My jaw was killing me and I needed a solution fast...
It was 2004 and as an enthusiastic, newbie massage therapist I immediately started to look for holistic therapies that could give me the relief that I needed.
When I was in massage therapy school, I worked for a beauty company in the mall with an Ayurvedic theme. Referred to as the science of life, Ayurveda describes a holistic, folkloric, natural healing framework from India for a healthy lifestyle. I was exposed to a lot of wellness treatments and protocols during my time there.
I learned about some Ayurvedic treatments that focused on the head and face so I started to do a search in my area for Shirodhara which was the first treatment that caught my eye. Heated oil passing through a beautiful copper vessel onto my forehead, into my scalp, it sounded like a dream. Especially with the tension building up in my face and jaw. I imagined this treatment to have the most amazing massage associated with it and luckily I was right.
Enter Indian head massage or Shiroabhyanga
You might be wondering ...What is Indian head massage?
Indian head massage is a folk tradition still practiced by many Indian families today. It’s also been introduced as a professional, natural healing massage modality or style of massage.
IHM is very popular in the UK and of course in India, where it originates. The US has been slow to catch on but Americans are taking notice of this therapeutic bliss!
One of the things that I love most about Indian head massage is it’s sweet origin.
It was originally a family tradition in India, where Indian mothers would nurture their children and family members with a frequent head and scalp massage with the intention of passing on the many health benefits as well as to help keep their hair and scalp strong and healthy. It’s what I like to call, the people’s medicine. Things people did instinctually, wisdom passed down from their mothers, and as communities to stay well before they looked to doctors to tell them how to be healthy.
It’s so inspiring to me!
However, It was a man from India who popularized it in the UK during the 1970s while studying to be a physiotherapist. His name is Dr. Narendra Mehta. He started to miss having the benefits of his weekly head massage and he wanted to share the therapeutic properties that it provides. He named it Champissage and expanded it into a softer touch, and more Western-friendly protocol.
It’s taught to massage therapists, barbers, and stylists all over the world today and has become a beloved way to rejuvenate during a haircut, get gorgeous at a beauty salon, or relax during a professional massage.
The therapeutic effects of this massage can get a little complicated when we start to look at all the physiological benefits of blood circulation, the effects that massage has on the lymphatic system, muscles and bones, the skin and hair, as well as our body’s stress response / nervous system. So in a nutshell, the benefits of Indian head massage include:
Have you tried Indian head massage?
Give your impressions in the comments sections!