is important to do abhyanga (Ayurvedic self-massage) with warm oil after dry brushing to lubricate the skin. This helps to bring vata dosha back into balance by calming the nervous system.

note: we do this every day during Resets and Seasonal Cleanses with Sunny, as we are aiming for the lymphatic benefits. in this case, you are welcome to practice this every day regardless of constitution.

Benefits

  • Increases muscle tone
  • Improves skin texture (luminosity and suppleness)
  • Reduces the effects of stress on the body
  • Promotes weight management by supporting healthy metabolism
  • Supports natural detoxification
  • Improves lymphatic circulation
  • Enhances circulation
  • Stimulates areas that accumulate cellulite

 

How to do

This practice is best done in the morning before bathing, with dry skin that is free from lotion or oil

  • Make sure the room where the massage will be done is a comfortable temperature
  • Stand in the bathtub/shower or on a towel to avoid getting flaky skin on the floor
  • Using gloves or a brush, massage vigorously to stimulate the skin and lymph
  • Keep the direction of the stroke always toward the heart
  • Use circular strokes on the stomach and joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, hips, and ankles), and long sweeping strokes on the arms and legs (toward the heart)
  • Massage from the feet upward, continuing to the torso and on to the neck
  • Massage from the hands to the shoulders
  • Massage the stomach and buttocks in circular clockwise motions
  • Apply light pressure where the skin is thin or sensitive and firm pressure on thicker areas like the bottoms of the feet

 

Contraindications - don’t do if you have any of the following:

  • very sensitive skin
  • a skin condition, such as psoriasis or eczema (skip these areas if they aren’t all over)
  • an open wound (skip the area)
  • inflamed skin due to sunburn or an allergy
  • acute illness