Ayurveda P2: Dry Brushing

As to avoid overwhelming you, I’ve decided to break my follow-up post into a couple of separate pieces, rather than cramming too much info into one post. This will help you digest all of the delicious knowledge I’ll be throwing your way. The first Ayurvedic practice up to ‘wow’ you with all of its benefits is dry brushing.


Brush it off

Dry brushing, known as garshana, is just as it sounds. It is quite literally the act of brushing your skin when dry. It sounds harsh, and maybe even slightly off-putting, but dry-skin brushing can reap you major benefits. It promotes lymphatic cleansing and is very effective when it comes to ridding the body of ama (cellular waste products). Modern-day dry brushing is typically conducted using a brush with natural bristles, though silk or linen gloves are the more traditional tools. The process takes no longer than 10 minutes (if you’re feelin’ the self-love) and within seconds, you feel the exhilarating results.

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(Top Brush, Bottom Brush)

So…why and how?

WHY:

The skin is the largest organ, so it should come as no surprise that paying it some extra attention goes a long way. It is responsible for eliminating up to one-third of our body’s toxins and by brushing off the dead skin cells, it helps expedite the process.

Often times, internal deficiencies are reflected externally in the shape of dry skin, acne, rashes, bumps, etc. There is a proven correlation between your skin and what’s happening on the inside. You can even go as far as to trace where the root of the problem is coming from, depending on where the skin issues are arising (for example, pimples between the eyebrows can be linked to the liver, so after a weekend of drinking you might notice a few new friends have popped up).

If we want results, we’ve gotta work for ’em, or in this case, brush for ’em. Adding dry brushing to your morning ritual will only tack on a few minutes and will leave you with all of this:

  • Improved lymphatic circulation- The lymphatic system is the network of vessels through which lymph (a fluid that contains white blood cells) drains from the tissues into the blood. By stimulating the system through brushing the skin, you promote the efficient removal of metabolic waste.
  • Improved immune function- Dry brushing helps circulate white blood cells and rejuvenates the nervous system.
  • Major exfoliation! – Helps unclog pores and improve skin texture by removing dead skin cells. Unclogged pores also help your skin absorb all the good stuff- nutrients! Regular exfoliation also helps slow done the aging process… wrinkles and fine lines, be gone.
  • Prevents and/or reduces the appearance of ingrown hairs- This is something I have always struggled with and can personally vouch for. Since I started dry brushing, I have seen a dramatic decrease in ingrown hairs, both under my arms and by the bikini line.
  • Increases muscle tone and aids in the even distribution of fatty deposits- Dry brushing activates the nervous system, which in turn stimulates muscle fibers that improve muscle tone.
  • Boosted energy-  Dry brushing gets your blood pumping, which leaves you feeling tingly in the best ways. As your blood circulates, your energy levels naturally increase.
  • Less stress-  If you make dry brushing a morning ritual and do the deed in a relaxing atmosphere (think: candles and ‘Nature Sounds’ on Spotify) it becomes highly meditative. Knowing you’re doing something that your body will thank you for inherently de-stresses you out.

Now that you know why you should do it, I’m sure you’re dying to know how to do it. That would probably help, huh?

HOW:

As I noted earlier, dry brushing is as easy as it comes, but following the ancient Garshana techniques closely is imperative.

  1. Brush in the morning before you bathe or shower to remove dead skin and get your day started on the right foot. Dry brushing in the shower or bath is a good idea, as it avoids a messy clean-up (skin cells will be shed).
  2. Begin brushing at your feet and move in long sweeping motions, working your way up. Give extra love to your inner thighs and underarms, as both closely help the lymphatic system. Always brush up, toward your heart.
  3. After feet and legs, move in this order: arms, back, abdominal, behind. For abdominal and booty areas, work in a clockwise motion until you reach a tingly feeling and your skin becomes a rosy color.
  4. Save the chest and neck for last. Both of these areas are more sensitive, so in the beginning, brush delicately. Over time, your skin will adapt.
  5. Let the water flow and cleanse yourself of whatever doesn’t serve you.
  6. Once you’re squeaky clean, it’s time to moisturize. Your pores are open and ready to receive some quality nutrients after that detox. My beauty regimen consists almost solely of natural oils, so I choose to lather up with coconut oil and Argan oil post dry-brush and shower.
  7. Put your dry brush somewhere dry and within reach. The next dry-brush sesh in on the horizon.

That’s it! I told you it was easy. It might not sound like much, but I can promise you will feel the difference.


Garshana based on your Dosha

If Ayurveda isn’t for you, and you’re just here for the technique, feel free to move on to another galtruism post that better tickles your fancy. All dry brushing basics have already been discussed, I just want to offer some extra Ayurvedic knowledge to those interested.

  • Vata:  2-3 times per week.
  • Pitta: 4-5 times per week.
  • Kapha: Daily.

These suggestions are based on the typical energy levels, deficiencies, etc. of each particular dosha. None of these are definitive or proven, they are simply suggestions. I, for example, associate myself with the Vata dosha but I dry brush 4-5 times per week. In the end, it’s entirely up to you and what makes you feel good.

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Whether or not you’re an Ayurvedic supporter or believer, the proof is there. I know that adding another bullet to your morning routine sounds grueling, but dry-brushing is a worthwhile addition that you should consider. I wouldn’t recommend it if I didn’t truly believe in it.

Ayurveda P2: Dry Brushing – done.
Ayurveda P3: Tongue Scraping – next up.

See ya there.

Your Gal, Shaye

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