Do you remember the last time you massaged your scalp? The relaxation that follows even
after a mild scalp massage is phenomenal! Scalp massage should be included in the list of
favorite effortless pleasures. It no doubt eases stress and tension, but did you know some
studies have found that scalp massage could also promote hair growth? Other than this there
are various other health benefits a scalp massage could provide.
Eager to know everything about scalp massage? This article will help you demystify this traditional Ayurvedic practice for hair care and overall wellness.
To begin with, first, let us understand what exactly is a scalp massage. A simple massage that is focused on the scalp area is a scalp massage. There are many techniques of scalp massage based on personal preferences and the area of the scalp that is massaged. Scalp massage mainly involves the use of your fingers and at times the palm for effective rubbing of the scalp. Some devices available in the market are able to mimic the pressure of your finger-tips for effective massaging.
It is common knowledge that most of us accumulate lots of stress and tension towards the hairline, behind the ears, and neck. This could be due to excess stressing of those regions due to sedentary work lifestyles or even due to poor posture. We often disregard this tension; however, a good massage of the scalp could reverse the strain you feel as it is a highly relaxing experience.
Scalp massages are an ancient therapeutic Ayurvedic treatment that has been practiced in India for 5000+ years. As per Ayurveda, there are 108 vital points in our body called ‘Marmas’ in which 31 marmas are present in your head region. They are the pressure points where the arteries, veins, and cranial nerves intersect.
These Marma points aid in draining, cooling, and relieving pressure in the head region. Massaging these pressure points boosts blood circulation and promotes healthy and stronger hair growth.
There’s a popular term for a head massage in Ayurveda - Shiroabhyanga. Shiro Abhyanga is a Sanskrit term consisting of two words: Shiro (head) and Abhyanga (massage). Shiro Abhyanga refers to a complete massage of the head, neck, and shoulders using pure Ayurvedic herbal oils.
According to Ayurveda, scalp massage does a lot more than soothing your senses. Can scalp massages boost hair growth? Is it possible to improve your hair thickness and density with regular scalp massages? Let’s explore the answers to these questions in the next section.
Hair growth is the greatest benefit that could be linked to a scalp massage. Not many would believe this until you know the reason. Did you know that according to researchers and hair experts, strong and dense hair depends on a healthy diet, proper nutrition, and good blood circulation?
Theoretically speaking, what happens when you give yourself a regular scalp massage is that the attention given to the scalp through gentle massage enhances the blood flow in that area. Along with that, it guides the flow of oxygen and nutrients towards those areas. This is more helpful for those who have a tense scalp. The built-up tension often restricts efficient blood flow in the head. Massaging it relaxes the tension in and around the area and allows proper blood flow.
There has also been a study conducted in 2016, where a small group of men was given a four-minute scalp massage on a daily basis for 24 weeks. At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that there was an increase in hair thickness. Another recent study conducted in 2019, states that around 300 or so participants were told to follow a certain massage regimen, after which, nearly 70% of participants delineated increased hair thickness towards the end.
Hence, we could conclude that scalp massages do increase your hair growth. Curious to try your hand at giving yourself a relaxing massage? We have the complete guide chalked out for you.
Many times, before beginning with a scalp massage we are unaware of the process and steps on how to go about it. An intense scalp massage with improper technique might leave you with pain in your head, arms, or shoulders. The following guide would provide you a detailed insight on how you should begin, perform and end the routine of scalp massage.
First and foremost find yourself a relaxing place where you could comfortably sit. A sturdy chair with back support and cushions or pillow under your arms could just do the job. Disconnect all sorts of electronic gadgets and switch off background noises. You can play soft and light instrumental music. You may even want to dim the lights.
First, dip your fingers in the oil most suitable for you, and then using the tip of your fingers gently move from the front area of the scalp towards the back in a gentle straight motion. Apply pressure downwards, however, do not apply an excessive amount of pressure that you feel pain or discomfort. Allow your hair to be loose and open, you could brush your hair at the beginning to avoid discontinuity in the massage because of tangles.
Again, move from the front portion of your scalp to the back however, this time use the tips of your fingers to make small circles. Remember to maintain the same pressure as before and keep it steady. Also, keep adding oil as and when required.
Now, gradually begin to reverse the direction, pour oil on the scalp, and massage from back to front as you move your fingers across the scalp. Perform both, the straight as well as the circular motion as you begin from the bottom of the hairline and work your way up towards the crown.
Now, let’s focus on the sides of your head. You could start either from left or right, from the front. First, perform the up and down motion then repeat it in circles. Gradually begin to move to the base of your head. After doing both the sides move to the next.
Apply the oil over your hair and collect all your hair into a ponytail if it is long enough and gradually tug your hair in a circular motion. If you have shorter hair you could make sections of hair around your scalp, twist it and do the massage.
Lastly, lift your hands in such a way that it is right behind your ears. Then, use your thumbs and tips of the finger and gently make circles around the ear. Gently press your ear lobes as well as the depression right behind your ear lobes. And finally, with this, you can conclude your massage.
