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Ayurveda Dry Brushing | How to Detoxify with Garshana

Updated: Apr 19

What is Ayurveda dry brushing or garshana? Here’s everything you need to know about Ayurvedic dry brushing treatment – aand how it can improve your skin, circulation, move lymph, promote healthy weight, and more. This gently exfoliating Ayurveda treatment not only supports healthy skin, but a healthy you.

womand doing Ayurveda Dry Brushing

Explore more on the Saumya Blog, selected top Ayurveda blogs and websites to watch.

Ayurveda Dry Brushing | How to Detoxify with Garshana

What it is the history of Ayurvedic dry brushing?

Ayurveda is a 5,000-year-old spiritual tradition about the wisdom of life. In Sanskrit, Ayu means life, Veda, means knowledge; the meaning of Ayurveda is to know about the nature of life itself.

Do to Ayurveda’s growing popularity, most people are familiar with the holistic health care system that is part of the vast Ayurveda path.

Dry brushing, known as garshana, is a traditional Ayurvedic treatment one can do at home. Dry brushing promotes movement of lymph, which is a passive system. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the lymphatic system is part of the immune system responsible for fluid balance, defending the body against infection, and removing cellular waste.

Skin being our largest organ of digestion, it is also the largest detoxifying organ we have. This is how garshana, dry brushing, is such an important Ayurvedic treatment.

From an Ayurvedic view, lymph is rasa dhatu. Rasa refers to the body’s inner ocean and means sap or juice. (Plasma, aspects of blood, lymph and interstitial fluids (fluids around the cells).

Rasa directly relates to menstrual fluids and breast milk, and having a healthy female system is important mentally and physically. For all people, when rasa is happy, the other tissue (dhatu) layers are happy. Dry brushing and moving lymph, supports the health of the whole person.

Dry brushing is a key Ayurveda tool for detoxifying and optimizing wellbeing.

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Ayurveda Dry Brushing | Detoxifying and Invigorating Home Treatment image woman doing Ayurvedic dry brushing

Benefits of Ayurvedic Dry Brushing | Garshana

1. Promotes lymph flow/drainage

2. Gently supports detoxification

3. Improves healthy circulation and blood flow

4. May reduce the appearance of accumulated cellulite

5. Supports weight management

6. Improves skin texture

7. Exfoliates rough, dry skin

8. Helps to unclog pores improving the body’s ability to sweat and eliminate toxins

9. Invigorating

10. Supports detoxification of the liver

11. Removes stagnation

12. Prepares the body for abhyanga/Ayurvedic herbalized oil massage.

Contraindications: 1. Avoid sensitive skin

2. Avoid eczema, psoriasis, acne, moles, warts, or raised bumps are present. (See your dermatologist)

3. Avoid open wounds, irritated skin, inflamed or sunburned.

4. Avoid skin that has infection, cellulitis, or skin cancer.

5. Do not perform dry brushing during acute illnesses.

6. If skin becomes irritated or inflamed, stop dry brushing.

7. Do not dry brush the face.

How to Perform Ayurvedic Dry Brushing?

Traditionally dry brushing is performed using raw silk gloves. Natural brushes are also an option and widely available in a range of textures.

Dry brushing especially benefits those with signs of ama such as sluggishness, fogginess, general sense of dullness, lack of vitality, stiffness, and constipation.

What is ama? According to Ayurveda ama is toxins that accumulate in the body when foods, herbs and emotions are not completely digested, assimilated, and eliminated. This sounds like something we all experience at one point in time.

3 Ayurvedic dosha types: Kapha woman, Pitta woman, Vata woman

Dry Brushing: The 3 Ayurvedic Doshas

Kapha types and Kapha conditions benefit the most from the daily practice of dry brushing due its invigorating and stimulating effect.

Pitta types may practice dry brushing 4-5 times per week.

Vata types benefit from 2-4 times.

Dry brushing should be followed by abhyanga, especially for Vata’s tendency to have dry skin.

Add Ayurvedic dry brushing to part of your Ayurvedic Morning Routine | 6 Rituals for a Calm and Centered Day

Ayurvedic dry brushing is best performed in the morning before bathing as it is stimulating and invigorating and a far healthier option for waking up than a big jolt of coffee. (Aka central nervous stimulant). You’ll be delighted how it helps you feel enlivened. The idea is to create movement and to literally get the juices (rasa) flowing!

imbalanced rocks

How To Know If You Have A Dosha Imbalance

Peruse these comprehensive and convenient lists of signs and symptoms of dosha imbalances.

As we are all comprised of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, there can be an imbalance in any of the doshas, or a combination of dosha imbalances. Read all three lists and see if anything looks familiar.

Ayurveda Dry Brushing | Detoxifying and Invigorating Home Treatment image towels an soft bristle brush for dry brushing

How To Perform Ayurvedic Dry Brushing

1. Find silk or linen gloves, or a brush with a texture that is pleasing to you and gentle on your skin. This is never about no pain, no gain. Ayurveda is a path of ahimsa, non-violence and so how we perform practices, is as important as what we do.

2. You can stand in a tub/shower or on a towel as skin cells will slough off and may leave a little mess.

3. With your gloves or brush, perform dry brushing. Now pay attention to the pressure. Apply enough pressure so its deep enough so you don’t slide over the skin, but light enough to not feel below the skin. That’s about 1-4 ounces. Going deeper than this, one is going passed the lymph so easy does it! but vigorous.

4. Start at the feet and work upward.

5. As with abhyanga/Ayurvedic oil massage, always move towards the heart using circular strokes on the round bones and areas (shoulders, elbows, knees, etc.) and longer strokes on the limbs again, moving towards the heart.

Ayurveda Dry Brushing | How to Detoxify with Garshana is a simple home Ayurvedic treatment easily integrated into your morning or evening Ayurveda routine. Ayurvedic Morning Routine | 6 Rituals for a Calm and Centered Day 10 Ayurvedic Evening Rituals for a Calming Night

Ayurveda Dry Brushing | Detoxifying and Invigorating Home Treatment image of a man after Ayurvedic dry brushing and massage

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We all want to be heard, understood, and cared for as whole beings, not a set of isolated symptoms. True health is more than the absence of disease, which is why Western medicine so often leaves us feeling hopeless and unseen.

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Nasya Oil Benefits | How to Use Nasya Oil for Greater WellbAyurveda Dry Brushing | Detoxifying and Invigorating Home Treatmenteing image Veena

Veena is a Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner and meditation teacher, and monk.

She is President Emeritus and teaching faculty of the Meditation Center.

Veena fell in love with the traditional medicine used in her family’s home, learning herbal remedies at her grandmother's knee.

These childhood experiences were the seeds of a lifelong passion. For over 30 years, Veena has dedicated her life to the world’s oldest healing system: Ayurveda.

She draws on this ancient wisdom to help others find their compass to a healthy life – and support those left wanting by Western medicine.

An experienced Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner, Veena’s deep, intuitive knowledge of Ayurveda empowers her clients to reclaim their fullest, most vibrant lives –mentally, physically, and spiritually. Veena individualizes treatment plans to each person, rather than offering a one-size-fits-all approach, so it fits your life and becomes woven in your lifestyle, naturally.

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