Garshana (pronounced gar-shan), often called “dry-brushing,” is Ayurvedic lymphatic massage that helps remove ama (digestive toxins). In Sanskrit, garshana means “friction by rubbing.”
Garshana massage is usually recommended for people with a Kapha imbalance or predominance — that is, slower metabolism — or with symptoms of ama. (Wondering if you have ama? Take the Ama Questionnaire.) The symptoms of Kapha imbalance may include being overweight, water retention, lymphatic slowness, dullness physically or mentally, slow circulation or blockages in circulation. Lymphatic massage can be a wonderful addition to the morning routine to kick-start your day, for anyone.
In Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary’s book, The Prime, she writes “Dry-brushing is incredibly important for the lymphatic system. Lymphatics don’t have a pump. When you move them, they move. Without movement, they have no momentum. Manually massaging the skin toward the heart and in the direction of the lymph nodes gets the lymph moving more vigorously, which increases the body’s detoxification rate. Essentially, you are helping to direct the biochemical sewage through the channels and into the lymph nodes, where it can be eliminated.”
Need more reasons to practice daily garshana?
Benefits Of Lymphatic Massage
- removes ama and helps enliven alertness
- stimulates blood flow to deeper tissue cells by increasing the circulation
- promotes healthy lymphatic circulation
- removes blockages in the physiology
- nourishes the mind and nervous system
- exfoliates the skin
- alkalizes the blood, helping to eliminate stagnant impurities
- detoxes the liver (massage releases impurities in the skin and blood vessels)
- gently dissolves cellulite over time by breaking down impurity deposits in the fat tissue
- boosts skin glow
How To Do Garshana Lymphatic Massage
Dry-brushing should be done vigorously, to stimulate the skin. It includes two types of movements:
- circular movements over the joint areas
- long strokes over the long bones
- Start before your morning shower with dry skin, free from lotion or oil.
- Using Silk Garshana (Lymphatic) Massage Gloves, vigorously massage your wrists and the tips of your elbows in a circular motion. Then massage from your fingers to the top of your upper arms with long strokes, directing the lymph to the lymph nodes under the arms.
- Massage your stomach and buttocks in circular motions.
- Massage your knees in a circular motion, then your thighs in long strokes up the legs, directing lymph toward the lymph nodes in the groin area.
- Massage the ankles and feet in a circular motion. Then go up the calves in long strokes using medium-to-firm pressure.
- Take your morning shower!
Please note: Garshana should not be done over the heart or on the breasts.
It’s Different Than Oil Massage
Garshana massage has a different effect than abhyanga, the traditional ayurvedic massage done with Sesame Oil. While abhyanga also helps reduce ama and is calming, garshana is stimulating (great for Kapha!). Abhyanga and garshana complement each other well, as garshana opens the skin pores so abhyanga oil can penetrate, soothe and deeply nourish the skin. If you wish to practice both, start with garshana and finish with abhyanga.
What You’ll Notice
The result of garshana massage is that one should feel lighter, with more energy and vitality, better digestion, and enlivened metabolism. There is lightness in the body, clarity of mind, and more happiness and satisfaction in life. This is due to the removal of ama. In Maharishi Ayurveda, we hold that the perfect treatment doesn’t balance one part of the body at the risk of unbalancing another part. This is the strength of the ayurvedic system. In following this principle, these detoxification methods flush out the toxins gently without disturbing the body’s own natural functioning.