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Indian Head Massage

 

History

The art of Indian head massage originates from the Indian system of medicine known as 'Ayurveda'. The Ayurvedic approach to health is the balance of body, mind and spirit. This tradition recommends the use of massage, diet, yoga, meditation and exercise. A truly holistic lifestyle.

In India, massage plays an integral part of everyday family life.

* Babies are massaged everyday until the age of three, this is thought to aid the bonding process, and keep them healthy, happy and secure.

* From three to six the child is massaged two or three times a week. although some Mothers still continue to massage their child each day.

* By the age of seven, they begin to learn the ancient techniques themselves and are encouraged to massage other members of the family.

* Before their wedding, it is customary for both the bride and groom to receive a massage.

* During pregnancy, expectant Mothers are massaged everyday and for at least forty days after the birth.

* In later life massage continues to play an important role in family life. Here a Grandparent will receive a massage from another member of the family, perhaps a Grandchild.

Massage skills are passed on from Mother to Daughter. The women and girls massage oils, such as Almond, Sesame or Coconut into their hair to keep it in excellent condition. At the barbers a stimulating, invigorating massage is incorporated into their treatment, leaving their clients feeling revitalised and alert.

Indian head massage is not only contained within the family ritual, but can be seen performed in the street, market and beach.

Although head massage has been practiced in India for thousands of years, it has only more recently gained popularity in the West. Here it has been adapted to incorporate the upper back, neck, and shoulders, to alleviate the physical and emotional stress we all find ourselves under today.

 

Benefits

Circulatory system... As massage improves the circulation, fresh supplies of oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the cells, waste products such as carbon dioxide are removed.

Lymphatic system... The efficiency of the lymphatic system is improved, helping to remove toxins, waste products and excess fluid that have accumulated in the tissues.

Muscular system... By stretching and breaking down of the knots and nodules in the muscles, tension headaches, pain and stiffness are relieved.

Skeletal system... By reducing stiffness in the joints, there will be increased mobility in the neck and shoulder area.

Hair... Due to the increased circulation  to the scalp, oxygen and nutrients help to promote the growth of lustrous hair. Stimulation of the sebaceous glands, which secrete sebum the hair's natural moisturiser, produces a glossy sheen.

Skin... Improved circulation to the skin promotes a healthy and glowing complexion. The shedding of dead skin cells is encouraged, and the new, fresh cells give the skin a clear, healthy appearance.

Facial... By relaxing and soothing tense eye muscles, eye strain is alleviated and the eyes become brighter and clearer. Facial massage is excellent for relieving nasal congestion and sinusitis.

Stress and tension... The release of endorphins from the brain is stimulated, which counteract stress and make us feel good. The mood is elevated, anxiety and depression lift. Energy that has been blocked by tension is released and begins to flow freely.

Improved concentration... As the supply of oxygen to the brain is increased, mental fatigue, clarity of thought and concentration all improve.

 

Oils that may be used

Although the use of oil in Indian Head Massage is optional, many have therapeutic values and will strengthen the hair, reduce hair loss, and soften and moisturise the hair and skin.

The most common and readily available oils used in the West are:

Almond... High in nutrients such as unsaturated fatty acids, Vitamins A B D & E and protein. This helps to soften, moisturise and protect the hair. As almond has a warming effect it is also useful for promoting hair growth and reducing muscular pain and tightness.

Coconut... This is a popular oil used extensively in the Southern parts of India. It is a light, nourishing oil that will soften the skin and hair, reduce inflammation and is excellent for dry, brittle hair.

Mustard... The smell of mustard oil is very strong and pungent. With it's warming effect it is popular amongst wrestlers and bodybuilders in India and has the ability to reduce the swelling and pain of tense muscles.

Olive... Due to the viscous consistency and strong smell of olive oil, it is often mixed with a lighter oil such as almond. Virgin or extra virgin oil contains high levels of unsaturated fatty acids, thus helping to moisturise dry skin and hair. Olive's stimulating properties increase heat, alleviating tightness and pain and aiding the relief of muscular nodules and swelling.

Sesame... Sesame seeds are high in minerals such as iron, calcium and phosphorous, these help to strengthen, nourish and protect the hair. Helpful in dry skin and hair conditions.

The oils used in Indian Head Massage are seasonal, with mustard and olive being a good choice in the winter due to their warming action and sesame and coconut in the summer.

Other oils traditionally used in the East include: Amla, Brehmi, Neem, Pumpkin Seed and Shikakai. These are now more attainable in the West in traditional Indian grocers.

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