F or over a 1000 years Indian Head Massage has been an established practice in India. New-born babies and those up to three years old are given daily body and head massages. The idea is to help in keeping them supple and in good health. And why not. This is a wonderful and enlightening practice to be used throughout childhood and into adulthood. The human touch expresses love, caring, comfort, enjoyment and many more benefits.
From three to six years, children are massaged once or twice a week and after six years old they learn how to massage and are very much an integrated part of the family life.
Indian Head massage was originally developed by women in India, who wanted to keep their long hair in tip top condition.(1) They would use different oils all which have unique benefits to each of them.
- Sesame Oil: Hair growth. Maintain scalp health. Enriched with Vitamin E, B complex and the minerals, Magnesium, Calcium, Phosphorus and protein all ingredients that strengthen the hair from the roots and deeply nourishes.
- Coconut: Stimulates Hair growth and due to its fine texture gets deep into the hair follicles. Using Coconut Oil promotes the health of the Scalp by fighting against insect bites, lice and dandruff. Hair is left shiny, soft, and any split ends or hair breakages are minimised, which naturally will allow the hair to grow long without the need to “tidy” up the ends.
- Almond: Is a great all rounder. Not only do I love this oil to put in my DIY hand lotions, I adore a few drops in the bath along with Lavender or Geranium Essential oils. Within the Oil are so many health ingredients which nourish and strengthen hair. Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, Phospholipids and Magnesium are only a few.
- Olive oil: Olive Oil is a bit heavier than the other oils and I do find it more difficult to wash out. However, this doesn’t stop me from using it from time to time. This oil is great for strengthening the hair, right from the roots to the very end tip. Think of no split ends! Hair is thickened by massaging the oil onto the scalp which improves circulation, the hair follicles are stimulated which produces thicker hair strands! All round win win!
Not only does an Indian Head Massage work wonders on the Physical complexity of the body, a total and complete overall serenity can escape throughout the systems. Negative thinking is far easier to minimise or eliminate.
Problems don’t have such an impact on the mind, and the body just feels fantastic. This is due to the parasympathetic nervous system(2) kicking in and coming out to play.
Using Head Massage within the Indian family circle, the routine became a little different as each family generation improved or improvised each movement.
However, when a barber offers a Head Massage to his clients this will be an invigorating scalp massage designed to stimulate and refresh.
In 1973 a Native Indian, Narendra Mehta came to England to study to become a Physical Therapist.
Narendra, in his own country of India, was used to receiving regular head massages and was disappointed that this was not to happen in England. He was surprised that the Head was not a part of a regular massage, nor even as a stand alone treatment.
A little later, in 1978, Narendra returned to India and began researching Indian Head Massage. He wanted to learn more about its benefits, the methods used and how it affected the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual parts of the human body.
He studied in barber shops, in the street, in family homes, anywhere that Indian Head Massage was performed.
He noticed that each Indian Head Massage routine was different with each family. This was of no consequence as the end result always left the recipient relaxed, calm and focused.
Narendra decided that he would like to formalise the method. Although he felt a huge improvement in his well-being after a massage, these effects did not last, to be classed as any long-term therapeutic benefit.
Being blind from the age of 1, Narendra’s’ senses were heightened. These gave him the power of sensitivity which he was able to use to discover which part of his body reacted most positively to specific Head Massage moves.
In traditional Indian Head Massage, it is only the head that is massaged. Narendra decided to include the face, the neck, upper arms and shoulders these being the areas that the body accumulates high levels of stress and tension.
He decided that by introducing an Ayurveda (3) element into the massage, this would allow the three higher chakras,(4) (energy forces) to be included and stimulated.
This allowed the Chakras of the Throat, Third Eye and Crown Chakra to be cleared of any blockages allowing free flow of energy around the body thereby restoring the body to optimum health and a feeling of well-being.
When these two elements were added to the traditional head massage, Narinder found he had created a complete holistic therapy. That is, the therapy treated not only the head but the whole of the body!
So literally, if you want to get out of your head and stop thinking about everyday issues which affect your whole body, Indian Head Massage will take you away from everyday emotional and mental stress.
Narinder had found that through his research, experience and practice, Indian Head Massage brought about a tremendous relaxation and a relief from stress related symptoms. (5)
In addition to these profound benefits, when oils were added to the Indian Head Massage, hair became thicker, split ends were almost non-existent,
Narendra called his newly revamped Indian Head Massage, “Indian Champissage” (6)
In 1981 at the “Mind, Body and Spirit” exhibition in London, England, the Western world was introduced to Indian Head Massage.
Narendra on his stand within the exhibition hall, treated 179 clients all suffering from headaches and many other stress related symptoms. They left recharged and relaxed.
During the next several years Narendra improved the routine, revising and expanding them.
When an Indian Head Massage is being performed certain pressure points on the neck, shoulders and head that correspond to each of our main 7 Chakras (4) are stimulated with gentle pressure much the same way as Reflexology.
There are so many benefits to receiving Indian head massage:
- The body is detoxified by stimulating the lymphatic drainage
Immunity is boosted overall.
- Circulation is improved which in turn increases energy levels.
- Tension is released which can result in improvements in back and neck pain, migraine or headaches.
- Due to the increased energy and blood circulation, concentration is increased and a sense of clarity is prominent.
- Symptoms of asthma can be alleviated by calming the respiratory system.
- Due to stress and tension, the jaw muscle becomes tight restricting movement with Indian Head Massage this tension can be relieved.
- Relieves the symptoms of sinusitis.
- The cerebrospinal fluid (7) which runs within the spine is given a boost. This helps to clear waste matter from the brain, improves the defence system and aids in protecting the systems.
- Insomnia, restless leg syndrome and other sleep disorders.
- Has the capability in most people to relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Can boost retention of memories by renewing concentration levels.
An article in the Nursing Times,(8) 21/06/2013 stated that after Indian Head Massage sessions were given to inpatients in an acute mental health unit, positive physical and physiological effects were noticed in these patients.
Castle Craig Hospital(9) is a facility in the Scottish Borders that offers free Indian Head Massage to those patients with addictions of all kinds including alcohol and drug addiction.
Although Indian Head Massage does have the capabilities to provide positive results we, as human beings are very different and where a result will work for one person it may not for another.
However, saying all that I do know that you will feel relaxed and ready to face the world once you have experienced an Indian Head Massage.
And Indian Head Massage is carried out fully clothed. Access to the neck area is useful for a complete neck massage.
I do not use oils on the hair unless someone requests it. However, there are lots of potential benefits to using oils: improving hair growth, thickening hair and improving the texture.
I always finish an Indian Head Massage with 10 minutes of Reiki energy. This reinforces the relaxation phrase, ignites the body with extra energy leaving a sense of total relaxation.
It’s also a one-way ticket to long luxurious locks.