Welcome to my guide about how to balance the sense of touch, using dry brushing Garshana gloves!
Obviously, the sense of touch comes through the skin. Did you know that the skin is the largest
organ in the body, accounting for about 15% of our total body weight? What’s more, we are
constantly shedding skin. Every minute of the day, we lose between 30,000 to 40,000 dead skin
cells from the surface of the skin. In fact, it is estimated that we shed roughly a gram of skin
every day! We are constantly renewing our body, with our skin breaking down into dust and
disappearing into the environment around us.
The sense of touch and Ayurveda
From an Ayurvedic perspective, we understand that the skin is very closely related to what we
call rakta dhatu, or the blood. Therefore, when there is really good lustre in the skin, we
understand that the blood tissue is in good shape and form. However, if the skin has poor lustre,
we look at the blood (as well as other factors) to determine the cause of the problem.
We can look after the skin both internally and externally. Internal skincare starts with what we
eat and the quality in which we digest it. Ayurveda is full of so many herbs to support the skin.
For example, Guduchi is known to revive our skin tissues, while its anti-inflammatory properties
help to resolve inflamed skin conditions. Other examples include turmeric, which has anti-aging
properties and Ginseng, whose phytochemicals help stimulate the skin’s metabolism.
An introduction to Garshana
In this blog, I wanted to share how you can take care of your skin and sense of touch from an
external perspective. To do that, I explain how to use Garshana gloves (or dry brushing gloves),
whose name comes from the Sanskrit word for “rubbing” or “friction”.
The reason we like these dry brushing gloves is that they help to exfoliate the skin by naturally
encouraging and promoting dead skin cell loss. They also improve the skin lustre and help the
circulatory system. When using Garshana gloves, you achieve a lovely connection through the
sense of touch – touching yourself, looking after yourself – which is also a huge benefit.
Garshana gloves are special gloves that can be bought online here. They are made of raw silk, not
refined, so are slightly coarse and can become bobbly over time through use; however, this
extra bobbliness helps to support the exfoliation process.
How to use Garshana gloves
To watch a video demonstration of this practice, click here to watch my latest YouTube video:
We recommend you do this practice unclothed, and start on the hands. Do circular motions on
the joints, and move up to the limbs where you can do long, backwards and forwards rubbing.
The aim is to create a little bit of friction and warmth, the same as if you were using an
exfoliating cream or powder. We work upwards, but don’t do the chest. However, we do the
abdominal area in a clockwise fashion, following the shape of the colon. We can do the back,
working across, and then the feet, once again working upwards to the knees. It’s really good to
do the thighs, particulate focusing on the outer edges and into the buttocks; this is great for
smoothing fat tissue and encouraging good circulation deep into those areas.
Applying oil (Abhyanga)
The benefit of using Garshana gloves is that they slightly open the pores, ready to receive oil.
The process of applying warm oil to the body is called Abhyanga, and you can find out more
information by watching this video:
You don’t have to apply oil after using the gloves; instead, you can simply hop into the shower
to wash off any dead skin cells. However, I would recommend applying oil to the body before
getting in the shower. I have got a selection of oils including cured sesame oil, herbal oil, and
medicated oil. The great thing with herbal oil, in particular, is that the Garshana gloves have
already helped to open up the body to receive the oil. Of course, if you have any broken,
damaged, open, sore, or sensitive skin, we would not recommend practicing Garshana.
How often should you practice Garshana?
As always, it depends on the individual, the season and the climate. The dead of winter is a
great time to practice Garshana, especially if there’s been a lot of sluggishness or ama
(metabolic waste) in the body. In these circumstances, I would do it fairly frequently, maybe
three or four times a week. On the other hand, if there is a tendency towards an anxious
disposition and extreme dryness or thinness in the skin, you would not want to do Garshana
very often; instead, do it once in a while, literally just to clear the accumulated dead skin. Spend
less time trying to create friction, and instead focus on being gentle and nourishing, applying the
oil before getting into the shower.
I hope you found this blog post interesting. Let me know if you try Garshana and if you are
enjoying its benefits.