Self-care is something we so often put on the backburner in our culture that glorifies the impossibly packed schedule and external (oftentimes superficial) accomplishments. Taking time to nurture yourself is essential for caring for your mental and physical health, as is slowing down and giving ourselves permission to not be constantly on the go. You are worth giving yourself time for self-care and the benefits radiate out from you—positively effecting your relationships, your work, and your community. We are happy to offer you a quick and simple guide to a 15 minute self-care practice of Ayurvedic Abhyanga Massage and Dry Brushing.
This traditional Ayurvedic practice, also called garshana (pronounced gar-shun-uh), promotes lymphatic cleansing and supports the natural process of detoxification in the body. Ayurvedic practitioners most often recommend abhyanga and dry brushing for those who are showing signs of ama, which includes lethargy, lack of concentration, fatigue, constipation, and burdened immune system. If you experience dry skin or have a vata imbalance, Abhyanga (or Ayurvedic self-massage) is for you which you apply warm oil to your body after dry brushing. This practice is relaxing and calming for the nervous system.
The Benefits of Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Self-Massage:
- Musculoskeletal and nervous system health
- Proper circulation and lymph drainage
- Improved sleep patterns
- Softer, stronger skin
- Healthy vision
- Graceful aging
- Lustrous hair
- Firm, strong limbs
- Tone and vigor for the body’s tissues
- Increased longevity
- Nourishment for the whole body
The Benefits of Garshana or Dry Brushing:
- Increases muscle tone
- Improves skin texture, luminosity, and suppleness
- Reduces the effects of stress on the body
- Promotes weight management by supporting healthy metabolism
- Supports natural detoxification
- Improves lymphatic circulation
- Enhances circulation and healthy blood flow
- Stimulates areas that accumulate cellulite
How to Practice Garshana or Dry Brushing
The goal of dry brushing is to create movement and stimulation throughout the body. It’s best done in the morning before bathing when you’re skin is dry and free of lotion or oil.
- Stand in the bathtub/shower or on a towel to avoid getting flaky skin on the floor.
- Using gloves or a brush, massage vigorously to stimulate the skin and lymph.
- Keep the direction of the stroke always toward the heart.
- Use circular strokes on the joints (shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, hips, and ankles), and long sweeping strokes on the arms and legs (toward the heart).
- Massage from the feet upward, continuing to the torso and on to the neck.
- Massage from the hands to the shoulders.
- Massage the stomach and buttocks in circular clockwise motions.
- Apply light pressure where the skin is thin or sensitive and firm pressure on thicker areas like the bottoms of the feet.
How to Practice Abhyanga or Ayurvedic Self-Massage
In Sanskrit, the word sneha can be translated as both “oil” and “love.” In Ayurveda, there is an inherent connection between enveloping the body in oil and enveloping it in love. For this reason, we love to utilize our Release + Connect Massage & Body Oil for Abhyanga. Nourishing oils blended with the healing benefits of broad spectrum cbd, make Release + Connect Massage & Body Oil perfect for your self-care practice.
Ayurveda recommends practicing for a minimum of 15 minutes in order for the healing benefits of the oil to reach the tissue layers of the body. This nourishing practice can be done daily in the morning or evening. Take your time, if you are able, and enjoy!
- Heat up Release + Connect Massage & Body Oil, by either warming in a pan on the stove or removing the cap and pump from the bottle and microwaving in 10 to 15 second increments until desired temperature is achieved.
- Sit or stand comfortably in a warm room, on a towel that you don’t mind ruining with oil accumulation. Make sure you are protected from any drafts.
- Apply oil generously to your entire body.
- Massage the oil into your body, beginning at the extremities and working toward the middle of your body. Use long strokes on the limbs and circular strokes on the joints. Massage the abdomen and chest in broad, clockwise, circular motions. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine, moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, then down on the left side.
- Massage the body for 5–20 minutes, with love and patience.
- Give a little extra time and attention to massaging the oil into your scalp, ears, and feet, at least once a week. Apply oil to the crown of your head and work slowly outward in circular strokes. Oil applied to the head should be warm but not hot.