People have used Indian head massage techniques for thousands of years. Originally, it was believed to keep long hair healthy and strong. Over time, the approach has expanded to cover the neck, shoulders, and upper arms too.
Indian head massage is actually a safe and simple therapy to do at home. In this guide, we will explain what Indian head massage is, talk about the benefits of Indian head massage and of course the risks, plus answer a few questions for those that are unfamiliar with this type of massage.
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What is Indian head massage?
Indian head massage, also known as Champissage, is a treatment that focuses on massaging acupressure points on the head, neck, and shoulders, often using circular strokes. It is more than just an Indian scalp massage. The practice is based on the Ayurvedic system of healing and aims to rebalance your body’s energies.
Read more about massage tips and techniques here.
What are the Origins of Indian Head Massage?
We know that people have been practicing Champissage (Indian Head Massage) for more than 2,000 years. It started as a ritual where women would massage the scalp and head of family members.
Narendra Mehta is credited with bringing Indian Head Massage to the western world. In 1978, he moved from India to England to train in physiotherapy. He noticed that the head was often forgotten during full-body massages. Since he grew up with Champissage, he knew this was a gap. Based on his studies, he decided to expand the practice of Indian Head massage to include the upper body instead of just the head and scalp.
What are the benefits of Indian head massage?
Indian head massage can help improve both your physical and mental health. Here are 11 Indian head massage benefits:
- Improved hair growth. The massage can stimulate hair growth because it increases oxygen to the hair follicles. If you are a male and concerned with hair loss, suffer from alopecia or simply just wanting longer locks this treatment is worth trying. Remember that not everyone will see improved hair growth can be caused by other issues.
- Relief from headaches. When there is built-up tension in the head, neck, shoulders and upper back, it can often lead to headaches and migraines. This massage focuses on applying pressure to the mid-back, arms and shoulders to reduce tension in the muscles. The massage around the neck and head encourages the circulation of cerebral fluid and reduces headache-causing blockages.
- Increased joint mobility. The pressure techniques used in Indian head massage help loosen joints in the neck and shoulders for increased mobility and flexibility. This is an area where most people are stiff.
- Reduced stress and anxiety. Like other types of massage, Indian head massage is very effective at helping you relax because it targets the areas where most people hold the majority of their stress. The deep kneading and compression movements help to work out tight areas to literally take the weight off of your shoulders. Decreases in stress levels help improve mood, sleep quality, and your immune system. It can also help decrease tension headaches. Read more about the effects of stress on your body here.
- Improved sleep. When you have reduced levels of stress and tension, it is easier to fall asleep. It can also improve the quality of sleep.
- Reduced sinus pain. Working on the cheekbone pressure points can also be useful to relieve blocked sinuses.
- Increased circulation. The stimulation of certain pressure points in the neck and head helps to shift blockages in the body allowing the blood to flow around the body more efficiently.
- Enriched memory. During the massage everything slows down, tension is dissipated and your thoughts become quiet. Your brain can recharge and it will be easier to concentrate.
- Increased energy. Indian Head Massage works with the chakras to balance the body and improve the flow of energy. Improved circulation also helps to awaken the senses so that you feel more energetic throughout the day.
- Diminished eye fatigue and strain. Working on pressure points on the forehead and around the eye sockets relaxes and soothes tense muscles and relieves eye strain.
- Stimulates the lymphatic system. The massage increases the rate of the lymphatic system, which in turn speeds up the rate you flush out these toxins.
With all these benefits, it’s easy to see why this head massage technique has been around for thousands of years and is becoming more popular.
Are there any risks or side effects from an Indian head massage?
Like other types of massages, if you have a medical condition or injury or are pregnant, it is important to check with your doctor prior to starting a treatment program. Each individual’s circumstances are different but in general Indian head massage should be avoided if you have recently had head, neck, or back surgery, or if you have a history of thrombosis, embolism, or spondylitis.