It is necessary to apply oil as you massage your hair, the next section would give you an insight about the oils that would be the most suitable while massaging the scalp.
There are also brushes and massage tools available in the market that could assist you in massaging the scalp. Few dermatologists believe in using a scalp massager, however, others suggest that using the fingertips would do just fine. You can work these massage tools across the scalp and head in a similar fashion as you would while using your finger-tips.
You may wonder about the need of using oil while massaging the hair. Well, oil works as a lubricant, without oil your hair could break easily under all the friction occurring while massaging. Other than this, oiling the scalp and hair and the aroma of the oil has many benefits, hence the following is a list of oil that could be used for scalp massage.
Take two tablespoons of your carrier oil and massage it thoroughly on your scalp. You could select Organic Coconut Oil in case you have dandruff issues or a dry scalp. Organic Sesame Oil could be used to reverse damage caused by the environment or the heat appliances. Organic Sweet Almond oil could be utilized to condition and soothe an itchy scalp. You can use these oils directly or add a few drops of essential oils to further enhance your massage experience.
Adding certain essential oils can give you the relaxation of mind and body, as their aroma is quite relaxing. However, always remember that you cannot directly apply essential oil on your scalp or hair in its undiluted form as it is highly concentrated and could cause adverse reactions. Hence, it is necessary to add the essential oil to suitable carrier oil. Add around 4 to 5 drops of essential oil to 2 tablespoons of carrier oil.
Lavender Essential Oil helps moisturize the scalp and boosts hair growth. Peppermint Essential Oil is suitable for you if you have an oily scalp. The peppermint oil is best known for its ability to stimulate hair growth and bestow a cooling effect on the scalp. Chamomile oil can also be used as it works by soothing the scalp and can give relief from itchiness as well. Tea Tree Essential Oil and Lemongrass Essential oil both work wonders while combating dandruff-prone scalp.
In this manner, you could select a carrier oil and essential oil based on your preference. Now, as we have covered the oils and methods of doing the massage, let us explore some other benefits of performing a scalp massage.
A delicate massage of the scalp can purport a sense of relaxation and reduce stress-releasing hormones. A certain study on female office workers also proves that a scalp massage given twice during the week had a positive effect on the stress hormone and aids in controlling the blood pressure and heart rate as well. Stress at times plays a significant role in hair loss. Hence, the alleviation of stress could also reduce hair-fall.
Massages strengthen the hair follicles and also studies state that massaging of the scalp can stimulate hair growth and reduce hair fall.
As the hair growth of the scalp increases, there is a visible difference seen, even in the thickness. The scalp seems to be fuller and your ponytails would surely go thicker!
Alopecia is an autoimmune disorder because of which the hair falls off at times even in patches. This disorder may also cause total hair loss of the scalp. However, self-reports have suggested that nearly 69% of individuals with alopecia were able to regrow their hair with daily scalp massages.
Headaches caused by stress could be reduced with an optimal scalp massage. The feeling of calmness lightens the mood and removes the stress and tension that could be causing the headache. Did you know that scalp massages could also eliminate feelings of anxiety and depression? As massages improve your mood and the blood flow, it contributes towards the onset of positive emotions.
Did you know that massages could also improve the immune system of your body? Studies indicate that there is a connection between the immune system and massaging (not specifically the scalp). Regular massages have been reported to cause measurable changes in a person’s immune and endocrine responses.
This advantage is related to circulation. As a scalp massage could improve the blood circulation of the scalp, the wound repairing response of our body is strongly interconnected to the same. It is said that the healing response of the body for wounds and bruises is related to the blood cells and nutrients that reach the area. So, with an enhanced blood flow, our body would be in a better position to heal wounds than with those who have poor blood circulation.
As the massage induces a sense of relaxation and well-being, any kind of pain in the body seems to be alleviated as the body comes under a state of tranquility. Gentle massages of specific body parts that are causing pain especially due to overworked muscles would also be beneficial.
Now, as we have looked at the benefits of scalp massage, next let us have a look at the frequency of massaging the scalp.
A scalp massage could be undertaken weekly or on a daily basis based on your preference and schedule. In case you are somebody who is just beginning with scalp massages, doing it daily for about 5-8 minutes could work wonders. Doing it daily would give you maximum benefits of scalp massage. If you look at it as a means to soothe and unwind occasionally, you could also pamper yourself with a scalp massage a few times a week.
With this, we have come to the end of the article, we have covered topics such as what is scalp massage, the benefits, how we need to massage the scalp, which oil needs to be utilized, and lastly how often we should be doing the same. So, the next time remembers to spare a few minutes of your day to massage your scalp and reap the benefits it bestows.
Shreya Dalela is a certified Yoga instructor and a professional dancer trained at The Danceworx. She’s passionate about Ayurveda and holistic living with over 6 years of experience in doing extensive research and content creation in the domain.
Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (Central Council of Indian Medicine) working in Kama Ayurveda as an Assistant Training Manager.