DRY BODY BRUSHING: WHY I LOVE GARSHANA MASSAGE GLOVES

As well as a weekly (or up to thrice weekly depending on what kind of week I’m having!) self-Abhyanga, to nourish and protect my skin, calm the mind-body and reduce the excess Vata that accumulates from the “busy” of work and the fast pace of modern life, I love to treat myself to a different kind of Ayurvedic massage from time to time — one that’s a little more stimulating and exfoliating. I’ve been a fan of body brushing pre-shower with a dry bristle brush for years — first I saw it for the exfoliating, stimulating, cellulite-reducing benefits, then I realised to be kinder to the skin and work on the lymphatic system for circulation, brushing should be as light as possible.

WHEN AND HOW TO DO IT

Dry brushing is great to counterbalance excess Kapha, which manifests as sluggishness, water retention, indigestion, and even feelings of depression, but for Pitta and Vata types, or anyone experiencing aggravations to these Doshas, dry body brushing can be too stimulating and irritating to both the body and mind. Enter Garshana gloves. These raw silk gloves are perfect for a more gentle approach to dry brushing your body, while eliminating impurities and stimulating circulation, to leave you feeling rejuvenated and relaxed. Just pop them on your hands and massage your skin from your toes upwards before your shower, and you’ll come out with bright skin and feeling like a million dollars! Enjoy the process as a mindful meditation and self-care start to your day. While dry body brushing with a bristle brush might have Pitta and Vata types feeling like they’ve just had a large coffee (not as good as it might sound!) Garshana glove massage will leave you feeling like you’ve had a refreshing cup of herbal tea.

As a Vata-Pitta mind-body type who tends to have dry skin (bring on the Abhyanga!) this is a much better way to get the benefits of exfoliating and improving lymphatic drainage without overstimulating and taking off as much skin as dry body brushing does (which makes you itchy amongst other things!).

Pitta Prakriti types who are also prone to being overstimulated can become irritated, red and hot from dry body brushing, so try Garshana gloves instead.

Kapha Prakriti types benefit from stimulation and exfoliation (within reason, as more is not always better — listen to your body!) can enjoy dry body brushing, Udvartana (powder massage) and Garshana glove brushing.

MORE ON GARSHANA

The term “Garshana” comes from the Sanskrit word for “rubbing” or “friction”. This kind of massage is an ancient Ayurvedic practice used to create static electricity on the body, which in turn helps to support holistic wellbeing. Static electricity is said to have so many health benefits that static electricity clinics popped up around the U.S. at the turn of the 20th century! Although these clinics no longer exist, Garshana massage is still recognised for its many benefits. Western medicine’s answer to Garshana is lymphatic draining massage, which is used for sports rehabilitation and treat lymphedema, a condition that causes swelling of an arm or leg, often after surgical removal of the lymph nodes.

Jasmine Hemsley