Categorized | Prevention

Scalp Massage: The Best Remedy to Strengthen Your Hair?

scalp-massageThe quality of hair largely depends on the blood supply to the scalp which brings oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles allowing them grow healthy hair.

Scalp Massage Benefits

It’s common knowledge that scalp massage is good for the hair and is beneficial for all hair types.  In the event you have dry scalp, brittle hair and/or dandruff, it is a good idea to apply some oil (jojoba or grape seeds oil) to your fingers and palms before starting to massage your head.  This will moisturize and warm the scalp skin. For those people who have a greasy scalp, it is recommended to apply a treatment agent for oily skin with a cotton swab while massaging the scalp and to do this before shampooing the hair.

The therapeutic and strengthening action of  scalp massage is achieved by the stimulation of the blood circulation in the scalp which allows the scalp to receive more nutrients and oxygen.  This is because, after the stimulation produced by scalp massage, the capillaries connected to the hair follicles widen and are able to hold more blood – more blood brings more oxygen and nutrients; therefore, the tissues and follicles get better nutrition.  This results in the improvement of the overall health of the scalp.  In addition, dead skin cells are removed from the scalp and the sebaceous glands are cleaned which also helps the hair look thicker and shinier.

As well as improving blood circulation, scalp massage has a relaxing effect that helps relieve stress, anxiety and tension and will raise your spirits.  Massage stimulates the production of the ‘feel-good’ hormones and reduces the levels of stress hormones.1   It can be an effective bonus to the treatment of the stress-induced hair loss.

Usually scalp massage may include:

  • Stroking – This is done with the finger pads of both hands starting from the frontal hairline as if combing the hair right down to the back of your head.  Or you can put one of your hands on the top of your forehead and the other on the back of the head, and start moving both hands easily, without pressing hard, towards each other.
  • Kneading – Use your finger pads to massage the whole scalp up and down in small, energetic, circular movements.
  • Pulling and airing –  Grasp your hair firmly at the roots, then pull and shake the hair gently.
  • Tapping –  This should be done gently and lightly with the four fingers of both hands all over the scalp.
  • Vibration –  Use the finger pads to “shake” the skin all over the surface of your head and in so doing create a vibration.  At the end of your scalp massage session, it is beneficial to massage the neck.

Can scalp massage really help with alopecia?

Scalp massage is very good for the hair.  One needs to exercise caution when deciding to undergo it.  This type of massage is not recommended for a person who has scalp injuries or traumas, fungal or pustular lesions or if suffering from eczema, as it can aggravate the condition.  Remember that it is important to consult a doctor if you have hypertension or high intracranial pressure.

There is a firm belief in scientific circles that, in spite of the fact that scalp massage is a good means helping strengthen the hair, it neither promotes hair growth nor is able to stop hair loss.  Moreover, doctors say that it is contraindicated in people with chronic hair loss or alopecia.  Weak and thin hair can fall out even if the slightest force is applied to it during massaging or pulling and therefore, massage will only speed up the process. The effects of  scalp massage is not very evident immediately after the first massage sessions.   The therapeutic effects are more long term as opposed to the mechanical effects produced by the very same massage.  Dermatologists claim that scalp massage can hardly save you from alopecia if it has already begun.

The Journal of Investigative Dermatology provides information about a study conducted by the Japanese scientists.2  It concerns the effect stretching force has on human hair dermal papilla cells.  The study has shown that the stretching force, when applied for a long period, can downgrade the genes in hair dermal papilla cells that are responsible for hair removal and upgrade those responsible for hair growth.  The results suggest that sufficient scalp massage can become a good way to stimulate the growth of hair.  Another study concerning the treatment of Alopecia Areata (an autoimmune disorder) suggests that scalp massage, along with additional psychological treatment techniques, has the potential to reduce hair loss and stimulate new hair growth.3

Conclusion

Unfortunately, there are not enough studies and clinical trials that have been conducted that can prove the total ineffectiveness, or vice versa, the absolute benefit of scalp massage in the fight against hair loss.  Nevertheless, one thing is obvious – if your hair loss is a chronic rather than temporary process, then it most probably indicates some serious health problems (nutrients or hormonal imbalance, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, etc.), and should, therefore be treated together with the underlying condition.  But, if both you and your hair are healthy, then including a scalp massage into your hair care routine can do only be good for your hair,  Not only will scalp massage be beneficial for the reduction of stress, it will help your hair look sensational.

 

Worked cites:

  1. Massage increases oxytocin and reduces adrenocorticotropin hormone in humans. (Morhenn V1, Beavin LE, Zak PJ.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23251939
  2. Effect of stretching force on human hair dermal papilla cells: possibility of manipulating mechanobiology to induce hair regeneration. (T Koyama, R Ogawa, K Kobayashi, T Hama and H Hyakusoku Josai Clinic, Tokyo, Japan; 2NPO Future Medical Laboratory, Tokyo, Japan; Department of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo, Japan and 4ANGFA Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan) http://www.nature.com/jid/journal/v133/n5/full/jid2013110a.html
  3. A case study: massage, relaxation, and reward for treatment of alopecia areata. (Putt SC, Weinstein L, Dzindolet MT.) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8084951