What is Indian Head Massage?
Indian head massage has its origins in the Ayurvedic medicine, one of the oldest forms of traditional medicine.
The word 'Ayurveda' comes from the Sanskrit for 'life and longevity' and the Ayurvedic principles encompass diet, meditation and yoga as well as massage. Traditionally, Indian babies will be massaged every day and from a young age, children are taught head massage so that they can share this gift with family members.
In India many different oils may be used when practising head massage. These include coconut to relieve inflammation and to moisturise a dry scalp and damaged hair; mustard oil to ease sore muscles; sesame for dry skin and sore muscles; neem oil for irritated scalps. Oils may be mixed with herbs or henna according to the condition being treated.
Although Indian head massage is carried out solely on the head in the sub-continent, the Westernised version includes the arms, the upper back and shoulders as well as the neck, scalp and face. Some of the movements will be familiar to anyone used to Western (Swedish) massage, but there are also vigorous friction movements carried out on the back and the scalp. Pressure points, known as 'Marma' points are stimulated and, at the end of the massage the therapist will rebalance the Chakra points of the throat, the third eye, positioned in the middle of the forehead and the crown. Chakras are the body's centres of energy which if unbalanced can lead to both physical and psychological difficulties.
An Indian head massage, as carried out by Carolyn at The Therapy Centre, will take between 30 and 40 minutes. After an initial consultation, the client will be seated and the massage can be carried out either with the client fully clothed, or with upper garments removed (female clients can keep their bras on and a wrap will be provided to protect modesty). Some clients prefer not to have oil used on their scalps or face and the massage can be adapted to individual requirements. If using oil, Carolyn usually uses either a moisturising almond oil, or a lighter grape seed oil for Indian head massage. The treatment is carried out in the following order: upper back and shoulders, upper arms, neck, scalp and then the face. The chakra rebalancing is followed by a final massage of the back and shoulders.
The benefits of Indian head massage can be both physical and psychological. Not only can it help you to relax, it can have the added benefit of reducing stress and tension headaches. Clients can also be left with a profound sense of calm that can last for days.
Indian Head massage appointments are available at The Therapy Centre on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. After your treatment it is important to drink plenty of water, avoid caffeine and alcohol and to take it easy for the rest of the day, so do bear this in mind when choosing your appointment time.
Author: Carolyn Coombs