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Garshana: Ayurvedic Dry Skin Brushing

by Bess O'ConnorSeptember 06, 2015
Heal

Photo Credit: DmitriMaruta/Thinkstock

Our skin is the largest organ of detoxification. Garshana or dry skin brushing is one of the easiest practices to encourage the body to cleanse. It’s super simple and can be done easily before bathing or showering. With this technique, toxins are easily released from the body by unclogging pores and preparing the body to sweat (which is a great thing to do after body brushing).

Benefits of Dry Skin Brushing

  • Exfoliate and slough off dead skin cells. This not only encourages detoxification, but also leaves you with baby smooth skin.
  • Enhances lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system is responsible for eliminating “amma” (cellular waste product). Lymphatic tubules allow for toxins to be drawn from the tissues and transported into the blood for elimination. Congestion of your lymphatic system can lead to a host of health problems including inflammation and congestion.
  • Unclogs congested pores. Dry brushing is one of the best tools for exfoliation. It sloughs off dead skin cells, essentially allowing the pores to breathe and prevents toxic build-up.
  • Reduces cellulite. Cellulite is simply an accumulation of toxic buildup in your fat cells. Dry brushing dislodges the toxins and allows for movement through the various systems of elimination.
  • Stress relief. If you do it right and with intention, dry skin brushing can be a form of meditation. It can also give you the feeling of a light massage/caressing feeling that soothes the nerves, reduces muscle tension and calms the mind.

How to Dry Brush

  1. Traditionally Ayurveda uses raw silk or linen gloves. You can also use an all-natural (non-synthetic) body brush with a long handle to access the hard to reach areas of the body.
  2. Before a shower of bath, step into the tub to avoid getting flakes on the floor.
  3. Starting at your feet, move in long fluid motions from toes to heel 5-10 times.
  4. All of the brushing movements should be directed toward your heart and done repeatedly (5-10 times) on one section of the body before moving to the next.
  5. Then from the ankles to the knees and from the knees to the hips (brush back and forth with a friction-like movement).
  6. Move to around the joints and hips use large circular motions.
  7. Move in a clockwise motion around your abdomen and take care to be a bit gentler around the more sensitive areas of your body (i.e. your chest area and belly).
  8. For the arms, start at the hands and move in toward the elbows and up to the shoulders and neck.
  9. Avoid using the dry brush on your face and use a separate tool for that (for sanitary purposes and use one made for the sensitive facial skin).
  10. After dry brushing, rinse and clean out your shower or bath and take a nice hot one to promote sweating.
  11. Rinse with cold water at the end to close the pores and boost your immune system.
  12. Pat your body down with a towel leaving some moisture from the water and apply your choice of oil. Try organic cold-pressed virgin olive, coconut, or sesame oil for best results.

I have to admit there are a lot of dry skin brushes out there that turned me off the practice for a while as they were too hard and rough. This shouldn’t hurt folks, it should feel pleasurable – it’s a self-care practice. I’ve found that this brush is the perfect firmness and these raw silk gloves found here are best. I recommend dry skin brushing every 3-7 days or even once a month to seasonally. Listen to your body and do what feels good. If you feel your skin is feeling too sensitive, take a longer stretch between brushing sessions. I do, however, know people that do it everyday with great success.

Give it a try for 21 days and notice the changes in your body and share your experience with a comment below.


Bess O'Connor

Bess O’Connor, a certified Ayurvedic and Holistic Health Practitioner, explores the heart of health at the core of alternative medicine, massage therapy, conscious movement, nutrition, meditation and other healing traditions.


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Ayurveda

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