Practices for Self Love: Dry Brushing + Abhyanga
So I discovered dry brushing and abhyanga a few months ago. I didn't discover them together, but it seemed as though they should go hand in hand. When I did each one for the first time (I dry brushed then massaged myself), I felt an overwhelming sense of grounding and love for myself. It was quite incredible. Now let me explain what each thing is.
Dry brushing is exactly what it sounds like. Brushing the skin when it is dry. To my knowledge, this practice began in Europe and Russia. All you do is brush your skin in long strokes starting at your feet and ending at your head (I would recommend changing brushes if you want to do your face), always brushing towards the heart. Apply moderate pressure to the skin as you brush, but not too much. This should not be painful. Can take anywhere from 5-20 minutes.
The perks to dry brushing!
-Stimulates the lymphatic system (the lymphatic system eliminates the boys waste at a molecular/cellular level). It helps to detoxify the body.
-Exfoliates by removing dead skin cells.
-Increases circulation/blood flow which helps in the detoxification/waste elimination process. Helps the body purify itself.
-Can decrease cellulite.
-May improve digestion and increase kidney function. Aids the lymphatic system which helps the body get rid of excess waste and water, which in turn decreases bloating
-Removes dirt, oil, and other impurities from the skin.
How great is that!?
Now for my favorite part....ABHYANGA!
Abhyanga is an Ayurvedic self-massage. It is said to be a very grounding practice that can have effects similar to being "saturated in love". Abhyanga practice balances ones doshas, particular patterns of energy; mind-body types, and can enhance ones overall well being.
Whats so different between this and a regular massage?
Well first off, it is a self massage...meaning you massage yourself (I had to say it for the slow pokes!). Warm up your oil [I use coconut oil, but there are specific Ayurvedic oils for this]. Get comfortable, whether standing or sitting. Start my massaging the crown of your head with oil and work down and out in tiny little circles. Do the same to the face and pay particular attention to your ears. Then you use long strokes & clockwise circular motions down the rest of your body (but still working towards the heart), finishing at your feet. This should take about 15-20 minutes. Relax for 5-15 minutes and then take a warm soothing shower.
Now you know there are some great benefits to abhyanga!
-It nourishes your entire body
-Increases muscle tone
-Increases firmness in the limbs
-Stimulates internal organs
-Helps with eliminating impurities
-Moves lymph (helps detoxification)
-Helps you sleep better (deeper sleep)
-Makes hair grow
-Softens and smooths skin
(more in depth details at http://www.chopra.com/ccl/the-benefits-of-ayurveda-self-massage-abhyanga)
Now do you see why my spirit told me to put these two things together? It felt like they needed to be combined. Who doesn't want self love + detoxification + smooth skin + a rub down?
I recommend that EVERYONE tries this at least once! It is an amazing practice that you can do yourself + its not expensive AT ALL!
Have you every dry brushed or practiced abhyanga? What was your experience like? If you have not done either yet, let me know your experience when you DO give it a go!