Gharsana means rubbing. It is a specific massage utilizing fabric that stimulates flow and circulation to all the tissues. It is beneficial for improving digestion, metabolism and facilitating weight loss (through local stimulation and increased heat from the friction).
To have maximum effect, the individual should be sitting or standing on wood--a wooden floor, sitting on a wooden chair, or sitting on a piece of wood.
Gharsana precedes abhyanga and takes approximately five minutes to perform. Many strokes are similar to abhyanga with the exception of the abdomen, heart area, and face. All strokes are vigorous. With time, you may increase the number of strokes up to a maximum of forty.
1. Begin with circles on the right shoulder, proceed down the upper arm with back and forth strokes covering all surfaces, circles on the elbow; back and forth strokes on the forearm covering all surfaces, circles on the wrist, and back and forth on the hand, emphasizing the spaces between each finger.
2. Repeat the same sequence as #1 on the left arm.
3. Massage the upper shoulders and upper back area. Massage the upper chest area using a diagonal stroke like a V, back and forth. We do not massage over the heart or the breasts.
4. Massage the abdomen using a horizontal stroke with hands moving in opposite direction --> <--, then both hands moving in a diagonal toward the pubic area, then both hands moving in a diagonal upward toward the ribs, then up and down on the sides.
5. Massage the lower back area.
6. Using circular strokes massage the right buttocks and right hip, back and forth on the thigh using both hands and covering all surfaces, circular strokes on the knee using both hands, back and forth on the lower leg using both hands and covering all surfaces, circular strokes on the ankles, back and forth on the feet, emphasizing the sole of the foot and the spaces between each toe. Repeat on the left side.
7. The face is done last and proceeds as follows: rub back and forth across the forehead, make circles on the temples and the cheeks, rub back and forth using the index fingers of both hands along the sides of the nose to above the eyebrows, rub back and forth across the chin and a few strokes upward on the neck.
8. Now proceed with (optionally--abhyanga and) a warm shower or bath.
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