Continuing on from last week's post on alopecia, this week I wanted to share with you my guide to massaging your scalp at home.
Massage is practised in many cultures and Traditional Chinese Medicine is no different. The main benefit of, and reasoning behind, this massage is to increase circulation of blood and qi (chi) to the head, eyes, ear, and scalp. This in turn helps with cellular repair to regenerate and oxygenate, for healthy skin and hair.
It also teaches you to spend time considering your body and qi so that you become aware of changes in your own health. Often the mind ignores signals from the body that all is not well, and so this can teach your body and mind to become unified, working together for the benefit of your health. When done well this massage can help you to relax and de-stress which is essential for those whose hair loss is related to stress.
There is no real set-time for when you should do this but I find that this works better in the evening, especially before bed as this is when I am at my most relaxed and it can aid a good night's sleep (essential for the body to repair itself). This can also be done in the shower when using organic shampoo to wash your hair, or in the morning to wake up – find the time that suits you best.
If showering, then leave out the oil, although this can be applied to wet or dry hair before shampooing.
You will need a good base oil. I recommend Neem Oil, which has been shown to be very beneficial for the hair, or Jojoba Oil, which is closest to the skin's own natural sebum and so is kind to the scalp (especially good for anyone with signs of inflammation on the scalp). If you are particularly sensitive or have allergies it is always a good idea to patch test products, (even oil), 48 hours before you use them properly. To do this take an organic cotton wool bud and dip it in the oil you wish to use and then dab a drop behind your ear. Any signs of reaction such as redness or itching, then wash off and do not use.
Expert Tip: It is always best to avoid oils that have synthetic fragrance in them, and RBD oils. RBD oils have been Refined, Bleached and Deodorised, Which takes away their therapeutic benefits. This can be true of so-called organic oils. Reputable brands include MV Jojoba Oil, Dr. Hauschka Neem Oil, and John Masters Argan Oil or Deep Scalp Follicle Treatment and Voluminiser if your hair is thinning or fine.
I would recommend starting in the bathroom in front of a mirror with a towel wrapped around your shoulders to protect your clothes from the oil.
1. Warm some oil in your hands. 4-5 drops should be more than enough - you can always add a few more drops to your hands as you go.
2. Sweep your hand over your scalp and hair gently spreading the oil – you do not need to use too much pressure at this point. Start from the forehead and move hands towards the back of the head through to the ends of the hair. Do this 3-6 times.
3. Now use the fingers to gently comb through the hair to ensure it is all covered but not overly greasy.
4. Spread your fingers and using the pads of your fingers start at the sides of the head and lightly massage in circular motions as if you were shampooing your hair. It is very important that you do not tug too much on the hair, so always work one area then lift away and move to the next so as not to get hair tangled up in your fingers. Make sure you massage the whole scalp.
5. Repeat step 4, only working deeper with slightly firmer pressure this time - again making sure not to tangle or pull the hair, and ensuring that you cover the whole scalp.
6. Tapping – with the pads of the fingers gently tap like raindrops all over the scalp 3 times – this is very stimulating for the scalp.
7. Gently ruffle your hair and then stroke through. Finish by stroking from the forehead all the way back up and over the hair.
8. A warm towel can be placed over the scalp. Loosely pin together (not to the hair) at the base of the skull like you would with a headscarf and leave on for 20 mins. This allows the oil to infuse into the scalp. You can then wash or leave the oil in over night and wash off in the morning. Obviously if you are in the shower you can use organic shampoo with essential oils to do this before conditioning with organic conditioner.
While this method is great for at home massage there is nothing like getting some help from a professional. I recommend regular scalp and head massages with a qualified practitioner experienced in treating people with hair-loss and scalp problems. They will show you more specific massage techniques and acupressure points to use at home. I recommend my signature Scalp and Face Massage ‘The Natural Lift Facial Massage’ or my Indian Head Massage, both available at Content Beauty/Wellbeing.
I practice Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Facial Acupuncture & Reiki at Content Beauty/Wellbeing in London. Areas of interest include skin conditions, women's health, gastro-intestinal health, pain relief & stress related conditions. In this blog I'll be sharing my top tips for a healthy and happy lifestyle.See my profile »