Ayurvedic Head Massage
Ayurvedic head massage is an ancient massage practice with strong roots in traditional Indian culture. Massage has always played an integral role in Indian life and dates back to nearly 4,000 years ago. In Indian culture, massage, when used in conjunction with herbs, spices, and aromatic oils, has been known to encourage the body’s natural healing abilities. Ayurvedic head massages focus on releasing energy blockages in the body and decreasing symptoms of a range of ailments. It increases circulation to the head and promotes drainage of accumulated toxins.
Originating in India, Shirodhara is an Ayurvedic healing technique which involves gentle head massage and the dripping of a slow stream of warm oil onto the forehead, specifically in alignment with the third-eye or Anja chakra. The process is gentle, its application mindful.
Application of Constant Stream of Warm Oil to the Forehead
Oil is used by the massage therapist in applying massage and reflexology techniques to the scalp, face, and neck regions of the body. Overflow of the dripping warmed oil from the head is captured in a basin that is placed on the floor or a low table beneath the recipient’s head position.
Best Oils to Use in a Shirodhara Treatment
Oils used in a Shirodhara treatment will vary. Specific oils were typically chosen by professionally trained ayurvedic healers based on their perceived dosha body type of the person being treated.
There is also a tri-dosha blend of oils that can be used for anyone. It is aptly named Shirodhara Oil. This organic blend consists of five Ayurvedic herbs (ashwagandha, shatavari, bhringaraj, skullcap, and brahmi) that have been infused in a combination of sesame and sunflower oils.
Sesame, Sunflower, or Coconut Oil?
Sesame oil is known for its heating properties and is beneficial for anyone who identifies with Vatha dosha type. Whereas, sunflower oil is a cooling agent and a good option for anyone who identifies with pitta dosha type. Coconut oil is also cooling, but could be considered too cooling and is best to use only during the summertime or hot season.
Signs of Dosha Imbalance
Of all the tridoshas (Vatha (or Vata), Pitta, and Kapha), people who identify with Vatha and Pitta will benefit the most from Shirodhara head massage.
Vatha Imbalances – Vatha dosha imbalances include feeling fearful, being worrisome, experiencing insecurity, and bothersome monkey mind chatter.
Pitta Imbalances – Pitta dosha imbalances include outward rage or inner turmoil, being easily frustrated, feeling irritable, and impaired judgment.
Kapha Imbalances – Kapha imbalances can manifest in the mind, digestive tract, respiratory system, circulatory system and lymphatic system.
Vatha, Pitta, or Kapha?
Each person has characteristics from all the doshas. It is a matter of which category is most dominant
Benefits of Shirodhara
- Opens third eye, promoting intuition
- Increased blood circulation in brain
- Overall relaxation
- Nourishes dry skin and brittle or thinning hair
- Pain reliever, good for the chronic suffererer
- Lowers blood pressure
- Gives clarity of mind, quieting mental chatter
- Rejuvenates lackluster energies
- Promotes intuition
- Clears away toxins
Health Conditions treated with Shirodhara
- Fear or Anxiety
- Fatigue or lethargic demeanor
- Headaches and migraine
- Mental fog
- Jet lag
- PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
Benefits of Ayurvedic Head Massage
Hair and Scalp Benefits
Other Benefits of Ayurvedic Head Massage
Specialized head massages can help support the head and scalp in a range of ways. However, Ayurvedic head and scalp massages can also help improve your health in other ways such as:
- Supporting the nervous system by relieving stress
- Stimulating the lymphatic system, encouraging the elimination of toxins
- Breaking down problematic knots in muscles
- Relieving chronic neck and shoulder stiffness
- Increasing oxygen uptake in muscle tissue
- Improving blood circulation
- Relieving migraine pain
- Improving mental concentration
- Helping your body relax, resulting in better sleep
- It lubricates and conditions the scalp, helping to prevent flakes and dry scalp without the use of harsh chemical shampoos.
- It helps enhance blood circulation in the head and neck area. When the scalp is “tight” from stress, circulation and hair growth are impeded.
- It helps relax the scalp and increase pliability.
- It helps strengthen the roots of the hair and nourishes the hair-shafts, promoting new hair growth and strengthening current hair.
- It helps soften and condition the hair, making it more manageable.
- It spreads the natural oils of the hair, increasing hair luster and vibrancy.
- It helps protect hair from the damaging effects of the sun and harsh weather by improving resiliency over time.
- It is replenishing and rejuvenating for dry, damaged hair, and helps prevent excessive brittleness and split-ends.
- It helps pacify Vata dosha. Especially when enriched with Vata-pacifying herbs, a warm oil hair and scalp massage can be wonderfully relaxing for the mind and nervous system.
- When fortified with cooling, Pitta-pacifying herbs, the hair and scalp massage can help balance Pitta dosha and help prevent Pitta-related problems such as premature graying or thinning of hair.
- It also helps reduce body heat in general, especially if you have been up late a few nights or your eyes are smarting from too much close work on the computer or reading.
- A Pitta-pacifying massage also helps promote emotional balance. The massage helps relax the muscles in the neck area.
- The hair and scalp massage can help promote sound sleep at night.
Choosing a Massage Oil
If you are Kapha-predominant, sesame or olive oil are good choices. Olive oil has purifying properties that help keep pores open. While massaging with a dosha-appropriate base oil can be helpful, ayurvedic oils designed for hair and scalp massage typically include one or more hair-friendly herbs to augment the benefit of the massage. Traditionally, these herbs are slow-cooked with the oil, and the oil is then strained and ready for use.
- Brahmi helps calm the mind and nervous system, pacifies Vata and is very nourishing for the hair. It helps promote hair thickness and body.
- Amalaki is cooling, nourishing and purifying all at the same time, so it is wonderful for all types of hair. It is especially beneficial for Pitta-predominant people because it pacifies Pitta and helps ward off premature thinning and graying of hair. It also helps prevent dry scalp and flakes.
- Bhringaraj, which translates to “king of tresses,” is also Pitta-pacifying and very nourishing for the hair.
- Hibiscus is cooling and helps maintain hair color and vitality.
- Neem is good for Kapha hair; it has purifying and cleansing properties.
- Rosemary and Lavender are excellent for all types of hair. Rosemary helps stimulate hair follicles and promotes growth, helps retard premature thinning and graying, and soothes and conditions the scalp. Lavender stimulates hair growth, balances oil production and replenishes the hair and scalp.
- Jasmine helps alleviate stress.
We’ve learned that Ayurvedic head massages have a lot of health benefits for the scalp and many other parts of the body. So won’t you treat yourself to it with us?