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
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
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
massage improves the circulation, fresh supplies of oxygen and nutrients are
delivered to the cells, waste products such as carbon dioxide are removed.
efficiency of the lymphatic system is improved, helping to remove toxins,
waste products and excess fluid that have accumulated in the tissues.
stretching and breaking down of the knots and nodules in the muscles, tension
headaches, pain and stiffness are relieved.
reducing stiffness in the joints, there will be increased mobility in the neck
and shoulder area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
concentration... As the supply of
oxygen to the brain is increased, mental fatigue, clarity of thought and
concentration all improve.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.