There can be some side effects associated with the Indian head massage. After the treatment, some people may experience tiredness, lightheadedness, or aching muscles. It is also common to experience an increased urge to urinate as the massage has helped your body to eliminate toxins and waste materials. These knock-on effects typically last for a few hours, then you will feel refreshed and in high spirits.
Is it ok to have an Indian Head Massage if pregnant?
There are many contradicting opinions on if its ok to have an Indian Head Massage when you are pregnant. It's best to consult your doctor.
How much does an Indian Head Massage Cost?
The price will vary depending on the spa that you go to. At high end places, an Indian head and neck massage can be quite expensive. Expect the pay about the same amount as a Swedish or Aromatherapy massage.
Don't worry if you have a tight budget. This is a massage that you can do at home for basically nothing. You don't need any special tools.
How to do an Indian Head Massage
Similar to other types of massage (like Shiatsu for example), there are many ways to do an Indian head massage, but it’s important to start with some deep breaths to get grounded.
The massage can easily be tailored to the individual’s needs. This video tutorial will teach you more about doing an Indian head massage.
Indian Head Massage Techniques
As you can see, Indian Head Massage incorporates many different techniques like pressure, vibration, friction, tapping, etc. During your massage you might:
- Knead and probe the neck and shoulder areas.
- Massage the scalp using squeezing, tapping, or rubbing motions.
- Use facial pressure points to relieve sinus pressure.
- Press and tug on the ears.
FAQs about Indian Head Massage
Before your first Indian head massage, you might not be sure what to expect. Here are some common Indian head massage questions.
Do you use oils for an Indian head massage?
You don’t need to use any oils for Indian Head Massage but it can help strengthen your hair, promote hair growth, and remove dryness. Since the oils will be partially absorbed through the pores, it is important to use pure organic oil.
Some of the best options are sesame oil, mustard oil, olive oil, almond oil, or coconut oil. You can also add a few drops of essential oil for this massage if you desire.
Do you need any massage tools for Indian head massage?
No. You don't need an Indian head massage machine. Typically the massage is done with hands. Some people do like to use a tingle massager like this, but that is not the traditional method.
How should you prepare for an Indian head massage?
There are a few things that you can do before your Indian head massage to prepare and make sure you get the maximum benefits:
- Avoid heavy meals and avoid alcohol for at least five hours before the treatment.
- If you have long hair, it’s best to have it up when massaging the neck, shoulders, and upper back, but any hairbands, pins, or clips should be removed before massaging the scalp.
- Consider lighting some candles (in a safe place where they will not be accidentally knocked over) or turning on some soft music if that will help you relax.
Can you do Indian head massage on yourself?
Yes, you can do an Indian head self-massage. Try to find a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. Check out this video for an easy three-minute massage that you can do on yourself.
Can you wear clothes for an Indian head massage?
Yes, an Indian head massage can be done through clothing. It is best to wear loose clothing that allows your arms to move easily. If you are using oils, choose clothes that won’t get ruined if oil gets on them. Be sure to take off any earrings or necklaces and put them in a safe place.
How long does an Indian head massage take?
The length of the massage can vary. Even if you only have a few minutes, you may still find a short Indian head massage makes you feel better. Longer massages can last 45 minutes to an hour.
How often should you get an Indian head massage?
As often as you feel like it. Ideally, you should aim to have at least one Indian head massage per week to see the best results. Read more about the benefits of regular massage.
Read more about Indian Head Massage
If you would like to learn more, here are some helpful books about Indian head massage:
The Art of Indian Head Massage
Learn more about Indian Head Massage through beautiful pictures, artwork, and step-by-step instructions in this book. The contents are extremely detailed, covering a wide range of subjects including skincare, hair care, anatomy, and physiology. It also includes information about choosing carrier and essential oils, plus tips for relaxation techniques that you can try before and after the treatment.
Indian Head Massage
This book covers the history of of Indian Head Massage, the power of touch, and the basic methods of Indian head, neck, and shoulder massage. It has a lot of helpful information, but it is still an easy read.
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