Indian head massage is an ancient therapeutic treatment that has been practiced in India for thousands of years, and is incredibly relaxing. Part of the Hindu health care practice of Ayurveda, Indian head massage focuses on your head, neck and shoulders. It is a deep massage, which uses a variety of pressure and techniques that tap into your seven “‘chakras” or paths of energy and encourage healing and balance in your whole body.
Indian head massage has become a popular component of combined treatments or rituals, including massage and facials.
Before you go
You should wear loose-fitting clothing, so that you don’t feel restricted or uncomfortable. It’s a good idea not to have too many layers. For an Indian head massage, the masseur is liable to want to massage your neck and shoulders, even your upper back, so a polo neck is a bad idea, as is complicated or tight-fitting underwear.
Indian head massage is kind to hair; it is not kind to hair-dos. Remove any hair bands, clips or slides before you go in, and book that hair appointment for the day after.
Bear in mind as well that as you may have oils rubbed into your scalp – you might want to take a cap, “Alice” or other hair band with you to make yourself look respectable on your way home, or back at work.
What to expect from an Indian head massage
A complete Indian head massage will probably take between 25 and 45 minutes. Your therapist will probably chat with you beforehand to get an idea of your lifestyle, any particular aches, pains or ailments you have. She may ask you if you are having any medical treatments or taking medicines, as this might affect which oils she uses, and what type of pressure and technique.
In an Indian head massage, you are likely to have oils rubbed into your scalp. You may be asked whether you have dry, greasy, normal hair so that the therapist can use an oil which will most improve your hair’s shine and texture. It’s worth mentioning, too, if you have dandruff, or thinning hair, as some oils are can help improve these conditions.
Be prepared for the fact that some of the massage will be quite firm – it can be quite an odd sensation to have your skull massaged, for example – but stick with it. You will feel really relaxed and serene afterwards. The results are worth it.
After an Indian head massage, you are likely to feel great: relaxed, serene, ache-free, clear-headed, ready to tackle that important report for work, run the children ragged round the park, or fall asleep immediately, depending on the kind of oils used probably!
But beware: you will feel great; you won’t look great. With all that oil stiffening on your hair, you’ll probably look like you put conditioner on it three days ago and forgot to rinse it out.
In the long-term, the deep-down effects of your Indian head massage may well leave your hair softer, shinier and in much better condition; in the short-term, wear a hat or a very cunning hair band.
What is Indian head massage good for?
This form of massage focuses on the three higher “chakras” – mind, body and spirit and as such hits your energy epicentre.
It doesn’t seem sufficient to say that a good, long Indian head massage (involving proper neck and shoulder and back massage as well) will relax you. It’s more than this. It should actually make you feel detached and serene, and leave you sighing and wordless.
It sounds divine doesn’t it? A real treat. But actually, Indian Head Massage isn’t simply a ‘treat’ – the benefits are really rather crucial and can assist with a variety of physical and emotional problems and concerns. Here’s a few of them:
Helps prevent migraines, headaches and back pain
Often tension in the upper back, neck and head can lead to migraines, headaches and back pain which can make for uncomfortable living on a day to day basis and sometimes even lead to depression. A massage therapist will start the Indian Head Massage by applying pressure to points in the upper back, arms and shoulders that will release muscles and knots. They will then move to the neck and head to reduce headache-causing blockages and encourage better circulation of the cerebral fluid.
Promotes hair growth
This is a lovely side effect of the Indian Head Massage (if you’re trying to grow your hair anyway…). The massage increases nourishment and oxygen to the scalp and hair follicle which in turns stimulates hair growth. It’s a one-way ticket to long, luscious locks!
Detoxifies the body by stimulating lymphatic drainage
Indian Head Massage stimulates and improves lymphatic drainage and blood flow to the neck thus helping to remove waste products from the body.
Relieves sleeplessness, restlessness and insomnia
These are often side-effects of stress and Indian Head Massage will immediately relieve stress and promote relaxation by attacking the physical symptoms, thus allowing for a deeper sense of wellbeing and relaxation and opening your body to better rest.
Relieves symptoms of anxiety and depression
Massaging the head encourages the supply of oxygen to the brain which is one of the best ways of reducing anxiety and of lifting one’s mood. Oxygen helps you think clearly and creatively and a similar effect is experienced through exercise.
Renews energy levels
An Indian Head Massage works with the Ayurvedic concept which goes beyond the limits of healing and places emphasis on balance. Working on the chakras through Indian Massage has a powerful effect in bringing the energy of the body back into balance.
Boosts memory capabilities
We often have short-term memory difficulties because our brains are overloaded with disorganised thoughts, making it very difficult for us to efficiently ‘log’ and collect thoughts and occurrences. Indian Head Massage slows us down, sensual awareness takes over, thoughts quieten and awareness is brought to the forefront. Think of it like someone pressing your ‘reset’ button.
As with any treatment it is important to tell your therapist in advance if you:
- are, or think you might be, pregnant
- have any medical conditions or are receiving any treatment or medication
- have recently had an injury or operation
- are allergic to anything, particularly skin allergies
- have any broken skin or sores on your scalp as this may affect the kind of oil and treatment you receive.
Be aware that after your massage your hair will smell very strongly of the essential oils used during the massage. If you’re going out for a meal afterwards, you might want to give your hair a good wash beforehand. Chances are it will still smell good, but less overpowering.