Skin brushing (also known as garshana) is a traditional Ayurvedic dry massage that refreshes and stimulates the skin and lymphatic system, enhancing blood circulation and the release of accumulated toxins.
Dry skin brushing is a swift and powerful way to enhance the detoxification process. It improves the appearance of your skin by eliminating dead cells and helping new skin to regenerate. It also stimulates blood circulation, the lymphatic system, and greatly enhances toxin elimination. In addition, the massaging effect of the bristles is known to be highly beneficial for eliminating cellulite. Brushing the skin gently stimulates the lymphatic system and is considered to be one of the best natural lymphatic cleansers available.
The lymphatic system is composed of lymph vessels, lymph nodes, and organs. Part of the body’s defense system, the lymph nodes remove microorganisms and other foreign substances. They act as a filtration system that keeps particulate matter, such as bacteria, from entering the bloodstream. Stimulating the lymphatic system through skin brushing will activate all of the above functions as well as encourage blood circulation and cell regeneration. Both actions promote detoxification, weight loss and cellulite reduction, as well as improve body tone and skin radiance.
The ideal time to dry brush is in the morning for 3-4 minutes before a shower, so that one can rinse off the impurities loosened by the massage. To perform a dry skin brushing, it is recommended to use natural silk gloves, a soft sponge, loofah, or a dry brush that gently removes dead skin layers leaving the skin supple and glowing. You will want to massage your entire body, excluding your face, chest, and heart.
Benefits of Skin Brushing
The benefits of dry skin brushing are numerous and include:
- Accelerated toxin elimination
- Stimulated blood flow and circulation
- Reduced Cellulite
- Enhanced lymphatic flow
- Exfoliation and removal of dead skin cells
- Anti-aging through cell regeneration
- Strengthened immune system
- Stimulated nervous system, toned muscles, and tightened skin
- Stimulated both the sweat and sebaceous glands (contributing to the restoration of moist and supple skin)
How to Skin Brush
Dry skin brushing starts with dry skin and a soft, dry brush with natural bristles as to not irritate the skin. It is recommended to brush your skin before you take a shower and then proceed to shower afterward. Using this method, the dead skin will be whisked down the drain.
Step 1: Begin by massaging the head, using brisk circular motions and expanding to long strokes as you reach the neck and shoulders. Alternate these two motions as you continue down the arms, using circular movements at the shoulder joints and long strokes down the upper arm, circular again at the elbows, long down the forearm, circular at the wrist, long down the hand, and circular strokes over the finger joints.
Step 2: Move to the chest, massaging horizontally with long strokes. Avoid massaging directly over the heart and breasts.
Step 3: Massage horizontally on your stomach for two strokes, then use two diagonal strokes. Using this alternating pattern, move on to the lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks, and thighs.
Step 4: Standing up, massage the hip joints with circular motions and move down the legs as you did with the arms. Use long strokes on the long leg bones and circular ones at the knees and ankles, finishing with long strokes over the feet. The direction of the stroke should always be towards your heart as this helps drain lymph back to your heart.
Brush for a few minutes each day and within a few weeks an improvement should be noticed. Brush hard enough so that your skin turns slightly red, but not hard enough to cause pain or irritation. Be sure to be gentle on areas with thin skin, like your face and neck. Avoid brushing areas with rashes or broken skin.
Skin Brushing Tips
- Apply light pressure where the skin is thin, such as the underarms, and harder pressure where the skin is thicker, such as the soles of the feet. Also avoid sensitive areas and anywhere the skin is broken or inflamed.
- Complete your skin brushing with a shower. To enhance the release of toxins, end with a few cycles of hot then cold water. First turn the water to as hot as you can take it for several seconds, then to as cold as you can tolerate, then back to hot, and so on. This will stimulate the blood circulation and further invigorate the skin.