Ayurvedic Self Care – Garshana Self Massage

Ayurveda – Yoga’s ‘sister science’ of holistic health care – recommends several self-care techniques that not only bring great health, vitality and purification to the body, but also offer an opportunity for compassionate self-care that can bring healing and connection to body, mind and spirit. In a series of Self Care articles, I will share a few of these simple Ayurvedic Self Care techniques with you, and I hope you find them useful and empowering!
Garshana Massage is primarily a skin-care regime that brings health and luster to the skin, promotes naturally moisturized skin, a glowing complexion, activation of the lymphatic system, removal of wastes and toxins, and promotes great circulation. Garshana is a dry skin-brushing massage which uses either a natural bristle brush, dry loofah, or raw silk gloves to brush the skin and remove dead skin cells, promote circulation, and in the Ayurvedic system it is said that this practice reduces cellulite, promotes the removal of fat from the tissues, and loosens impurities from tissues of the body.
To begin, sit on a chair or on the edge of the tub, use your brush, loofah or put on your silk gloves.
Starting with feet and legs, use moderate up and down strokes to brush the feet, ankles, lower legs, knees, and thighs. Use short strokes on the short bones (feet, ankles, knees) and long strokes on the long bones (shins, thighs). Use about 15 strokes on each area.
Stand up and continue over hips, waist and buttocks. Use a combination here of circular and up-and-down strokes. Massage more over areas that hold more tissue/fat/cellulite.
Brush over your lower, middle and upper back as far as you can reach using up-and-down strokes.
Brush over your abdomen, first in a clockwise circle, then using diagonal strokes from sides to groin.
Brush very lightly over the chest
Brush over shoulders, arms and wrists – again use short strokes on short bones (shoulders, elbows, wrists) and long strokes on long bones (upper arm, forearm)
Finally brush very lightly over neck and throat, face, and finish with your head.
From here you can jump in the shower or bath and enjoy the sensation of the cleansing and nourishing water flowing over your body.
Ideally practiced daily first thing in the morning – at least twice a week is recommended.
Reflections: I find particularly in the winter this practice warms up my body, loosens my stiff joints, and helps my skin to stay moisturized and reduces the dry ‘alligator’ skin that we can suffer from here in cold and dry Canberra. I hope you find it as positive and beneficial experience as I have!
Next month – we’ll add to this practice with Abhyanga Ayurvedic Oil Massage for another level of luxuriant self care.

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