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Written by 4:37 pm Lifestyle, Salons in India, Wellness • One Comment

Ayurvedic Head Massage – Say Goodbye to Stress

Ayurvedic Head Massage


What is an Ayurvedic Head Massage?

Ayurvedic or Indian Head Massage, also known as Champissage, is an ancient art, almost three thousand years old. Now it is becoming increasingly popular in the West also. This type of massage involves massaging the scalp, hair, neck and shoulders with warm oil infused with hair-friendly and nourishing herbs. The word “Ayurveda” in Sanskrit, the ancient language of India, means “knowledge of life”. Ayurvedic massage in Sanskrit means “shiro abhyanga”. Ayurvedic massage focuses on those areas where we tend to hold enormous negative stress or tension.

Head, the most significant part of the human body, includes eight vital openings, i.e. the eyes, ears, nostrils, mouth, and one principal opening, i.e. the crown of the head. Besides these vital openings, there are critical energy points over the entire head. They connect to the brain and the mind, including the subconscious.

Today, in India it is very common for babies to receive daily head massages in order to keep them in good health. From ages three to six kids receive this massage once or twice a week. After they turn six, kids are asked to share the massage technique with their family members. Indian head massages are performed by barbers and beauticians in India and across the globe. Today this massage practice is offered in several settings, such as physical therapist offices, leisure centres and during exhibitions and conferences. Certification is not a mandate for offering an Indian head massage. However, there are a number of schools throughout the world that train students in the practice.

Benefits of Ayurvedic Head Massage

  • Promotes deep relaxation by releasing tension and increasing deeper breathing
  • Aids memory and alertness by increasing blood flow to the brain.
  • Nourishes hair and also provides lustre
  • Strengthens the nervous system
  • Balances brain’s chemistry and hormones
  • No special equipment is needed.
  • Uplifts the spirit.
  • Soothes tightened or stressed muscles, stimulates blood circulation and eliminates accumulated toxins. This helps relieve headaches and eye strain.
  • Increases joint mobility.
  • This massage is very enjoyable and it triggers the release of “feel good” chemicals called endorphins. The end result is feelings of euphoria and contentment.


History of Ayurvedic Head Massage

Ayurvedic head massage, known as “Champissage” has been used in India for centuries for cleansing, relaxation and medical purposes.  The practice of Champissage began with women using it to treat their daughters’ hair with oils including coconut, almond, olive and buttermilk. Barbers have also used it as part of the process of their male clients’ haircut. The tradition of Ayurvedic head massage has been passed on in Indian families from one generation to the next.

Traditional Indian head massage included a massage of the scalp and hair only. Till more than half of the twentieth century, the use of this Ayurvedic practice was limited to India. In 1973, native Indian Narendra Mehta travelled to England to study the subject of physical therapy. During this period of study, he taught the Indian head massage practice there and as more people learned the technique, the practice spread to other Western countries as well. Narendra Mehta also expanded the tradition of Ayurvedic head massage to a more integrated massage which included the head, neck and shoulder region. He used his highly increased sensitivity as a blind man to identify the other areas connected to the head that would also benefit from the massage.

Oils for Ayurvedic Head Massage

For a nourishing Ayurvedic head massage, you can use individual oils or a mixture of oils. Some of the popular ayurvedic oils to use as individual oils are Brahmi oil, bhringraj oil, neem oil, mustard oil, sesame oil, almond oil, Amalaki oil, Jamaican black castor oil, and coconut oil. You can also add essential oils like rosemary, tea tree and lavender if you want to use a mixture of oils for applying the massage. Using a mixture of oils gives added benefits to the skin and hair.

The Technique of Ayurvedic Head Massage

A single session of Ayurvedic head massage usually lasts thirty minutes.

The procedure of this massage is as follows:

  • The client (recipient) is seated comfortably in a chair in a relaxing atmosphere while the massage practitioner warms the oil to a suitable temperature. The client remains clothed, unlike many other types of massages.
  • Once the oil is sufficiently warm, the massage practitioner pours a small amount of it into his hands and then combs his fingers through the client’s hair.
  • Then the practitioner pours approximately a tablespoon of oil onto the crown of the client’s head and massages the oil onto either side of the head.
  • Once the massage is applied to both sides of the head, the client is requested to bend his or head forward so that the chin touches the chest. Then the practitioner pours more oil along the back of the client’s head down to where the hairline ends, spreads it over the back of the head and applies massage into the neck and shoulders.
  • Once the back of the head, neck and shoulders are covered, the practitioner applies firm pressure to massage the client’s entire head in small, circular motions with the fingertips.
  • The massage practitioner then covers the client’s head to protect it from the air and leaves the oil in for at least twenty minutes.
  • In case the client wishes to keep the oil in the hair overnight, then it is recommended that the client wear a cap or a turban, or put a towel on the pillow in order to protect the linens.


Indian/Ayurvedic Head Massage is not for everyone

You must not take Ayurvedic / Indian head massage under the following conditions:

  • High temperature, swelling or inflammation.
  • Skin infections in the areas that need to be massaged.
  • Scalp infections.
  • A recent injury to the head, neck or shoulder areas, for instance, whiplash
  • Chest infection or a bad cough or cold
  • Very high or low blood pressure
  • Food poisoning
  • Undergoing treatment for cancer and any other serious ailment


Special conditions where caution is required:

Only light and soothing techniques are applied if the client (recipient) is suffering from osteoporosis, frailty, Epilepsy, and Spondylosis in the neck.

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