As a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, Dr. Kulreet Chaudhary combines the best of Western medicine with time-tested Ayurvedic practices. This week, we're thrilled to share some of Dr. Chaudhary's favorite ancient techniques to reach optimal health. If you're inspired to learn more, check out her new course: How to Use Ancient Ayurvedic Wisdom to Heal Your Gut & Achieve Long-Lasting Weight Loss.
In Ayurveda, garshana is a lymphatic massage using raw silk gloves. It's an easy and inexpensive home treatment that fights what I call "fake fat," or lymphatic backup, by helping to move sluggish lymph. Fake fat results from the accumulation of excess water in the surface of the body because of poor lymphatic drainage.
First, to find out if you're dealing with fake fat, take this short quiz:
- Does your weight often fluctuate more than 4 or 5 pounds over the course of 24 hours?
- Do you have difficulty sweating, even when you are exercising?
- Do your rings get stuck by the end of the day because your fingers get puffy?
- Do you get lines around your ankles where your socks were, or marks from your shoes?
- Do you have aching in your joints? Do you often feel stiff, especially if you have been sitting for a while?
- Do you have excessive cellulite? (Everybody has some, but do you have large amounts and lots of lumps?)
- For women, do you gain more than 5 pounds around your menstrual cycle?
If you answered "yes" to two or more of these questions, then you probably have fake fat. And garshana is an excellent tool to help you lose that excess water weight.
Think of the lymphatic system as the garbage system for your entire body. By improving lymphatic drainage, garshana massage is specifically designed to help with cellulite and water retention. Garshana also helps to move toxins out of your body and stimulates digestion.
While you can have the massage performed at an Ayurvedic spa, you can also easily do it yourself.
Garshana is traditionally done with raw silk gloves (you can find them online for about $20), but you can also use a lymph brush with natural bristles. It doesn't require any massage oil.
The three main areas you'll focus on are the arms, abdomen, and legs. Here's how to do it:
Begin with circles on the shoulder and precede down the upper arm with back-and-forth strokes covering all surfaces. Make circles on the elbow and then back-and-forth strokes on the forearm. Resume making circles on the wrist.
On the hand, make back-and-forth movements emphasizing the spaces between each finger. Repeat the same sequence on the other arm.
Start with a clockwise motion on the stomach first, which supports the natural direction of digestion.
Then massage the abdomen using horizontal strokes with your hands moving in opposite directions. Next, make up-and-down strokes on the sides of the torso.
This is the last area. Using circular strokes, massage the buttocks and hip. Move back and forth on the thigh using both hands and covering all surfaces. Make circular strokes on the knee, using both hands.
Return to the back-and-forth strokes on the lower leg using both hands. Then, use circular strokes on the ankles. The feet require back-and-forth strokes. Emphasize the sole of the foot and the spaces between each toe. Repeat on the other side.
Kulreet Chaudhary, M.D., is a neurologist. She is also a member of the Healthy Directions family of integrative health experts where she shares her Ayurvedic expertise to help others re-establish their natural connection to health and restore their ability to thrive.
Chaudhary has participated in over 20 clinical research studies in the areas of multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, ALS, and diabetic peripheral neuropathy. She is the author of The Prime and Sound Medicine: How to Use the Ancient Science of Sound to Heal the Body and Mind. She holds her M.D. from Loma Linda University School Of Medicine.