The Origins of Indian Head Massage.
Originating in the East more than one thousand years ago, Indian Head Massage was originally developed as a grooming technique by women who used it to strengthen and improve the fullness of the hair. This was achieved by stimulating the pressure points on the scalp. It was particularly popular with women of fashion who wanted to enhance their fine appearance. The technique, in many senses, became part of everyday life and was practiced on young and old alike. It became a tradition that was handed down through the generations.
One thousand years on…
For such an ancient tradition it may at first seem surprising that this form of therapy is enjoying such a resurgence of interest, but an examination of its benefits quickly reveals why it is as relevant now as ever.
It still offers great benefits for the hair and scalp, apart from strengthening the hair and promoting growth, it is also said to help slow the greying process. But over the years the therapy has been extended to include not just the head but the face, neck, shoulders, back and arms. By focussing on the areas which tend to ‘hold’ stress and tension this gentle form of massage can now offer a far greater range of physical and mental benefits.
Indian Head Massage is believed to be effective in the treatment or relief of headaches and migraines, stress, eye strain, insomnia and aches/stiffness around the neck, shoulder and facial areas. It is also known to promote alertness and vitality in its subjects.
Massaging the back, shoulders, head and neck relaxes and soothes sore and tense muscles, reducing fatigue and greatly improving circulation. This type of massage is deeply relaxing and helps balance the bodies energy flow.
How is the therapy performed?
It is usually performed with soothing oils to help maximise the benefits and to aid the reduction of stress, most commonly used are:
- Almond Oil – whose beneficial properties include reducing aches, pains and stiffness, and generally promoting healthy hair.
- Coconut Oil – this is good for moisturising the skin and encouraging hair growth. It also balances the body.
- Mustard Oil – like almond oil it is useful for relieving aches, pains and stiffness. It can be used to reduce swelling and is also good for purifying the blood by opening the pores.
- Olive Oil – has very similar properties to mustard oil but without the pungent smell.
- Sesame Oil – this is probably the most commonly used oil. It can be used to relieve aches, pains and stiffness but is also said to benefit hair growth and reduce greying while promoting a natural shine.
In addition to the oils above, a blend of essential oils may also be applied to the scalp. The most popular of which are Lavender and Rosemary. Lavender is used for its calming relaxing effect, while Rosemary, which also helps relieve aches and stress, gives an uplifting feeling and sense of being energised.
One of the advantages of this treatment is that it can be performed while the subject is fully clothed and in a seated position.
© Brian Lynn, 2000