Let’s Talk About ‘Garshana’

The ancient Ayurvedic practice of dry brushing known as ‘Garshana’ is just about to become your best kept secret and here’s why…

The Sanskrit word ‘Garshana’ translates as ‘rubbing’ or ‘friction’, which produces static electricity on the surface of the body. The benefits of static electricity on the body have been recognised in the West since the 20th Century, and now can be seen in the form of lymphatic drainage massage.

Despite the exfoliating, cellulite reducing and other aesthetic benefits of Garshana, the key to body brushing is to keep it kind and compassionate. Sweep in soft motions up towards the heart centre, no more than three times a week, in order to feel your deepest Self light up from within.

Leaving the body radiating from beneath the surface of the skin (literally), the act of dry brushing stimulates the lymphatic system, encourages blood circulation and opens up the skin’s capillaries ready for the absorption of moisture and hydration.

So here’s how a few gentle bristles can go deeper than smoothing bumpy skin and put you in good spirits…

As you may know, we communicate in reference to ‘Doshas’ here at Urban Veda quite frequently (find your Dosha here) but the main thing to remember is that even though we may be dominated particularly by one specific Dosha, we have aspects of all three in our being- especially during certain seasons. For example, to counteract the emotional heaviness of a Kapha imbalance, dry brushing is fantastic for stimulation and encouraging the energetic levels of the mind and body to rise. Kapha or no Kapha, most people feel a sense of lethargy from time to time, and this is why no matter who you are, your tri-weekly ‘Garshana’ will put a spring in your step and get you feeling good in your skin.

During Kapha season (springtime) the body is more likely to build up what is known as ‘ama’, which can be witnessed as excess mucus and build up-especially within the sinuses and respiratory system. This is due to increased flower pollen blowing through the air, the saturation of the earth with water and the melting of ice and snow. Through dry brushing, movement of the body’s Kapha energy is encouraged and decongestion begins to flow.

Okay so now you know why ‘Garshana’ is your new best friend, here’s how you practice this ancient Ayurvedic ritual:

  • Best done in the morning before bathing, with dry skin that is free from lotion or oil and in a room with comfortable temperature.
  • Using the Urban Veda Dry Body Brush, massage vigorously to stimulate the skin and lymph, keeping the direction of the stroke always toward the heart centre.
  • 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
  • Once the entire body has been brushed, it is important to ‘Abhyanga’ (Oily Ayurvedic Self Massage) in order to replenish the body’s moisture levels and rebalance the Vata Dosha by calming the nervous system.