Dry Brushing

It is estimated that 33% of all impurities which leave the body are eliminated through the skin -- more than one pound of waste per day!  If pores are clogged, the elimination from the skin is impaired and the overworked liver and kidneys have to eliminate these toxins.


Garshana is a simple dry brush massage that is a quick and simple technique to assist the lymphatic system by cleansing the skin so that the toxins can be eliminated from the body more efficiently.


By removing dead surface cells, the skin is nourished and oxygenated.  This prevents premature aging and degenerative diseases.


Dry brush massage stimulates blood circulation, the nervous system, and the oil-producing glands in the skin.  Muscle tone is also assisted as fat deposits are more evenly spread and improved blood flow assists in the breakdown and removal of cellulite tissue.


The massage should only take about 5 minutes.


Tools:  Purchase a personal hand sized, soft, natural bristle brush with a long handle, or muku mitt.  Traditionally, Ayurveda uses silk gloves to perform garshana.  Avoid synthetic fiber brushes and puffs because they are too rough.

How to dry brush: 


As a daily ritual, upon rising, brush nude in a private quiet space before bathing.  Be gentle at first, the skin will become seasoned after a few weeks.  Take extra care of tender areas.  Avoid any problem spots, such as rashes or sores.  As you become accustomed to the sensation, rub your skin quickly and fairly vigorously.  Over the long bones of the arms and legs, use sweeping, back and forth strokes.  Change to small circular movements when you reach the joints of the shoulders, elbows, wrists, etc.


Begin with the soles of the feet then brush your way up each leg.  Pay special attention to the body parts where you might experience regular pain, such as the knees.  If cellulite is an issue spend some time giving attention to those areas.  Always finish any area with gentle strokes towards the heart.  Progress from the legs to the hands and arms, brushing towards the shoulders.  Next brush the head, ears and down the neck.  Finish with the torso. 


Using the long wooden handle, brush your entire back then proceed to the front.  A circular motion feels good.  Going in a clockwise motion around the belly button helps digestion.  Be aware, this is a time to enjoy being with your body.  Breathe deeply while you brush.  You can say nice things to yourself, such as “I love this body and see it radiantly healthy and filled with vitality.”


Now it is time for Abhyanga, a full body, warm oil massage before showering.

Kirsten Erickson, C-IAYT, YACEP, E-RYT200, RYT500, iRest® Yoga Nidra Level 1 Teacher, Yoga Wellness North