Garshana - the sweetest alternative to the abrasive dry brush!
By: Marisa Hall
These have all become buzzwords recently, and for good reason. In the West, our perspectives on the lymphatic system are rapidly expanding as we’ve uncovered insights into the role lymph plays not only in our immune health, but in our digestive, nervous, reproductive, endocrine... essentially our overall health!
Garshana is a simple and readily accessible tool for promoting lymphatic flow. The secret is in the gently abrasive gloves that are used during treatment. Generally, raw silk is reserved for Vata and Pitta conditions, while wool is used for Kapha conditions. These exfoliating gloves, when rubbed over the body, slough off dead skin and create a subtle electrostatic current which generates the lymphatic movement. In addition to enhanced lymphatic flow, static electricity is also widely known to alkalize the blood and to generate a slight amount of heat, resulting in improved circulatory flow and enhanced removal of waste from the tissues.
When performed by a practitioner, recipients enjoy this light stimulus over the entire surface of their skin. The skin, being related to the element of Air and thus the Vata dosha, feels thoroughly activated and alert. In this heightened state, the entire nervous system feels primed to receive the incredible, grounding, soothing qualities of a warm oil massage. Not unlike practices that usher the body from extreme heat to icy cold temperatures, the dynamic experience of pairing Garshana and Abhyanga or Vishesh feels absolutely scintillating. The relief offered by the smoothness which opposes the preceding coarseness sends wave after wave of release and utter bliss throughout the whole body, creating a ripe atmosphere for deeper absorption into the experience of simply being and receiving.
Best of all, this gorgeous experience translates effortlessly into a simple at-home self-care ritual. Prior to showering, spending less than 5 minutes practicing Garshana is all you need to effectively reap the benefits. To practice, simply start at the distal ends of each limb and work your way towards the heart, making small circular strokes around the joints and linear strokes along the long bones. At the abdomen and lower back, incorporate larger circles that are directed up the right side of the body and down the left side.